Cancer-stricken actor Dennis Hopper divorcing wife

Mon Jan 18, 2010 6:58pm EST
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LOS ANGELES Jan 18 (Reuters) - Bedridden Hollywood actor Dennis Hopper said on Monday he was seeking a divorce from his fifth wife while fighting what a family friend called "a valiant battle" against prostate cancer.

"They've been having trouble and he wants peace and quiet," the family friend told Reuters.

The unusual filing was made last Thursday. Hopper, 73, and Victoria Duffy have a 6-year-old daughter.

The friend said Hopper was "fully conscious" after being placed on a new round of chemotherapy drugs.

In a statement, Hopper was quoted as saying: "I wish Victoria the best, but only want to spend these difficult days surrounded by my children and close friends."

Duffy is still at Hopper's house in the coastal suburb of Venice as living arrangements are worked out, the friend said. The divorce filing would not affect what Duffy gets from Hopper's estate as that was laid out in a pre-nuptial agreement, he added.

Hopper, perhaps best known for directing and starring in the 1969 cult classic "Easy Rider," was diagnosed with cancer last September.

In a wildly varied career spanning more than 50 years, Hopper appeared alongside his mentor, James Dean, in "Rebel Without a Cause" and "Giant," and played maniacs in such films as "Apocalypse Now," "Blue Velvet" and "Speed."

He received two Oscar nominations, for writing "Easy Rider" (with co-star Peter Fonda and Terry Southern), and for a rare heartwarming turn as an alcoholic high-school basketball coach in the 1986 drama "Hoosiers."

His domestic life has never been dull. One of his marriages included an eight-day union with Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and Papas in 1970. Phillips later told Vanity Fair that she was subjected to "excruciating" treatment. Hopper also broke the nose of his first wife, Brooke Hayward, after a drug binge.

(Reporting by Dean Goodman; Editing by Eric Beech)

<p>Actor Dennis Hopper attends a panel for the Starz drama series "Crash" at the Television Critics Association 2008 summer press tour in Beverly Hills, California in this July 11, 2008 file photo. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>