How Dennis Hopper Ran the Wildest Party House in HollywoodBreaking News
tags: Hollywood, popular culture, entertainment, Dennis Hopper
Before the ‘60s were what we know as the ‘60s, the house in the 1700 block of North Crescent Heights Boulevard hosted an ever-evolving mix of art and artists, working and nonworking actors, the adult children and slightly feral grandchildren of Hollywood’s golden age, musicians not yet famous, writers, gallerists, directors and random people in cool outfits who’d been invited up from Sunset Boulevard. For most of the decade, Brooke Hayward and her husband, Dennis Hopper, threw what might just have been the best parties in L.A.
If you’d been there in 1964, would you have realized that the guy with the grass was Peter Fonda, the one by the stereo was David Crosby, the silk-screen print in the kitchen of two Mona Lisas was by Andy Warhol? Sometimes it takes a few decades for the magic to come into focus. Mark Rozzo brings the lost scene to life in “Everybody Thought We Were Crazy: Dennis Hopper, Brooke Hayward and 1960s Los Angeles.”
“The fact that there seemed to be concurrent revolutions in the world of art, the world of music and the world of film really made it so dynamic and interesting,” Rozzo told me. “I think that there was something singular in the way that Dennis and Brooke connected all those worlds.”
We were sitting on a shady patio in Brooklyn, 2,806 miles from the house Hopper and Hayward owned in Hollywood more than 50 years ago. “L.A. in the ‘60s was so fascinating to me; we’re talking about a place that has been compared to Paris in the ‘20s. Whether or not the comparison is completely irresponsible, I’m not here to debate that.” Point is, he was besotted.
The book focuses on Hopper and Hayward’s marriage, which lasted from 1961-69, and the worlds they moved through. Hayward was the daughter of actress Margaret Sullavan and agent Leland Hayward, so they regularly got looped into the orbit of Hollywood power brokers such as David O. Selznick and Jennifer Jones. Hopper was one of the Hollywood crew invited to join civil rights marches in the South; he photographed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma. Hayward had been on the cover of Vogue and Life, but she was distinctly bohemian, filling their house with unfashionable oddities and buying Pop art from friends showing at Ferus Gallery — a crew now famous, but then not at all.
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