Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda were two of the biggest names in Hollywood during the 1960s and 1970s. The two actors collaborated on the classic film “Easy Rider” in 1969, which became a cultural phenomenon and helped define the counterculture movement of the era. However, despite their on-screen chemistry, their off-screen relationship was often tumultuous, with Hopper reportedly harboring resentment towards Fonda for decades.
Hopper and Fonda first met in the early 1960s and quickly became close friends. They would often party together and were both involved in the burgeoning counterculture scene of the time. In 1969, they co-wrote “Easy Rider” together and also starred in the film alongside Jack Nicholson. The movie became an instant classic and earned Hopper an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
Despite the success of “Easy Rider,” Hopper and Fonda’s friendship began to deteriorate in the years that followed. Hopper became increasingly erratic and difficult to work with, while Fonda continued to enjoy success in Hollywood. Hopper later admitted that he was envious of Fonda’s career and that he resented him for it.
In 1997, Hopper published his autobiography “Easy Rider: A Ride Through the 60s” in which he made some disparaging comments about Fonda. He accused Fonda of being a control freak on the set of “Easy Rider” and claimed that Fonda had tried to take credit for the film’s success. Hopper also criticized Fonda’s acting abilities, calling him “wooden” and saying that he was only able to play himself on screen.
Fonda was reportedly hurt by Hopper’s comments and the two men did not speak for many years. However, they did eventually reconcile and even worked together again on a few projects, including the 1997 film “Ulee’s Gold.” But despite their reconciliation, Hopper’s animosity towards Fonda never fully dissipated.
In 2010, Hopper passed away after a battle with prostate cancer. In his final years, he reportedly remained bitter towards Fonda and blamed him for many of the problems in his life. Hopper’s longtime friend and collaborator, Wim Wenders, later revealed that Hopper had confided in him about his feelings towards Fonda, saying that he had “never forgiven him for anything.”
Despite their complicated relationship, Hopper and Fonda’s contributions to Hollywood cannot be denied. Their work on “Easy Rider” helped usher in a new era of filmmaking and made them both cultural icons. While their friendship may have been tumultuous, their impact on the industry will be felt for generations to come.