The litigation that seemed would never end has entered a final chapter with actor Dennis Hopper being ordered to pay fellow thesp Rip Torn $475,000 as a result of comments made on TV.
The punitive damages award, which was ordered Friday by Judge Campbell Lucas, brings to $950,000 the total amount Hopper will pay to Torn.
The order also closes five years of litigation, which began shortly after Hopper claimed Torn was turned down for the role of the lawyer in the film “Easy Rider” because Torn had pulled a knife on him. (Jack Nicholson landed the part).
Hopper’s comments were made on “The Tonight Show” and set in motion a defamation lawsuit filed by Torn that would travel to the California Supreme Court.
Torn claimed in his lawsuit that he did not have a knife, that Hopper had come at him with a buck knife and Torn grabbed it and pointed it back at Hopper.
“(Torn) said that all he ever wanted was for Dennis Hopper to publicly apologize and retract the false statements,” said Torn’s lawyer, Robert Chapman, who said his client was gratified by the award.
Hopper’s lawyer, Patricia Glaser, characterized the judgment as “a manageable amount and less than we expected.”