Hopper was born on May 17, 1936, in Dodge City, Kansas, the son of Marjorie Mae (née Davis, July 12, 1917 – January 12, 2007) and Jay Millard Hopper (June 23, 1916 – August 7, 1982).
After World War II, the family moved to Kansas City, Missouri, where the young Hopper attended Saturday art classes at the Kansas City Art Institute. At the age of 13, Hopper and his family moved to San Diego, where his mother worked as a lifeguard instructor and his father was a post office manager.
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