During an age of light and whimsical movies, Easy Rider came along and showed us how ugly life can be. Drawing on the angst of counterculture and the Vietnam War, Easy Rider ushered in the era of “New Hollywood,” proving that movies could and should be more than just an escape from the everyday. The iconic film was supercharged with emotion from start to finish, making it inevitable that this intensity would boil over and stir up plenty of drama on set.
In the early stages of Easy Rider‘s development, producer Bert Schneider gave Dennis Hopper $20,000 to do some preliminary shooting. However, Hopper was so demanding and critical of the early shots that Peter Fonda actually tried to return the money to Schneider and fire Hopper from the film! But the tensions didn’t end there.
Disagreements over pay led to constant arguments between the two stars, with Hopper holding a grudge against Fonda until his death in 2010. When Fonda attempted to attend Hopper’s funeral to pay his respects, he was actually forbidden from entering the chapel.
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Inspired by 2001: A Space Odyssey, the original cut of Easy Rider was intended to be 220 minutes long. Director Henry Jaglom was brought in to edit the film down to its current form, though producers knew Hopper wouldn’t be too happy about the recut.
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That’s why just before the edits were made, Schneider sent Hopper on a trip to Taos, New Mexico, so he wouldn’t interfere with the process. When Hopper returned he was unsurprisingly angered by the recut. After some thought, however, he gave the film his seal of approval.
Believe it or not, most of Easy Rider was shot without a script, with most of the lines ad-libbed by Hopper and Fonda. Unfortunately, this didn’t prevent tensions from arising over who deserved credit for the screenplay.
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While Terry Southern (pictured) maintained that he wrote the majority of the script, Hopper insisted that he only provided the film’s title. “He broke his hip; he couldn’t write,” he told The Guardian in 2001. “I used his office and I dictated the whole f***ing thing in 10 days.”
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Many of Easy Rider‘s scenes sparked controversy, though none more so than those depicting drug use. Not only were the scenes presented in graphic detail, but Fonda and Hopper were really doing the drugs themselves!
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The character of George Hanson was originally written for Rip Torn, though all that changed during a dinner with Hopper and Fonda in early 1968. Torn, a Texan, took offense when Hopper began ranting about his disdain for “rednecks,” and the two nearly came to blows before Torn quit the project — but the fun didn’t end there.
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While a guest on The Tonight Show in 1994, Hopper alleged that during the altercation, Torn pulled a knife on him. This accusation then led to Torn to successfully sue Hopper for defamation, walking away with a settlement of nearly $1 million.
Yet Hopper’s feud with Torn proved to be a blessing in disguise, as for just $392 a week Fonda and Hopper brought in Jack Nicholson to fill the part of Hanson. “I’ll tell you one thing mister, it was the best $392 I ever spent,” Fonda later recalled.
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In addition to being a cultural touchstone, Easy Rider was also one of the first films to incorporate found music. Rather than hire a composer to create a score, Hopper reached out to the likes of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix for their prerecorded tunes — though they wouldn’t come cheap.
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The production spent a whopping $1 million on music licensing fees, which was three times the budget for shooting the rest of the film. Bob Dylan even refused to lend his rendition of “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” to the project, instead having Roger McGuinn of the Byrds cover the song.
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For the most part, the men and women featured in scenes taking place in Louisiana were local to the area. Hopper even told local men that the characters of Billy, Wyatt, and George assaulted and killed a girl outside of town in order to inspire genuine harassment from them.
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Fonda’s father, the legendary Henry Fonda, was one of the first people to screen Easy Rider — and he had no idea what he was watching. “I’m worried about it because the film is inaccessible,” he told his son. “We don’t see where you’re going and why? I just don’t think many people will get it.”
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For those with a love of motorcycles, a boatload of cash, and two weeks to spare, you can actually take an Easy Rider motorcycle tour. The 2589-mile path passes through a number of the movie’s filming locations, including stops in Death Valley, Colorado, and New Orleans.
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The famous campfire scene toward the end of the film was actually shot after production had wrapped. Unable to coordinate a return to Florida (where the scene was meant to take place), Fonda and Hopper assembled a crew and shot the scene in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Believe it or not, a sequel to Easy Rider was made in 2012: Easy Rider: The Ride Back. The straight-to-video film follows Wyatt’s family from the 1940s to the present day — and, yes, it’s terrible.
Despite Easy Rider taking place in the 1960s, Hopper and Fonda wanted the film to speak to the classic western genre. One way of doing this was through the names of the movie’s main characters: “Wyatt” as a reference to Wyatt Earp (left), and “Billy” in honor of Billy the Kid (right).
One of Easy Rider‘s most memorable — and tragic — scenes is its ending, though it wasn’t always meant to be so dark. Originally, Billy and Wyatt were to use the money from their drug deal to buy a boat in Key West and literally sail off into the sunset.
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Four former police motorcycles were used for the film, though three were actually stolen during the last days of production and the fourth was destroyed in the movie’s final scene. This “Captain America” bike was eventually rebuilt and restored, later selling at auction for an impressive $1.2 million.
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While the role was a relatively small one, Nicholson’s turn as George Hanson is widely considered the performance that catapulted him to stardom. It looks like he needed it, too, as before his big break, Jack was anything but a superstar.
By all accounts, the actor’s earliest years were pretty quiet. Jack’s parents, John and Ethel May Nicholson, were a bit on the older side, but quite compassionate. They encouraged their boy to chase his passions.
Nicholson fit in quite well with his New Jersey schoolmates. Besides being active in multiple clubs and sports teams, the boy took a shine to the stage and performed in various local productions. He had some big cheerleaders in addition to his parents.
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He had two older sisters, June and Lorraine, who were already teenagers by the time Jack was born in 1937. Despite the age gap, the girls always looked out for him and encouraged him to chase his dreams.
Seeing how much Jack enjoyed performing, they suggested that he give Hollywood a shot. In fact, one of his sisters already moved out to Tinseltown, so a 17-year-old Nicholson went to visit her and find his big break.
He had a surprising amount of early success. On that initial trip, Hanna-Barbera tried to hire Jack — a nimble artist — as one of their animators. The rising star turned them down, as he had only one profession in mind.
Jack desperately wanted to be an actor, and that wish came true in 1958. His first part was the titular character in The Cry Baby Killer, a melodramatic thriller. Though not his finest work, it set up Nicholson for steady employment.
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A breakthrough in the late ’60s finally gave Nicholson the career he really wanted. Easy Rider erupted into a counterculture blockbuster, earning Jack his first Oscar nomination and international stardom.
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Following acclaimed performances in Five Easy Pieces and The Last Detail, Nicholson probably could’ve walked into any newsstand and picked up a magazine with his likeness. Ahead of the release of Chinatown, however, a reporter from Time came across an inconsistency that no one else ever noticed.
The emerging truth was so jolting that the publication reached out to Nicholson directly for comment. They had to make sure they weren’t missing some crucial piece of information, after all. But Nicholson knew nothing about their findings.
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It had revolved around the actor’s true parentage. According to Time’s research, John and Ethel May Nicholson weren’t his biological parents at all. They’d lied about that story for their entire lives…
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They were actually Nicholson’s grandparents! And his “sisters” June and Lorraine were his mother and aunt, respectively. Apparently June — underage and unmarried — couldn’t deal with the stigma of having a child, so the Nicholsons invented a cover story to maintain her respectability.
Jack saw that all of the reporter’s sources were accurate, though the truth was hard to believe on some level. He’d been at the deathbeds of John, Ethel May, and June in years prior, and none of them told him anything.
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Because of this, Nicholson would never truly know who his birth father was. The strongest candidate was a vaudeville performer named Donald Rose, whom June unsuccessfully tried to marry, but she was also involved with other men in that period.
With the bizarre cover-up confirmed, Time broke the story. Chinatown, the reporter’s original impetus behind the Nicholson profile, coincidentally featured a similar twist where one character is revealed to be the sister and the daughter of another.
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That parallel only made the Nicholson revelation more eerie. After seeing the actor deceived for his entire life, fans and loved ones alike speculated how he would respond. Would he feel traumatized? Would it send him spiraling into lunacy?
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Not quite. “By the time I found out who my mother was, I was pretty well psychologically formed,” explained Nicholson, jokingly adding,”I was very impressed by their ability to keep the secret if nothing else. It’s done great things for me.”
Though he might’ve made light of his parentage, that report very could have influenced Nicholson’s own fathering style. He strove to always be there for his kids — and owned up to his mistakes. That wasn’t easy, considering he had five children with four different women.
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The actor never seemed to take marriage too seriously, whether in his own life or his family’s. But there was one woman who ruled his heart for a time. He spent nearly two decades with Anjelica Huston. Her family life was vastly different, but came with no less baggage.
When you’re the daughter of a major Hollywood director, a “normal” childhood is pretty much out of the question. Huston had a lot expected of her and huge shoes to fill. Her director father was a force and helped mold the Huston we know today.
The award-winning filmmaker John Huston was far from perfect. Along with his heavy drinking, he participated in many extramarital affairs throughout Anjelica’s childhood. That wasn’t even the worst of his parenting.
Because John was an Irish citizen, the young family spent most of Anjelica’s childhood in Ireland. Her mother was ballerina and model Enrica Soma. Ireland still holds a special place in Huston’s heart as it’s where she grew up.
An adolescent, Anjelica began seeking out acting roles. Both her grandfather and father before her had won Oscars, so she needed to work hard if she expected to do the same. She had her eye on one specific role.
When she heard Franco Zeffirelli was casting for his version of Romeo and Juliet, she was desperate to audition. Unfortunately for her, her controlling father had other plans for her route to stardom. He wanted to be in charge of her trajectory.
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Instead of the Zeffirelli film, she was forced to work on her father’s own movie called A Walk with Love and Death. This would create a huge rift between father and daughter, along with his harsh and open criticism of her on set.
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Critics tore Anjelica’s performance apart. One described her as having “the face of an exhausted gnu, the voice of an unstrung tennis racket, and a figure of no discernible shape.” Things would turn around, but it would take some time and some sad setbacks.
A Walk with Love and Death
Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better. When Anjelica was still a teenager, she lost her mother in a horrific car accident. This lead her to make a big change in her life that would define her career.
Upon her mother’s death, she left Ireland and her father and went to make her way in the United States. She started modelling in addition to acting, and she became fairly popular from her photo campaigns.
When she began to collect recognition for her beauty, so began her complicated love life. She entered relationships with much older men, some almost the same age as her father. One of the worst of them was photographer Bob Richardson.
Much like her father, Richardson was extremely controlling and obsessive over Anjelica. He wouldn’t allow her to be photographed by anyone but him, and he was constantly barking orders at her. She was much happier when the relationship ended.
During the 1970s, Anjelica fell in love with actor Ryan O’Neal. One night, he lost track of her at a party and became enraged. When he finally found her, he was physically abusive to her. She called him a “deeply disturbed individual.”
One bad relationship after another yielded painful scars for Huston. But everything changed when she met actor Jack Nicholson. The pair would become one of the most famous couples in Hollywood for almost seventeen years.
They even acted together in the film Prizzi’s Honor. The role would prove to be one of the most important of Huston’s career. In 1986, the Academy Awards would be a Huston family affair.
The director of Prizzi’s Honor was none other than John Huston, Anjelica’s father. That legendary night was a big win for the family when Anjelica won Best Supporting Actress, her then-boyfriend Jack Nicholson won Best Actor, and John Huston won Best Director.
Even considering the troubled relationship they shared, when Anjelica found out she won, she ran to her father. The pair hugged with tears streaming down their faces. John was incredibly proud of how far his daughter had come.
Her love life would once again take a hit when Nicholson informed her had an affair with another woman resulting in a child. As a goodbye gift, Nicholson gave Huston a diamond bracelet that Frank Sinatra once gave Ava Gardner
In 1992, Huston found the man who would end her lifelong struggle with romantic relationships. Artist Robert Graham and Anjelica Huston fell in love and enjoyed a loving marriage until 2008 when tragedy would strike yet again.
Graham passed away in 2008, making Huston a widow. She would never remarry after his passing. Huston admits she was attracted to “difficult men” in her life, but she lost the one partner who made it all make sense far too soon.
Anjelica Huston’s life has been a storm of pain, triumph and exceptional accomplishment. Even with all that she’s been through, she has been the architect of some of the most iconic characters of modern cinematic history.
From Morticia Addams to the quintessential wicked stepmother in Ever After her characters have taken on a life of their own. It’s easy to forget the person behind the character, and the life of Anjelica Huston harbors as much drama as any movie plot.
Born into fame, she proved herself and her talent on every level from her acting ability and inspiring independence. No one can know what it was like to go through what she has, but her accomplishments speak for themselves.
Another actor who knows what it’s like to grow up with family in the business is Jamie Lee Curtis. Though you’d never guess it, Curtis is actually a huge World of Warcraft fan. She’s attended several Comic-Cons and Bliz-Cons in full cosplay and was even invited to attend the premiere of 2016’s Warcraft.
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Despite her fame within the horror genre, Curtis has admitted she’s not a fan of the scary stuff: “I do not like horror movies. I do not say this for a joke, although it gets a laugh, I really don’t. There’s nothing I like about being scared.”
Since 1993, Curtis has penned a total of 13 children’s books. Her 1998 book Today I Feel Silly, and Other Moods That Make My Day was actually a New York Times best seller for ten weeks.
Curtis is the daughter of actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, with the latter known as the original “scream queen” from her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960). She also has several half-siblings and an older sister, Kelly Curtis, who is an actress as well.
One of Curtis’ longtime friends is actress Sigourney Weaver, a fellow “scream queen” from the Alien films. Hilariously, Curtis admitted in 2015 that she’s never watched the original Alien all the way through because it was too scary!
During her highly publicized partnership with L’eggs, Curtis’ long legs attracted plenty of customers to the pantyhose brand. In fact, her legs were so prized by the brand that L’eggs actually insured them for $2.8 million.
After spotting a picture of This Is Spinal Tap star Christopher Guest, Curtis turned to her friend Debra Hill and told her, “Oh, I’m going to marry that guy.” The pair wed five months later and have been together ever since.
Before pursuing a career in Hollywood, Curtis actually had very different plans for her future. While attending the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, Curtis majored in social work before dropping out after one semester.
Along with being one of Hollywood’s most beloved leading ladies, Curtis is also literal royalty. Following the death of her father-in-law, Curtis’ husband inherited the title of 5th Baron Haden-Guest, making her a baroness!
A Hungarian Jew, Curtis began delving deeper into her heritage in the early ’90s and made an incredible gesture. Together with her father, Curtis helped finance the reconstruction of the “Great Synagogue” in Budapest, Hungary.
Curtis made her big-screen debut as Laurie Strode in the 1978 horror classic Halloween. Her performance was highly praised, and she went on to reprise the role in Halloween II (1981), Halloween H20: 20 Years Later (1998), Halloween: Resurrection (2002), and the 2018 remake, Halloween.
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An LGBTQ-rights activist, Curtis appeared alongside Martin Sheen and Brad Pitt in 8, a staged reenactment of the trial that overturned California’s Prop 8 ban on same-sex marriage. She also appeared in a tribute video for the victims of the 2016 Orlando night club shooting.
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Following the success of Halloween, Curtis established herself as a leading Hollywood “scream queen” with performances in several other horror classics, including Prom Night, The Fog, and Terror Train.
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Strangely enough, Curtis actually owned a patent for a diaper designed with a built-in pocket for wipes until 2007. Since 2017, however, she’s held the rights to another diaper design, this one relating to biodegradability.
Curtis shed her “scream queen” image after starring in 1983’s Trading Places, a role that earned her a BAFTA award for best supporting actress. She followed up with 1988’s A Fish Called Wanda, a cult film that established her as a comedic actress.
In a 2019 interview, Curtis revealed that she suffered from alcoholism and became addicted to painkillers early in her career. She sought help for her addiction and has been sober since 1999.
With nearly a hundred acting credits to her name, Curtis is easily one of Hollywood’s most iconic leading ladies. It should come as no surprise, then, that she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame back in 1990.
In addition to her humanitarian work, Curtis is also heavily involved in philanthropy. She currently serves on the leadership board of Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and also works with the Children Affected By AIDS Foundation.
Following her parents divorce in 1962, Curtis’s relationship with her father began to deteriorate. In fact, Tony Curtis’ relationship with his children was so nonexistent that by the time he passed away in 2010 he’d cut all of them from his will — Curtis included.
In addition to being the mother of two adopted children, Curtis is also godmother to actor Jake Gyllenhaal, having been close with his parents — director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Foner — for years.
Incredibly, Hollywood is filled with more godparent-godchild relationships than you’d think. Miley Cyrus and Dolly Parton are one notable pair; during Miley’s radical image shift, Parton was one of the few people that stood by the young star.
2. Marisa Tomei & Zoë Kravitz: After starring alongside Lisa Bonet on A Different World, Marisa Tomei was named godmother of her daughter Zoë, whom she had with first husband Lenny Kravitz.
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3. Mariah Carey & Patti LaBelle: Not only is Patti LaBelle the “Godmother of Soul,” but she’s also godmother to none other than Mariah Carey! The pair actually performed together in 2016 for the VH1 Divas Holiday: Unsilent Night benefit concert.
4. Sting & Rocco Ritchie: The son of Madonna and Guy Ritchie, Rocco has all the tools and connections he needs to become a success. If he ever needs a little extra help, however, he can always look to his godfather, Police frontman Sting.
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5. Steven Spielberg & Drew Barrymore: After Barrymore’s role in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial made her a star, Steven Spielberg was named the young actress’ godfather — and a protective one at that. Following her 1995 Playboy shoot, Spielberg sent her a quilt and told her to cover up!
6. Jennifer Aniston & Coco Arquette: Who knew that Friends co-stars Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox-Arquette are actually close friends in real life? Cox never had any kids on the show, so Aniston will just have to settle for being one to Coco Arquette.
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7. Macaulay Culkin & Paris Jackson: In 1998, child star Macaulay Culkin became godfather to longtime-friend Michael Jackson’s daughter, Paris. Despite their godparent-godchild relationship, the two are more like close friends.
8. Sugar Ray Leonard & Khloé Kardashian: Not many would expect boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard to be Khloé Kardashian’s godfather, but the famous fighter was actually friends with Khloé’s late father, Robert.
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9. Steven Spielberg & Gwyneth Paltrow: That’s right — Drew Barrymore has some competition. Steve Spielberg also serves as godfather to Gwyneth Paltrow, whom he cast as the young Wendy Darling in his 1991 film Hook.
10. Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman & Rupert Murdoch’s daughters: Aussies like to stick together, so it’s no wonder that media mogul Rupert Murdoch named the Australian actors godparents to his daughters Chloe and Grace.
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11. Michael Jackson & Nicole Richie: After adopting Nicole, Lionel Richie chose friend and longtime collaborator Michael Jackson to be her godfather. The pop icon shares this title with jazz legend Quincy Jones.
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12. Lady Gaga & Elton John’s sons: Being named godparent to one child is flattering enough, but to serve as one to both of Elton John’s sons is an incredible honor. That’s the case for Lady Gaga, who’s godmother to both Zachary and Elijah John-Furnish.
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13. Hugh Grant & Damian Hurley: Remember when Hugh Grant’s high-profile relationship with Elizabeth Hurley ended in scandal? Well, it seems all is forgiven, as Hurley named Grant godfather to her son, Damian.
14. Bono & Brangelina’s twins: Citing their shared passion for improving the world through humanitarian efforts, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie named U2 frontman Bono the godfather of their twins, Knox and Vivienne.
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15. Henry Winkler & Bryce Dallas Howard: This should come as a surprise to no one, as Bryce’s father, Ron Howard, co-starred with Winkler on Happy Days. Could you imagine having the Fonz for a godfather?
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16. Johnny Depp & Tim Burton’s children: With their shared Hollywood history, it’s no wonder that Depp and Burton are close friends. That’s why he and Helena Bonham Carter named Depp godfather to their children, Billy Raymond and Nell.
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17. Elton John & Sean Lennon: Elton John has ten godkids in total – but not many know that he also plays the part for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son, Sean Lennon.
18. Eva Longoria & Harper Beckham: As far as Hollywood besties go, Eva Longoria and Victoria Beckham are as close as it gets. That’s why in 2011 Posh Spice named the Desperate Housewives star godmother to her daughter, Harper.
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19. Sonny Bono & Anthony Kiedis: The resemblance between godfather and godson is uncanny! Sonny Bono was a close friend of Kiedis’ father, Blackie Dammett, and would even take the Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman on weekend trips as a kid.
The Daily Beast / Celebs Net Worth Today