Cancer-stricken Hopper's ex-wife 'stole €1.1m art collection'
Dennis Hopper, the Hollywood actor, has accused his estranged wife, Victoria, of stealing more than €1.1m worth of art, including a valuable Banksy piece, court documents allege.
The screen legend, 73, who is terminally ill with prostate cancer, claims that his actress wife “surreptitiously” removed the art from his home because he would be too sick to notice they were missing.
In documents filed with a Californian court, Hopper, who is embroiled in bitter divorce proceedings with his wife of 14 years, is too sick to undergo chemotherapy, attend court, or be questioned by her divorce attorney.
He also claimed that he was too ill to work, was nearly broke and could only afford to pay his estranged fifth wife €3,700 in spousal support.
The feud with his wife, 42, has deteriorated even further amid claims she “stole” art, which includes a portrait of himself by Andy Warhol and Robert Graham sculptures, from his valuable collection worth more than $1.5m (€1.1m).
According to an affidavit filed with the Los Angeles LA Superior Court, he claimed Ms Duffy “surreptitiously removed from my home very valuable personal property while I was extremely ill, refused to tell me where the property was when I asked her, and then left town”.
“I believe she wanted possession of these extremely valuable items so that she might claim I had given them to her had I not survived the medical procedures I was having in December,” he wrote.
“The items taken by Respondent were not gifted to her by me and they remain my property.
“I have been an artist and an art collector for my entire adult life. We have also never entered into any written agreement modifying any of the provisions of out Premarital Agreement.”
The Banksy piece, called In The Future Everyone Will Be Anonymous For 15 Minutes, is said to be worth about €166,000.
Experts say it is a “mixed media composition of a television, a plaster pedestal and paint executed circa 2006 depicting an assemblage consisting of a television with the title painted across the screen in pink paint”.
His wife, who is now known as Victoria Duffy, denied the claims.
"I removed my own property," she told the New York Post.
"He is making a big deal about me removing things that are legally mine from the house. I have legal letters saying they belong to me."
According to evidence given by his David Agus, his doctor, the actor of films including “Easy Rider" and "Apocalypse Now, weighs barely 100 pounds (45 kilograms), is extremely weak and unable to carry on long conversations.
Dr Agus said that undergoing a deposition "could actually threaten his ability to survive his current health crisis”.
The doctor added, however, that he had approved an appearance by Hopper to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame because it was going to be a positive experience.
Later on Friday Hopper will emerge from his Venice, California, home to attend the dedication of his star.
Viggo Mortenson, the actor, is due to speak with other expected guests including Laurence Fishburne and filmmaker David Lynch, who directed Hopper, Isabella Rossellini and Kyle MacLachlan in the 1986 film Blue Velvet.
Hopper filed a declaration last month saying he was undergoing promising chemotherapy treatments and remained hopeful "that this treatment will be successful so that I may soon resume the full enjoyment of my life and work”.
The couple have agreed to stay ten feet away from each other.
She has stated in court filings that Hopper filed for divorce to cut her out of her inheritance, a claim the actor has denied.
But in the court papers the actor portray his wife "extremely volatile," "insane and out of her mind" and "inhuman”. She denies those claims.
Ms Duffy said Friday was their daughter, Galen's seventh birthday, which she hoped he would spend with them.
Earlier he had claimed he had spent Christmas "in utter distress" she took their daughter on a trip to Boston, which he only learned from his lawyer.
"This malevolent act ... has caused me to miss what may very well be my last Christmas with my daughter Galen," he claimed. His wife denied those claims.
The couple are expected in court early next month.