Published January 21, 2005
Dennis Hopper (search) should be hopping mad, some Hollywood actors said this week.
Hopper, who organized The Creative Coalition's Ball after the Ball (search) Thursday night as part of the activities surrounding President Bush's inauguration, apparently got a surprise phone call from the Presidential Inaugural Committee (search) Wednesday night — telling him not to come to his own party.
"I feel terrible that the White House inaugural committee that invited Dennis decided to disinvite him," "Sopranos" actor Joe Pantoliano (search) told reporters at the event, where the entertainment — aside from mingling with some of Tinseltown's stars — was singer Macy Gray.
Hopper reportedly was not given an explanation for the insult. A call to the PIC had not been returned by press time.
Thursday's ball at the Reagan Building in Washington featured names such as Pantoliano — the group's co-director — along with actor and director Tony Goldwyn, Mario Van Peebles, Joe Piscopo, Matthew Modine and other actors. Various politicos like Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., also attended.
But many were sorry about the absence of Hopper, who was the organizer and chair of the event and who personally wrote letters to and called the evening's headliners to invite them.
"I was very disappointed. I was told he was all of a sudden disinvited by the Inaugural Committee ... but he's with us in spirit," Goldwyn, who played the dark character Carl Bruner in the 1990 smash-hit "Ghost," and more recently co-starred in "The Last Samurai," told reporters on the red carpet Thursday.
Hopper, a Hollywood icon and long-time actor, director and producer who has starred in films such as "Speed," "Easy Rider" and "Apocalypse Now," is a hard-core supporter of Bush, although his wife did partake in fund-raising activities for Sen. John Kerry, Bush's Democratic challenger in the 2004 presidential election.
The Creative Coalition — a nonprofit, nonpartisan, social and political advocacy group comprised of entertainment names and faces — is chock full of voters who went to the polls for Kerry instead of Bush in last year's election. The group maintains, however, that they are less interested in influencing elections than in getting the government to address various issues within the arts community, such as fighting piracy, protecting intellectual property right and furthering arts education in schools.
Hill Harper, who plays Dr. Sheldon Hawkes on CBS' "CSI: NY," said the PIC's inexplicable move is "like your best friend saying, 'We're throwing a party for you and you're not coming.'"
"I'm sad. If I was Dennis, I think I would have showed up anyway. It's his party — he worked very hard to make this a successful party ... he's respected ... it was tremendously disrespectful," added Modine, who has been featured in movies such as "Full Metal Jacket."
In saying it was "disrespectful," Modine clarified that he was not only referring to the fact that the PIC apparently told Hopper not to come, but also that Hopper didn't show up anyway.
"It's just rude," he said. "It's like going on a date and not showing up — you just don't do that."