Dennis Hopper

Born May 17, 1936, in Dodge City, Kan., Dennis Hopper began his acting career with small parts on the high school stage. His first big film role came in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) opposite friend James Dean, a pairing they repeated in Giant (1956).

Hopper spent much of the 1960s fighting for civil rights but returned to the big screen in 1969, directing, co-writing and starring in Easy Rider, for which he earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. His appearance in 1979's Apocalypse Now was his only major role of that decade.

Hopper resurfaced in a string of supporting parts in the 1980s, including Blue Velvet and Hoosiers, which brought a Best Supporting Actor nod. He also returned to directing with the gang film Colors (1988) and became Hollywood's favorite screen villain with roles in Speed (1994) and Waterworld (1995). After a battle with prostate cancer, Hopper died May 29, 2010.