About James Byron Dean
James Dean was born February 8, 1931, in Marion, Indiana, to Winton and Mildred Dean. His father, a dental technician, moved the family to Los Angeles when Jimmy was five. He returned to the Midwest after his mother passed away and was raised by his aunt and uncle on their Indiana farm. After graduating from high school, he returned to California where he attended Santa Monica Junior College and UCLA. James Dean began acting with James Whitmore's acting workshop, appeared in occasional television commercials, and played several roles in films and on stage. In the winter of 1951, he took Whitmore's advice and moved to New York to pursue a serious acting career. He appeared in seven television shows, in addition to earning his living as a busboy in the theater district, before he won a small part in a Broadway play entitled See the Jaguar.
In a letter to his family in Fairmount in 1952, he wrote:
"I have made great strides in my craft. After months of auditioning, I am very proud to announce that I am a member of the Actors Studio. The greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Arthur Kennedy, Mildred Dunnock...Very few get into it, and it is absolutely free. It is the best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to belong. If I can keep this up and nothing interferes with my progress, one of these days I might be able to contribute something to the world." [He worked with Arthur Kennedy in "See the Jaguar"; he would later star with Julie Harris in "East of Eden" and Mildred Dunnock in "Padlocks," a 1954 episode of the CBS television program "Danger."] Dean continued his study at the Actors Studio, played short stints in television dramas, and returned to Broadway in "The Immoralist" (1954). This last appearance resulted in a screen test at Warner Brothers for the part of Cal Trask in the screen adaptation John Steinbeck's novel "East of Eden." He then returned to New York where he appeared in four more television dramas. After winning the role of Jim Stark in 1955's "Rebel Without A Cause," he moved to Hollywood. New Porsche
James Dean PorscheIn February, he visited his family in Fairmount with photographer Dennis Stock before returning to Los Angeles. In March, Jimmy celebrated his Eden success by purchasing his first Porsche and entered the Palm Springs Road Races. He began shooting "Rebel Without A Cause" that same month and Eden opened nationwide in April. In May, he entered the Bakersfield Race and finished shooting Rebel. He entered one more race, in Santa Barbara, before he joined the cast and crew of "Giant" in Marfa, Texas.
James DeanJames DeanJames Dean had one of the most spectacularly brief careers of any screen star. In just more than a year, and in only three films, Dean became a widely admired screen personality, a personification of the restless American youth of the mid-50's, and an embodiment of the title of one of his film "Rebel Without A Cause." En route to compete in a race in Salinas, James Dean was killed in a highway accident on September 30, 1955. James Dean was nominated for two Academy Awards, for his performances in "East of Eden" and "Giant." Although he only made three films, they were made in just over one year's time. Joe Hyams, in the James Dean biography "Little Boy Lost," sums up his career:
"..There is no simple explanation for why he has come to mean so much to so many people today. Perhaps it is because, in his acting, he had the intuitive talent for expressing the hopes and fears that are a part of all young people... In some movie magic way, he managed to dramatize brilliantly the questions every young person in every generation must resolve."
(WIKIPEDIA): James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 - September 30, 1955) was a two-time Oscar-nominated American film actor. Dean's status as a cultural icon is best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause, in which he starred as troubled stereotypical high school rebel Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his star power were as awkward Ioner Cal Trask in East of Eden, and as the surly farmer Jett Rink in Giant. His enduring fame and popularity rests on only three films, his entire starring output. His death at a young age helped guarantee a legendary status. He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have twp posthumous acting nominations (although other people had more than one posthumous nomination in other Oscar categories).
EARLY LIFE: James Dean was born to Winton Dean and ildred Wilson Dean at the "Seven Gables" apartment house, at the intersection of 4th and McClure Streets in Marion, Indiana. Six years after his father had left farming to become a dental technician, James and his family moved to Santa Monica, California. The family spent some years there, and by all accounts younf Jimmy was very close to his mother. According to Michael DeAngelis, she was "the only person capable of understanding him". He was enrolled in Brentwood Public School until his mother died of cancer in 1940. Unable to care for his nine-year-old son, Winton Dean sent the young James to live with Winton's sister Ortense and her husband Marcus Winslow on a farm in Fairmont, Indiana, where he entered high school and was brought up with a Quaker background. Here Dean sought the counsel of, and formed an enduring friendship with, Methodist pastor Rev. James DeWeerd. DeWeerd seemed to have had a formative influence upon the teenager, especially upon his future interests in bullfighting, car racing, and the theater. According to Billy J. Harbin, "Dean had an intimate relationship with his pastor...which began in his senior year of high school and 'endured for many years." In high school, Dean's overall performance was mediocre, but he successfully played on the baseball and basketball teams and studied forensics and drama. After graduating from Fairmont High School on May 16, 1949, Dean moved back to California with his beagle, Max, to live with his father and step-mother. He enrolled in Santa Monica College (SMCC) and majored in pre-law. Dean transferred to UCLA and changed his major to drama, which resulted in estrangement from his father. He pledged the Sigma Nu fraternity but was never initiated. Whie at UCLA, he beat out 350 actors to land the role of Malcolm in Macbeth. At that time, he also began acting with James Whitmore's acting workshop. In January 1951, he dropped out of college topusue a full-time career as an actor.
ACTING CAREER: Dean's first television appearance was in a Pepsi Cola television commercial. He quit college to act full time and was cast as John the Beloved Disciple in "Hill Number One", an Easter television special, and three walk-on roles in movies, Fixed Bayonets, Sailor Beware, and Has Anybody Seen My Gal. His only speaking part was in Sailor Beware, a Paramount comedy starring Dean Martin and Jery Lewis; Dean played a boxing trainer. While struggling to get jobs in Hollywood, Dean also worked as a parking lot attendant at CBS Studios, during which time he met Rogers Brackett, a radio director for an advertising agency, who offered Dean profesional help and guidance in his chosen career, as well as a place to stay.
In October 1951, following actor James Whitmore's and his mentor Rogers Brackett's advice, Dean moved to New York City. In New York he worked as a stunt tester for the Beat the Clock game show. He also appeared in episodes of several CBS television series, The Web, Studio One, and Lux Video Theater, before gaining admission to the legendary Actor's Studio to study Method acting under Lee Strasberg. Proud of this accomplishment, Dean referred to the Studio in a 1952 letter to his family as "The greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Arthur Kennedy, Mildred Dunnock....Very few get into it...It is the best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to belong."His career picked up and he performed in further epiosodes of such early 1950's television shows as Kraft Television Theater, Robert Montgomery Presents, Danger and General Electric Theater. One early role, for the CBS series, Omnibus, (Glory in the Flower) saw Dean portraying the same type of disaffected youth he would later immortalize in Rebel Without a Cause (this summer, 1953 program was also notable for featuring the song "Crazy Man, Crazy", one of the first dramatic TV programs to feature rock and roll music). Positive reviews for his 1954 theatrical role as "Bachir", a pandering North African houseboy, in an adaptation of Andre Gide's book The Immoralist, led to calls from Holywood.
EAST OF EDEN: 1955 film
In 1953, director Elia Kazan was looking for an actor to play the role of "Cal Trask" in screenwriter Paul Osborn's adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1952 novel East of Eden. The book dealt with the story of the Trask and Hamilton families over the course of three generations, focusing especially on the lives of the latter two generations in Salinas Valley, California in the mid-1800s through the 1910s. However, the film chose to deal predominantly with the character of Cal Trask, who is essentially the rebel son of a pious and constantly disapproving father (played by Raymond Massey), and estranged mother, whom Cal discovers is a brothel-keeping madam (Jo Van Fleet). Elia Kazan said of Cal before casting, "I wanted a Brando for the role." Osborn suggested to Kazan that he consider Dean for the part. After introducing Dean to Steinbeck, and gaining his enthusiastic approval, Kazan set about putting the wheels in motion to cast the relatively unknown young actor in the role. On March 8, 1954, Dean left New York City and headed for Los Angeles to begin shooting. Dean's performance in the film foreshadowed his role as Jim Stark in Rebel Without A Cause. Both characters are rebel loners and misunderstood outcasts, desperately craving parental guidance from a father figure.
Much of Dean's performance in the film is completely unscripted, such as his dance in the bean field and his curling up and pulling his arms inside of his shirt on top of the train during his ride home from meeting his mother. The most famous improvisation during the film was when Cal's father rejects his gift of $5,000 (which was in reparation for his father's business loss). Instead of running away from his father as the script called for, Dean instinctively turned to Massey and, crying, embraced him. This cut Massey's shocked reaction were kept in the film by Kazan.
At the 1955 Academy Awards, he received a posthumous Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award nomination for this role, the first official posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history. (Jeanne Eagels was unofficially nominated for Best Actress in 1929, when the rules for selection of the winner were different.)
REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE: Dean quickly followed up his role in Eden with a starring role in Rebel Without A Cause, a film that would prove to be hugely popular among teenagers. The film is widely cited as an accurate representation of teenage angst. It co-starred Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, and was directed by Nicholas Ray.
GIANT: Giant, which was posthumously released in 1956, saw Dean play a supporting role to Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. This was due to his desire to avoid being typecastas Jim Stark and Cal Trask. In the film, he plays Jett, an oil rich Texan. His role was notable in that, in order to portray an older version of his character in one scene, Dean dyed his hair gray and shaved some of it off to give himself a receding hairline.
Giant would be Dean's last film. At the end of the film, Dean is supposed to make a drunken speech at a banquet; this is nicknamed the "Last Supper" because it was the last scene before his sudden and horrible death. Dean mumbled so much that the scene had to later be re-recorded by his co-star because Dean had died before the film was edited.
Coincidentally, the #1 pop song in the US at the time of Dean's death, "The Yellow Rose of Texas" by Mitch Miller, was also featured in "Giant" in a scene followig the actor's last appearance in the film described above.
At the 1956 Academy Awards, Dean received his second posthumous Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Giant.
RACING CAREER AND "LITTLE BASTARD" : When Dean got the part in East of Eden, he bought himself a red race-prepared MG TD and shortly afterwards, a white Ford Country Squire Woodie station wagon. Dean upgraded his MG to a Porsche 356 Speedster (Chassis number: 82621), which he raced. Dean came in second in the Palm Springs Road Races in March 1955 after a driver was disqualified; he came in third in May 1955 at Bakersfield and was running fourth at the Santa Monica Road Races later that month, until he retired with an engine failure.
During filming of Rebel Without a Cause, Dean traded the 356 Speedster in for one of only 90 Porsche 550 Spyders. He was contractually barred from racing during the filming of Giant, but with that out of the way, he was free to compete again. The Porsche was in fact a stopgap for Dean, as delivery of a superior Lotus Mk. X was delayed and he needed a car to compete at the races in Salinas, California.
Dean's 550 was customized by George Barris, who would go on to design the Batmobile. Dean's Porsche was numbered 130 at the front, side and back. The car had a tartan on the seating and two red stripes at the rear of its wheelwell. The car was given the nickname "Little Bastard" by Bill Hickman, his language coach on Giant. Dean asked custom car painter and pin striper Dean Jeffries to paint "Little Bastard" on the car. When Dean introduced himself to Alec Guinness outside a restaurant , he asked him to take a look at the Spyder. Guinness thought the car appeared "sinister" and told Dean: "If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next week." This encounter took place on September 23, 1955, seven days before Dean's death.
DEATH: On September 30, 1955, Dean and his mechanic Rolf Wutherich set off from Competition Motors, where they had prepared his Porsche 550 Spyder that morning for a sports car race at Salins, California. Dean originally intended to trailor the Porsche to the meeting point at Salinas, behind his new Ford Country Squire station wagon, crewed by Hickman and photographer Stanford Roth, who was planning a photo story of Dean at the races. At the last minute, Dean drove the Spyder, having decided he needed more time to familiarize himself with the car. At 3:30 PM, Dean was ticketed in Kern County for doing 65 in a 55 mph zone. The driver of the Ford was ticketed for doing 10 mph over the limit, as the speed limit for all vehicles towing a trailer was 45 mph. Later, having left the Ford far behind, they stopped at Blackwell's Corner in Lost Hills for fuel and me up with fellow racer Lance Reventlow.
Dean was driving west on U.S. Route 466 (later State Route 46) near Cholame, California when a black-and-white 1950 Ford Custom Tudor coupe, driven from the opposite direction by 23-year-old Cal Poly student Donald Turnupseed, attempted to take the fork onto State Route 41 and crossed into Dean's lane without seeing him. Thw two cars hit almost head on. According to a story in the October 1, 2005 edition of the Los Angles Times, California Highway Patrol officer Ron Nelson and his partner had been finishing a coffee break in Paso Robles when they were called to the scene of an accident, where they saw a heavily-breathing Dean being placed into an ambulance. Wutherich had been thrown from the car, but survived with a broken jaw and other injuries. Dean was taken to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced ded on arrival at 5:59 p.m. His last known words, uttered right before impact, were said to have been "That guy's gotta stop...He'll see us."
Contrary to reports of Dean's speeding, which persisted decades after his death, Nelson said "the wreckage and the position of Dean's body indicated his speed was more like 55 mph (88 km/h)." Turnupseed received a gashed forehead and bruised nose and was not cited by police for the accident. Rolf Wutherich would die in a road accident in Germany in 1981 after surviving several suicide attempts.
While completing Giant, and to promote Rebel Without a Cause, Dean filmed a short interview with actor Gig Young for an episode of Warner Bros. Presents in which Dean, instead of saying the popular phrase "The life you save may be yur own" instead ab-libbed "The lives you might save might be mine." Dean's sudden death prmpted the studio to re-film the section, and the piece was never aired - though in the past several sources have referred to the footage, mistakenly identifying it as a public service announcement. (The segment can, however, be viewed on both the 2001 VHS and 2005 DVD editions of Rebel Without a Cause).
William Bast identifies a potentially bipolar depression in James Dean's erractic behavior and mood swings. In his description of their relationsip, Dean emerges as a character very much torn apart between wanting to reach out (to Bast) and needing protection against possible rejections or wanting to hide any supposed weakness. Shortly before his death, Dean also gave away his pet kitten Marcus, saying: "I figured, I might go out some night and just never come home." Bast also repeatedly observed Dean's heavy use of alcohol and drugs during the filming of Rebel Without a Cause.
MEMORIAL: James Dean is buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana. In 1977, a Dean memorial was built in Cholame, California. The stylized sculpture is composed of concrete and tainless steel around a tree of heaven growing in front of the Cholame post office. The sculpture was madein Japan and transported to Chalome, accompanied by the project's benefactor, Seita Ohnishi. Ohnishi chose the site after examing the location of the accident, now little more than a few road signs and flashing yellow signals. In September, 2005, the intersection of Highway 41 nd 46 in Chalome (San Luis Obispo county) was dedicated as the James Dead Memorial Highway as part of the commemmoration of the 50th anniversary of his death.
The dates and hours of Dean's birth and death are etched into the sculpture, along with a handwritten description by Dean 's close friend, William Bast, of one of Dean's favorite from Antoine de Saint-Exupery's The Little Prince-- "What is essential is invisible to the eye."
James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were as loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955), and as the surly farmer Jett Rink in Giant (1956). Dean's enduring fame and popularity rests on only these three films, his entire output being in starring roles. His death in a car crash at an early age cemented his legendary status.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) -------------------- James Dean appeared in only a handful of films, the best-known being East of Eden (1955, from the novel by John Steinbeck), Rebel Without a Cause (1955, with Natalie Wood) and Giant (1956, with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson). Thrust into stardom almost immediately after his first big role, Dean was a sexually ambiguous, sensitively intelligent Angry Young Man whose dramatic intensity lit up a generation of filmgoers. His untimely death, in a high-speed car crash, guaranteed his canonization as a tragic American cinema legend. Besides his three "big" pictures, Dean had bit parts in the movies Fixed Bayonets (1951), Sailor Beware (1951, with Jerry Lewis) and Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952, with Rock Hudson); according a timeline on the official site of Dean's estate, he also worked as an extra in Trouble Along the Way, a 1953 film starring John Wayne as a college football coach.
James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were as loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955), and as the surly farmer Jett Rink in Giant (1956). Dean's enduring fame and popularity rests on only these three films, his entire output being in starring roles. His death in a car crash at an early age cemented his legendary status.[original research?]
He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Dean the 18th best male movie star on their AFI's 100 Years…100 Stars list.
James Dean's Timeline
February 8, 1931
Marion, Grant, Indiana, USA
September 30, 1955
Cholame, San Luis Obispo, California, USA