KCAI, Thomas Hart Benton, Academy Awards, Photographer, Director, Award-winning actor
“Now, Boys, Don’t Get Caught Watchin’ the Paint Dry!”- excerpt from “Hoosiers”
Dennis Hopper was a creative genius who commanded a long and renowned film career. A jack-of-all-trades, he won awards and nominations for acting, writing and directing in any affair from the Cannes Film Festival to the Academy Awards. Guess what, Kansas City? The man famed for classics like “Easy Rider,” “Hoosiers,” “Speed,” “Apocalypse Now!” “Rebel Without a Cause,” “True Grit,” and “Cool Hand Luke”—whoa, this guy is awesome—got his start right here in our hometown. Born in Dodge City, Kans., Hopper relocated to Kansas City at the age of 10, involving himself in painting classes at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Here, he glimpsed his first drama and theater class. Later, he received painting lessons from iconic American artist Thomas Hart Benton at The University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC). Another move took the family to California, where Hopper landed his first role – and escalated to stardom. Due to complications from prostate cancer, Hopper died at his home in Los Angeles in 2010.