James Dean - Details


James Dean was raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. 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 Martin & Lewis overly frantic musical comedy Sailor Beware (1951); a GI in the moody Richard Basehart study of a platoon in the Korean War Fixed Bayonets (1951); a youth in the Piper Laurie - Rock Hudson comedy _Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952)_ (qv). 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). Filming of Edna Ferber's Giant (1956) ( George Stevens ), in which he played the non-conforming cowhand Jett Rink, was just coming to a close when Dean, driving his Porsche Spyder, collided with another car just east of Paso Robles, California. He had received a speeding ticket just two hours before. His very brief career, violent death and highly publicized funeral transformed James Dean into a cult object of apparently timeless fascination.


  • 8th February 1931 - Birth
  • 30th September 1955 - Death