“…who has never made an entirely good, entirely satisfactory film.” — Nicholas Ray (1911 — 1979), as quoted by Dennis Hopper in a 1997 TCM essay. All this heartfelt and very accurate praise for one of Hollywood’s great crazy men, and not a single mention of an alcoholic dissolute life style that ruined Ray’s career and shortened his life. He was only 67 when he died in August 1979, and he looked like he was at least 80 when he costarred in Wim WendersThe American Friend, which was shot in ’76 when Ray was 65. Hollywood tributes never mention self-destructive or suicidal behavior. (“It doesn’t matter what I think about Nic Ray,” Hopper says at the end of the piece.) The deceased was all about his creations, he lived as best he could, a tree fell on him….not quite. (The Ray essay was produced and written by Chris Merrifield.)