Dennis Hopper near death?

Mar 26, 2010 at 2:52 p.m. ET

Dennis Hopper -- the man behind some of film's wildest and most tormented characters (not to mention some wild off-screen antics) -- is being honored with a star on the Walk of Fame today. Word is he's losing his battle with prostate cancer. Hopper, 73, appeared quite hopeful when he revealed he was fighting the disease last year, but now that the cancer has spread to his bones, he is no longer able to undergo chemotherapy. At 100 pounds, he is said to be in his final days.

Lindsay Lohan with Dennis Hopper

A trip to the Walk of Fame was deemed a good idea to boost his spirits, but legal docs argue that he's not strong enough to participate in long conversations and just too ill to be deposed in his ongoing divorce from fifth wife, Victoria Duffy, with whom Hopper shares a daughter, Galen, 7.

"Compelling Mr Hopper to participate in a deposition where he is being asked questions he is compelled to respond to under oath regarding his wife and/or is daughter could actually threaten his ability to survive his current health crisis," Dr David Argus maintains in divorce paperwork.

Having filed for divorce back in January, Hopper also obtained a restraining order that stipulates Duffy cannot come within 10 ten feet of him or contact him in any way.

"The presence of his estranged wife is hampering Mr Hopper's present cancer care as she introduces significant additional stress into his life," Argus wrote. "The less Mr Hopper has to do with his estranged wife at this time, the more likely he is to have his life extended."

The divorce paperwork also argues that Hopper is relatively broke and living off $58,000 in annual TV and movie residual payments. They report he has liquid assets of $300,280, corporate assets of $10,900, and a $450,000 line of credit, which is maxed out. There's also a claim that Duffy absconded with $1.5 million of his art collection, including an Andy Warhol portrait of Hopper.

While Hopper is offering to pay $5,000 a month in spousal support, Victoria's lawyers argue his statement of accounts is deceitful, pointing to his impressive art collection. There has also been chatter that the purpose of the divorce proceeding is to protect his estate from going to Duffy after he dies.

Hopper: Actor, artist and Wildman

Hopper starred in more than 140 TV shows, including Bonanza, The Twilight Zone, The Barbara Stanwyck Show and, most recently, the short-lived 2008 series Crash. He's also enjoyed a career as an artist and photographer, but the maverick made a name for himself on the big screen.

He got his start with James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). Feeling a kinship with the 1950s icon, he went on to earn a similar reputation as an actor known as explosive and imbalanced, but talented. This likely has much to do with his ongoing battle with substance abuse.

Hopper landed roles in Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) and True Grit (1969), but it was 1969's Easy Rider that put him on the map. In addition to starring with Peter Fonda and newbie actor Jack Nicholson, Hopper wrote the counterculture road movie with Fonda and Terry Southern, and earned acclaim for his directing. He won similar praise for his work both onscreen and off for Out of the Blue in 1980 and for directing the much acclaimed 1988 film Colors.

Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda in Easy Rider

His most memorable onscreen performances were in Apocalypse Now (1979), Rumble Fish (1983), The Osterman Weekend (1983), Blue Velvet (1986) and Speed with Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock. The 2008 drama Elegy, with Sir Ben Kingsley, Penelope Cruz and Debbie Harry, will go down as his last big-screen effort.

Hopper has also been an active member of the art community, as a collector, photographer, painter and sculptor. One of his first purchases was reportedly an early print of Andy Warhol's infamous Campbell's Soup Cans, bought for $75. Dubbed a "photographer to watch" by Better Homes and Gardens back in the 1950s, he did the cover art for Ike and Tina Turner's River Deep Mountain High in 1966 and still has exhibitions running worldwide.

His story offscreen has always been tumultuous. The renegade actor and filmmaker has openly battled substance abuse, almost killed himself with wild stunts and pulled disappearing acts. A father of four, he has been married five times, including a weeklong marriage to Michelle Phillips in 1980. The marriage he now fights to end with Victoria Duffy has lasted the longest, at 17 years.

While it's sad that his final days in the spotlight involve another ugly divorce, SheKnows hopes it will be his six decades of work for which he's remembered. We wish him peace in his final days and thank him for keeping us entertained.

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