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Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel Hardcover – September 16, 2011
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I also told you . . . that Barricade Books was publishing Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel by Peter L. Winkler. Well, I read it, and all I can say is ... whew! Wild Ride is exactly that. One incredible drug and drink-fueled tale tumbles over the next. Hopper, as presented by author Winkler, is fascinating. - Liz Smith, wowowow.com
I knew Dennis Hopper in his wild days and his sober days, and this book captures the man in his many incarnations. Winkler's deeply researched biography of Hopper is the definitive book on this live wire who lived on the high wire. -- Filmmaker Philippe Mora
"Entertaining and eventful." - Jenny Diski, London Review of Books
"Run -- don't walk -- to the nearest book vendor and get your hands on a copy of Peter L. Winkler's 'Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel.' I was hooked on Winkler's biography from the minute I picked it up, and I suspect that will be the case with other film addicts." - David M. Kinchen, huntingtonnews.net
"Well researched, well written, and highly entertaining, Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel is an engrossing look at one of Hollywood's most colorful legends." — Warren Beath, author of The Death of James Dean
“Peter Winkler's new book, Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel, beautifully captures the life, the legend, and the long career of this extraordinary individual. The product of meticulous research and expert wordsmithing, this biography details Hopper's many achievements as actor, director, painter, and photographer. With empathy and insight, Winkler provides an unforgettable portrait of an actor blessed with multiple artistic talents and yet cursed with strong tendencies toward self-destructive behaviors. Readers of this book are sure to enjoy sharing the wild ride.”— Richard L. Kellogg, author of Vignettes of Sherlock Holmes
“Peter Winkler has used his great skill as an interviewer to unlock the mystique behind a troubled and not always attractive Hollywood legend.”— Ronald Martinetti, co-founder American Legends publishing company and website
"A readable and remarkably even-handed chronicle of one of Hollywood's wildest cards. Peter L. Winkler knows his subject – and the territory – and he objectively delivers the goods on Dennis Hopper." — Stephen M. Silverman, author of David Lean and The Fox That Got Away: The Last Days of the Zanuck Dynasty at 20th Century Fox.
"Dennis Hopper exploded in our midst like a firecracker thrown from a dark shadow in a passing car. Peter Winkler's new biography of the counter-culture symbol, first across the finish line since the actor's death, is full of tough research and interviews, and reads as fast and furious as the man." — Patrick McGilligan, author of Jack's Life (a biography of Jack Nicholson) and Nicholas Ray: The Glorious Failure of an American Director.
“Well, I read it, and all I can say is … whew! Wild Ride is exactly that. One incredible drug and drink-fueled tale tumbles over the next. …Hopper, as presented by author Winkler, is fascinating.”-- Liz Smith
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Top Customer Reviews
When Hopper died at age 74 in 2010, most of the obituaries focused on his acting and directing career, with references to his photography, his painting and his art collection. Almost all of them mention his many addictions and his "Lost years" in Taos, N.M. Winkler fleshes out the story, interviewing dozens of Hopper's friends and enemies to give us the complete picture of a man who came from a humble background in Dodge City, Kan.
Moving to San Diego while still in his teens, Hopper honed his craft at theaters there, including the city's prestigious Old Globe Theatre in Balboa Park and the La Jolla Playhouse, very quickly attracting the attention of Hollywood agents looking for fresh new teen faces.
Yes, it's hard to believe but Dennis Hopper was once a fresh teen face, as we all were! He acted in 115 films and four TV series, early on creating memorable portraits in movies like "Giant" (1955) where he played the son of the Rock Hudson character and playing gang member Goon opposite James Dean and Natalie Wood in "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955).
He was equally at home in television and, of course, live theater. His interest in theater didn't please his conventional Kansas parents who wanted him to be a doctor or lawyer or engineer instead of a "bum" -- which is how his parents viewed the acting profession.
While making "Rebel Without a Cause" Hopper recounted a conversation with co-star James Dean on why he became an actor: "I told him how much I hated my home life, the rules, the regimentation. I told him what a nightmare my home life had become....Read more ›
Winkler's chapter on the classic EASY RIDER is in itself worth the price of admission: he presents all of the facts as to EASY RIDER's conception and inception and reception - facts that crash and conflict all over the map of the movie's history due to human fallibilities and foibles - yet doesn't make a definitive case for any one angle, as the best of truly honest writers would do. Like Welles' first (and arguably best)film CITIZEN KANE and the wars that ensued as to who actually wrote what, so it is with Hopper's first (and definitely best!) movie EASY RIDER. Ego prevents the total truth from ever being known about just about everything under the sun and stars (celestial as well as cinematic) - and this historian's dilemma is fully conveyed in Mr. Winkler's remarkable book. Continuing with the Wellesian parallel: Welles' second film - THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS - did unto him what Hopper's second film THE LAST MOVIE likewise did unto Hopper. Both second films tanked. The one from a certifiable genius, the other from one who believed himself to be a genius and with the jury largely still out on the verdict for that claim. After both men's second shots having missed their targest, both actor/artists became nomads, pilgrims in search of profit and projects, selling their acting wares across the world in order to live the lives they felt predestined to live.Read more ›
(Dennis Hopper: A Madness to His Method by Elena Rodriguez (1987) was a decent effort but seemed incomplete, perhaps because Hopper himself was still in transition at the time).
Winkler's Biography fills the gap well. It's effortlessly readable, detailed and thoroughly researched even if the latter can come across as a little workmanlike at times. Almost every film is covered in some detail (Bar my favourite - see below) while the more significant films; 'Easy Rider' and 'The Last Movie' get their own chapters.
The facts throw up the inevitable contradictions about who actually wrote what etc but that's as it should be. ('There are three sides to every story; My Side, your side and the truth' - Robert Evans. And the truth is often impossible to clarify in any context).
I was hoping to finally find out what exactly precipitated Hopper's final breakdown's in '83. Intriguingly, the evidence offered by Winkler suggests that Dennis imbibed three heavily spiked tequila slammers. The resultant trip caused a meltdown that ultimately led to his sobriety. Yet by Hopper's own account (In the interview he gives in the recent Taschen edition of his photographs) it was enforced withdrawal from his chronic alcohol and cocaine habit that caused his meltdown. Hopper's own reasons are not mentioned here. But this is a moot point. This book is the most authorative account of Hopper's life thus far and the man himself comes across as neither likeable nor exactly hateable but as someone inarguably intoxicated by the agony of being alive.
I just wish there was something on 'White star'.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Utterly dreadful. Badly written and poorly researched, this purported biography tells us nothing new or remotely interesting about Hopper's life and work. Avoid at all costs.Published 15 months ago by Andy Jury
A very,very good book. Well researched, well paced and well written. The author bridges the gap between the genius and madness of Dennis Hopper with equal insight. Read morePublished 17 months ago by J. Madden
First off I think Dennis Hopper was a great actor/ director with a fascinating (if not somewhat strange) career and life. Read morePublished 20 months ago by AnneC
I was born in 1963- old enough to remember the 60’s, but too young to be part of it. Over the decades I’ve probably seen Easy Rider a dozen times. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Paul
Dennis Hopper was NOT boring in any way, however the book was not that interesting. It jumped around a lot and it didn't really get into Hopper's feelings, just his behavior. Read morePublished on December 23, 2013 by Carter's W.
It would be hard to improve upon this treatment of Hopper. The author traced the themes of the Hopper story and managed to organize Hopper's chaotic life within the covers of a... Read morePublished on September 17, 2013 by Kovacs
Great read about a very complex and troubled talented actor and director. Very complete book about the personal and professional life of Dennis Hopper. Read morePublished on August 7, 2013 by pamela
The author did his homework. Dennis Hopper has always intrigued me. I bought and read another book written about him that I didn't finish because it was empty and fell flat. Read morePublished on August 1, 2013 by Soozy