A number of us at Kirvin Doak had the good fortune to work with Dennis Hopper through our effort for the CineVegas Film Festival. Dennis was the festival’s Honorary Chairman for several years, partly because of his love of Las Vegas, partly because of his love of film and mostly because of his long friendship with Robin and Danny Greenspun, the festival’s founders.
Dennis’ role as Chairman wasn’t a case of putting a fancy title on a celebrity just for the sake of attention. He worked this event. He hosted parties for actors and sponsors in Las Vegas and Los Angeles (including a few at his amazing home), sat through dozens of interviews (promoting both the festival and the city), attended dozens of screenings and chatted with festival-goers well into the night. And he did it year-after-year-after-year.
It was called the World’s Most Dangerous Film Festival, and Hopper and the city were a great fit. See, it really didn’t matter where he was — poolside at The Palms, chatting with his friend Christopher Walken at a CineVegas party at the Chateau Marmont, or hosting his buddy Jack Nicholson at a CineVegas honoree dinner at The Venetian — Dennis Hopper was always — always — the coolest guy in the room. Everyone else was fighting for second place.
So when Dennis Hopper passed away Saturday at the age of 74, the film world lost one its greats and Las Vegas lost a friend and ambassador. So long, Shooter. The pleasure was all ours.