Everybody Thought We Were Crazy: Dennis Hopper, Brooke Hayward, and 1960s Los Angeles

Ecco: HarperCollins. May 2022. 464p. ISBN 9780062939975. $29.99. FILM
Dennis Hopper and his first wife Brooke Hayward have perhaps not been given proper credit for their contributions to the art and aesthetic of the 1960s, but readers of Rozzo’s (contributing editor, Vanity Fair) book will come away deeply impressed by the couple’s efforts. Hopper rose to fame writing, directing, and starring in the iconic 1969 road film Easy Rider, but disparaged the majority of his own films as he neared the end of his life; today he’s most remembered for playing villains in Blue Velvet and Speed. Hayward’s great success, meanwhile, was her 1977 memoir Haywire, about growing up as the daughter of producer Leland Hayward and actress Margaret Sullavan. Hopper and Hayward were the influencers of their day—visitors to their Los Angeles home included artists (Ed Ruscha, Miles Davis, the Byrds), Black Panthers, and Hells Angels, and they had a collection of contemporary art to rival any gallery. Rozzo reveals that the environment was both vibrant and volatile, and Hopper was equal parts enthusiastic, loyal, and destructive; he was also abusive to friends, coworkers, and, ultimately, Hayward. Drawing on diligent research and an excellent array of interviews, Rozzo brings 1960s LA to life in all its joy, creativity, and chaos.
VERDICT Rozzo documents a roller-coaster ride of big ideas, big failures, lasting successes, and lost projects. Recommended for anyone interested in the culture of the 1960s.
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