Dennis Hopper: Rennaissance Rebel
Once spurned by Hollywood and nearly destroyed by drugs, Dennis Hopper has resurrected his life and his art.
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It was Victoria who chose to speak to Hopper nine years ago at Rebecca's, a restaurant Hopper frequented.
"I had been separated from my last wife for just a week and I was eating alone. She seated me and then came over and said, 'I don't want to bother you now but when you're finished, would you mind if I asked you about your art. I just saw your show at the James Corcoran Gallery and I'd like to discuss it with you.' We have been together ever since."
Hopper hasn't always been so lucky in love. His "ex" list includes Brooke Hayward (1961-'69), Phillips, Daria Halprin (1972-'76) and Katherine La Nasa (1989-'92). But it sure looks like five is his lucky number. Does Victoria's horse sense, her inherited talents at handling high-strung, skittish thoroughbreds, come in handy?
"Victoria just knows how to deal with me. If she sees me in a mood, she comes over, touches me and says, 'How are things going?' But if she needs to stay away, she stays away. She has an understanding. We just don't get into confrontations."
As well as joint custody of his son, Henry, Hopper has two grown daughters: Marin, 37, fashion director at Elle, and Ruthanna, 27, who has an art history degree and is studying acting with a coach Hopper recommended.
Hopper's latest reincarnation is unquestionably a new role for him: devoted husband and father. And with his expanded house and a backyard big enough for summer barbecues, the only thing missing from this snapshot of familial bliss is a dog.
Which, it turns out, is arriving this afternoon. Hopper, his wife and his anxious son will meet the 6:15 p.m. Delta flight from San Francisco to pick up their 8-week-old German Shepherd purebred pup. Hopper, who had one when he was young, located the breeders on the Web. As he drives Henry to school this morning, the wriggling lad clutches a photo of his pup-to-be, exclaiming, "He's so fluffy!"
Longtime friend Mark Canton, who recently produced Red Planet, describes Hopper as a devoted family man. He, Hopper and Nicholson, their significant others and children often vacation together in Mexico, Italy and Martha's Vineyard.
"Dennis has gone through many changes in his life," Canton says. "But of all of us at this point in life, he's the most steady, the rock. We like each other's company. We laugh, play golf and smoke cigars. With Dennis, there is never a dull moment, and I always learn from him."
Elizabeth Snead was an entertainment/pop culture writer at USA Today for 10 years. She resides in Los Angeles and freelances for US Weekly, TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, E!Online and Inside.com.
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