Why Is Dennis Hopper Divorcing His Wife From What May Be His Deathbed?

In 1961, Hopper, then a rising star, met and married Brooke Hayward, daughter of the great Broadway producer Leland Hayward in New York. Brooke bore Hopper's first child, Marin, before they divorced in 1969, reportedly because of his hard-partying habits. Glenys Robers, a writer for Britain's Daily Mail, claims that in those days, he was into a number of drugs, including LSD, heroin and cocaine. According to Reuters, Hopper broke Hayward's nose during a drug binge.

The following year, in 1970, Hopper wed Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. Their union lasted a grand total of eight days. Phillips later told Vanity Fair that she was subjected to "excruciating" treatment while with the actor.

Dennis Hopper and his second wife, Michelle Phillips.

Two years later, Hopper wed Daria Halprin, a dancer and actress in a handful of '60s and '70s films. The couple was married for four years and had one child, Ruthana Hopper.

Hopper had another marriage -- to television actress Katherine LaNasa, from 1989 to 1992, which resulted in a third child, Henry Hopper -- before settling down with Duffy-Hopper in 1996. Their 14-year relationship was by far the most solid one the notoriously unstable actor has ever been in.

Dennis Hopper and ex-wife Katherine LaNasa.

Women aren't the only ones who have felt Hopper's wrath. In 1999, actor Rip Torn sued him for defamation after Hopper said, on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," that Torn pulled a knife on him back when they were getting ready to shoot the 1969 film "Easy Rider." Torn claimed that, in fact, Hopper pulled the knife. Torn won the case after a judge ruled in his favor, and Hopper was ordered to pay $475,000 in damages. When Hopper protested and appealed, the judge hit him again, ruling in the defamed actor's favor and forcing Hopper to pay another $475,000 in punitive damages.

Dennis Hopper in "Apocalypse Now."

Dennis Hopper's Colorful Career

The Kansas-born Hopper has had a colorful career in Hollywood. He shot to fame with "Easy Rider" in which he served as both star and director. Before that, he had acted alongside James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant." In 1979, Hopper appeared in "Apocalypse Now" and in 1994, "Speed." His more recent work includes the role of record producer Ben Cendars in the cable TV series "Crash."

Dennis Hopper and Elizabeth Hurley in 1996's "Samson and Deliiah."

In addition to his film and television projects, Hopper has been a photographer, painter and sculptor. In 2001, Amsterdam's Stedelijk Museum displayed more than 100 of his works dating back to the mid-1950s. At the time, Hopper said the exhibit was his most significant achievement to date.

"It is the most important thing that ever happened to me, to be here at this museum," he said, according to the BBC. "That is serious, this is not about making 'Easy Rider,' it is about making these paintings. That is much more important to me than anything else that has ever happened in my life."

Jeffrey Wright, David Bowie, Gary Oldman, and Dennis Hopper in the 1996 movie "Basquiat"

ABC News research associate Melissa Lenderman contributed to this report.

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