Dennis Hopper made a name for himself in Hollywood by playing weirdoes, misfits and counterculture characters, including a biker in 1969’s Easy Rider. He also played the role of an alcoholic and drug addict in real life, but he kicked his addictions and went on to live a life of recovery until his passing in May 2010 of prostate cancer at the age of 74.
The Kansas native grew up in San Diego, California and was cast in Rebel Without a Cause alongside James Dean while still in his teens. He continued to find roles and show promise, which was realized in Easy Rider, which he not only starred in but co-wrote.
His introduction to the counterculture wouldn’t continue to serve him well, though. Hopper descended into drug and alcohol abuse in the ’70s.
“I was a terrible alcoholic. I’d start drinking in the morning. I’d drink all day long.” Hopper told CBS’ Charlie Rose, going on to explain that he only did drugs to feed his drinking.
A successful stint in rehab in the early ’80s made it possible for Hopper to take on two career-reviving roles in 1986: that of creepy gas-sniffing Frank Booth in Blue Velvet and an alcoholic father in the basketball film Hoosiers.
A poster boy for the recovery movement, Hopper continued to find interesting roles and spoke out about his conservative political views until his death. He was also a positive figure for others battling addiction who wonder if it’s too late to turn their lives around. The lesson we can learn from him is it’s never too late.
If you or someone you love is battling an addiction, call The Oaks at La Paloma at our toll-free number. Someone is there to take your call 24 hours a day and answer any questions you have about treatment, financing or insurance.
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