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Publishers WeeklyThough the publishers proclaim this to be the first book on the entire life and film career of the flamboyant actor-director-artist, film historian Winkler's occasionally tedious narrative will leave readers hoping for a better one. Relying primarily on an extensive bibliography and too many dull details (a one-act play Hopper wrote in high school was presented "on Friday, March 20, 1953, at 8 p.m."), Winkler presents Hopper's life in nine sweeping chapters, chronicling his early days as a James Dean disciple; his descent into drugs, alcohol, and violence; the making of Easy Rider, the seminal 1969 counterculture film starring and directed by Hopper; his slumps and comebacks, with Apocalypse Now and Blue Velvet; and his death from prostate cancer in 2010. Along the way, Hopper became friends with Elvis Presley, John Wayne, Natalie Wood, and Peter Fonda; married five times; ingested countless pharmaceuticals; and took part in numerous orgies. Winkler writes with term-paper efficiency, saving the majority of his enthusiasm and insight for the chapter on Easy Rider, while trying to make sense of his sources' drug-addled recollections. Photos.
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