James Dean Death Photos Biography
James Dean was born in 1931 and raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to New York to pursue his dream of acting. He received rave reviews for his work as the blackmailing Arab boy in the New York production of Gide's "The Immoralist", good enough to earn him a trip to Hollywood. His early film efforts were strictly bit parts: a sailor in the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis overly frantic musical comedy Sailor Beware (1952); a GI in Samuel Fuller's moody study of a platoon in the Korean War, Fixed Bayonets! (1951) and a youth in the Piper Laurie-Rock Hudson comedy Has Anybody
He had major roles in only three movies. In the Elia Kazan production of John Steinbeck's East of Eden (1955) he played Caleb, the "bad" brother who couldn't force affection from his stiff-necked father. His true starring role, the one which fixed his image forever in American culture, was that of the brooding red-jacketed teenager Jim Stark in Nicholas Ray's Rebel Without a Cause (1955). George Stevens' filming of Edna Ferber's Giant (1956), in which he played the non-conforming cowhand Jett Rink who strikes it rich when he discovers oil, was just coming to a close when Dean, driving his Porsche Spyder race car, collided with another car while on the road near Cholame, California on September 30, 1955. He had received a speeding ticket just two hours before. James Dean was killed almost immediately from the impact from a broken neck. He was 24. His very brief career, violent death and highly publicized funeral transformed him into a cult object of apparently timeless fascination.
Just before his death, his agent, Jane Deacy, negotiated a 9-picture deal over 6 years with Warner Bros. worth $900,000. Dean's next project was to be a television version for NBC of Emlyn Williams' play "The Corn is Green", in which he was to star with Judith Anderson. His next film was to be Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), a biopic of boxer Rocky Graziano, for which Warners were loaning him to MGM and in which he was replaced by Paul Newman. Newman also replaced him in the role of Billy the Kid in The Left Handed Gun (1958). Three other roles with which he was being linked were the leads in Gun for a Coward (1957), This Angry Age (1958) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958).Was Oscar nominated in two-thirds of his films, a record which will probably never be bettered.He was given a Siamese cat as gift by Elizabeth Taylor.as terribly near-sighted and wore thick glasses when not on screen.Referenced by name in the Skid Row song, "Forever" ("wild cigarettes like James Dean").
Was biggest idol of Elvis Presley.
Mentioned in Don McLean's hit song "American Pie".
Was originally considered for the leading role in Oklahoma! (1955).
His closest and most intimate friend for the last five years of his life was William Bast.
Much like Dean himself was with Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley emulated and idolized James Dean. He would talk to friends for hours about his reverence for Dean, and got into acting as a way of following in Dean's footsteps. He confessed to his friends and close ones that Dean had the acting career he always wanted.
His father inherited his estate, which was valued at the time of his death at $96,438.44 after taxes. The bulk of the estate came from his life insurance policy as well as $6,750 in insurance claims from his Porsche Spyder. His checking account had a balance of $3,256.48.
While filming The Swan (1956) in Hollywood, Alec Guinness he met James Dean, just days before the young actor's death. Sir Alec later recalled predicting that Dean would die in a car crash: when Dean showed Guinness his newly-bought Porsche, Guinness advised him to "Get rid of that car, or you'll be dead in a week!" Guinness unfortunately proved right.
At the time of his death, he was signed to play in "The Battler" on the "Playwrights '56" (1955) television series. The role went instead to Paul Newman.
'Rolf Weütherich', the German auto mechanic who was riding with Dean in the passenger seat during his fatal auto crash, was thrown from the car by the impact and received multiple injuries. After Dean's death, he fell into a depression from the trauma of the incident and made several suicide attempts. He died in Germany in 1981 in an auto accident similar to the one that James Dean died in.
Mentor and friend of Dennis Hopper.
One of only six actors to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his first screen appearance. The other five actors are: Orson Welles, Lawrence Tibbett, Alan Arkin, Paul Muni and Montgomery Clift.
Is referenced in the Lady Gaga song Speechless, "I can't believe how you looked at me with your James Dean glossy eyes".
According to Dennis Hopper, he once threatened to kill a director with a switchblade.
According to Elizabeth Taylor, Dean was molested consistently by a trusted clergy member at the age of 11 years and in a state of having been bereft of his mother.
Mentioned in the song "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed.
Former lover William Bast wrote a book about their relationship titled "Surviving James Dean".
Was very close friends with Elizabeth Taylor.
Lived in Los Angeles from the ages of 6 to 9 before his mother's death.
He had originally majored in pre-Law but switched to Drama, which angered his father.
Was a mediocre student in high school although he was a very popular athlete.
He suffered from very erratic mood swings and it is believed that he may have had undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder.
Madonna's song "Jimmy Jimmy" from her True Blue album was written in his honor.
Only the gentle are ever really strong.
Gratification comes in the doing, not in the results.
Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today.An actor must interpret life and, in order to do so, must be willing to accept all the experiences life has to offer. In fact, he must seek out more of life than life puts at his feet. In the short span of his lifetime, an actor must learn all there is to know, experience all there is to experience, or approach that state as closely as possible. He must be superhuman in his efforts to store away in the core of his subconscious everything that he might be called upon to use in the expression of his art.
It was an accident, although I've been involved in some kind of theatrical function or other since I was a child: in school, music, athletics. To me, acting is the most logical way for people's neuroses to manifest themselves, in this great need we all have to express ourselves. To my way of thinking, an actor's course is set even before he's out of the cradle.
To grasp the full significance of life is the actor's duty; to interpret it his problem and to express it his dedication. Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that's all you have. Being a good actor isn't easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I'm done.
Studying cows, pigs and chickens can help an actor develop his character. There are a lot of things I learned from animals. One was that they couldn't hiss or boo me. I also became close to nature and am now able to appreciate the beauty with which this world is endowed.
You must not allow yourself to be opinionated. You must say, "Wait. Let me see". And above all, you must be honest with yourself.
When an actor plays a scene exactly the way a director orders, it isn't acting. It's following instructions. Anyone with the physical qualifications can do that. So the director's task is just that to direct, to point the way. Then the actor takes over. And he must be allowed the space, the freedom to express himself in the role. Without that space, an actor is no more than an unthinking robot with a chest-full of push-buttons.
I'm not going to go through life with one arm tied behind my back.
If a man can bridge the gap between life and death ... I mean, if he can live on after his death, then maybe he was a great man.
[on acting] You can do Hamlet while performing cartwheels . . . as long as the audience sees your eyes - you can make the performance real.
(When speaking to a friend) Death can't be considered, because if you're afraid to die there's no room in your life to make discoveries.
I think I am gong to make it because on one hand I am like Clift saying help me and of the other hand I am Brando saying, 'Screw you!', and somewhere in between is 'James Dean'.
I think the prime reason for existence, for living in this world, is discovery.
Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that's all you have.
My purpose in life does not include a hankering to charm society.
The cinema is a very truthful medium because the camera doesn't let you get away with anything. On stage you can even loaf a little, if you're so inclined.
To me, acting is the most logical way for people's neuroses to manifest themselves.