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Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel Hardcover – September 16, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This week I read 'Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel,' and instantly fell in love with the story.  Peter Winkler figured out how to make the book so engrossing, so sensational . . . It's the one book you need to pick up and read at some point in your life." -- Tommy Garrett, Canyon News

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

About the Author

Val Holley, author of the definitive biography of James Dean, calls Peter Winkler "A genuine Hollywood historian." Peter Winkler has written about movies for CineFan, Crime Magazine, Filmfax, The Jimston Journal, Playboy, PopMatters, and spiked; and reviewed movies for Video Theater, where he served as associate editor. Mr. Winkler has also written for The Huffington Post, PC Laptop Computers Magazine, PICO-Laptops and Portables, and Smart TV & Sound. He was the subject of a feature story in the Los Angeles Times and has been a guest on talk-radio shows in the U.S. and Europe. Mr. Winkler graduated with academic honors from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1978.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Barricade Books; First Edition ~1st Printing edition (September 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1569804494
  • ISBN-13: 978-1569804490
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By David Kinchen on January 5, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
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."

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....
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Wow! What a wild and utterly wonderful ride of a book! Peter Winkler has given us a highly detailed, totally unbiased and beautifully written biography of one of the most interesting and exciting stars to ever shine in the Hollywood firmament - even if this one blinked on and off more unpredictably than most every other actor or actress in the history of cinema.

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.
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Appears to be a comprehensive and well balanced portrayal of DH. (I am no expert) I would take exception with Winkler's assessment of Easy Rider as being " a relic" and "Widely available on home video, Easy Rider has been reduced to just another cheap commodity." So every movie that comes out on DVD is just another cheap commodity????? I liked that he used a lot of Dennis's own comments from interviews and other sources instead of making assumptions, especially about Hopper's upbringing...It was informative...I learned a lot I didn't know about the man and the artist. Unlike many biographies today he did not insert himself as if a major player in the drama and did not turn this into a Belushi style trash event.
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Wow. I am not through reading the book yet and I have learned so much about Hollywood's stars of the 1950's - 1970's! Some of it I wish I hadn't learned but the truth is the truth and Mr. Winkler obviously is a thorough if not obsessed researcher. Each fact he states, whether tawdry or not, is backed up by the person's own words or several witnesses. It is also fascinating to see the Japanese movie Rashomon version of life! People who were in the same movie or at the same event each have such differing memories. I hope Mr. Winkler continues to dig up fascinating facts and finds a subject worth his writing and research abilities. A book of movie reviews by Mr. Winkler would be fun! I bet he could sit down and write a book about any 10 movie titles given him and he'd find 7 degrees of separation with all involved! I would never play a cinematic Trivial Pursuit with this man - he'd win everytime!
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