The Night Dennis Hopper Held Me In His Arms And Sobbed (1965)

Diana Crawshaw shares a memory from the Royal College Of Art Summer Ball 1965


A recent post triggered this memory from designer Diana Crawshaw of an encounter with Dennis Hopper. It occurred at the Royal College Of Art summer ball in 1965, “when he was very young and so was I”:

At the ball everyone was wearing white or silver (it was that summer when The Knack came out).

Everything in my house in Ladbroke Grove was painted white: bath taps, everything, by my ex-Leeds College of Art boy flat-mates.

Clive McLean, boyfriend and future Hustler photographer, and I were together at the ball. The Beach Boys and really cool Jimmy Smith music was playing. Clive was deep in conversation with David (Hockney, fellow Bradford art school ex-student). The man with David stood in the noise talking to me.

He said he was an actor.


 Mandatory Credit: Photo by Warner Corey Allen, Dennis Hopper, Frank Mazzola, James Dean Rebel Without A Cause - 1955

Corey Allen, Dennis Hopper, Frank Mazzola, James Dean
Rebel Without A Cause – 1955


“That’s what I really want to do,” I told him, and talked about James Dean. He knew him very well, he said sadly. He asked me where was I from and did I like London?

I said I loved it, but really missed my home, the moors and forests. He became very focused.

I said that when I returned home, I ran up to the woods, where the trees stood in deep, mossy, leafy undergrowth, and lay on the ground. When I put my nose to the earth and drew in a deep breath, smelling the beautiful smell, everything was OK.

The Beach Boys were still full blast.

Dennis Hopper was holding me in his arms, and suddenly, with deep sighs, sobbing in my ear.

“You don’t know how long it is since I heard anyone talk like that,” he said, looking into my eyes.

“Thank you” he said.

Then I was led away, to be introduced to someone else.

Lead image: Dennis Hopper in front of a Dr Pepper sign, 1965. Robert Walker Jr.

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