Dennis Hopper dies aged 74

Dennis Hopper has died of prostate cancer, aged 74.

The star had been battling the disease since being diagnosed in late 2009, but his condition has worsened in recent weeks and he passed away on Saturday morning at his California home surrounded by friends and family.

A major figure in cinema for over 50 years, Hopper will be remembered for revolutionising independent film when he wrote, directed and starred in Easy Rider , and also for his many iconic roles, including those in Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet and True Romance .

Dennis Hopper

Hopper was born in Dodge City, Kansas on May 17, 1936. He expressed an early interest in acting which led to several television appearances throughout the 1950s.

After being somewhat typecast throughout the '60s as a villain, Hopper, along with friends Peter Fonda and Terry Southern managed to scrape together $400,000 to film their counterculture road epic Easy Rider .

The film was a box-office smash, and changed the film industry overnight, with studios desperate to appeal to the surrounding anti-disestablishment mood among the nation's youth.

Although Hopper's subsequent directorial efforts never reached the same heights as Rider , he continued to act, winning an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in Hoosiers in 1986, the same year he cemented his legendary status with an indelible portrayal of twisted villain Frank Booth in David Lynch's Blue Velvet .

Hopper was also a skilled photographer and painter and his works were displayed in galleries in both the US and overseas. His passion for art led him to build one of the most extensive collections of modern art in the United States.

His death, though not unexpected, will have a profound impact on both the film industry and movie fans around the world.

Rest in peace, Dennis...

And remember, as Frank would have it, don't toast to his health - toast to his fuck!

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