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Good Hopper, Bad Hopper? Lookalikes?

At the time I wrote about my recollections of Dennis Hopper, there was a mix of opinions about the guy. Seems not everyone saw him as the good guy I knew. He was apparently in the throes of a messy divorce and legal property dispute shortly before his death.

But then, Dennis was complex. Many may not know him as a great photographer and artist, which may be a whole other column I’ll write.

My old friend Raj emailed me his recollections of Dennis when he interviewed Hopper for a magazine he worked for. He mentioned changes in Hopper’s political views as well as why Hopper may have taken a shine to me.

“Those were some great Hopper recollections!” Raj said of my column.

“When I interviewed him (for the movie, ‘Speed’), he was deep into his Republican phase, wearing an Armani suit and disavowing everything about ‘Easy Rider,’ including his own character.  It was like telling a little kid there's no Santa Claus.  As opposed to Peter Fonda, for whom I did my ‘bad Dennis Hopper’ impersonation from ‘Easy Rider,’ the scene where they're in jail and Hopper's stating his case to the sheriff – ‘Do  you know who this is, man? That's Captain America!  I'm Billy!  

We're headliners, baby!’ Fonda loved it.  At least he pretended he  did.  The point is, he (Fonda) owns up to the movie to this very day, even if it doesn't always stand the test of time.”

A neighbor of ours in Caroga Lake, Bob Fuller, is a long-time Hopper fan and even leant me a copy of “Easy Rider” after I wrote the column. Bob emailed me the following:
“I am saddened by the death of Dennis Hopper, as I know you are. I can't believe he didn't get his star on the Walk of Fame until recently-he deserved it a LONG time ago.”

Thanks to Bob for his loan of the movie and comments. But back to Raj, he thought he knew why Dennis took a shine to me when I used to wait on him in California.

“I don't know if I ever told you this, but the first time I saw you in downtown Cleveland, I thought to myself, ‘This girl looks a lot like  Daria Halprin.’

Who is Daria Halprin?   Daria Halprin was an actress who starred in a  cult film from 1970, ‘Zabriskie Point.’  More importantly, she was Dennis Hopper's third wife and the mother of his daughter, Ruthanna.  

I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that Hopper took one look at you and thought to himself, ‘Halprin II!.’  So that's why he had your back with the owner of that restaurant in Venice!  Plus, I'm sure you
made a great margarita.

Daria currently teaches ‘movement’ at a place called the Tamalpa Institute in northern California.  She and her ‘Zabriskie Point’ co-star, Mark Frechette, made the cover of Look Magazine in 1968.  (In real life, he died in prison following a bank robbery.)”

After looking at photos of Daria Halprin, I’m not sure I see the resemblance. (Although I did have the “big hair” Halprin had).
I enclose a photo with the LOOK cover. You be the judge.  I’d much rather think Dennis and I just got along well-or that I made a great margarita-which I did by the way. In a local contest I once won a “best margarita in L.A.” award.

Kathryn Spira

Daria Halprin

About Kathryn Spira

Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland, OH who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues freelance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County, New York. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site