Profile of the Day: James Dean

Posted February 8, 2023 by Amanda | No Comment

On this day in 1931, actor James Dean was born in Marion, Indiana. The Rebel Without a Cause star’s life was cut short when he died at the age of 24 in a car accident.

Image: James Dean / Wikimedia Commons

Dean was the only child born to Winton Dean and Mildred Marie Wilson. After his mother died of uterine cancer when he was nine years old, Dean was sent to live with an aunt and uncle on their farm in Fairmount, Indiana. A childhood accident on the farm knocked out two of his front teeth, leaving him to wear false teeth for the rest of his life.

He made his first television appearance in a Pepsi commercial and soon after, dropped out of college to pursue acting full time. Before his sudden death, Dean had only starred in three movies. East of Eden, which propelled him to stardom, would be the only film to be released during his lifetime. He would become the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for his performance.

Dean died on September 30, 1955 in a car accident while driving his new Porsche Spyder. Just two hours before his death, he had received a ticket for speeding.

His death cemented his place in history as a cultural icon. His last two films, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, were released after his death. Dean earned a second Academy Award nomination for Giant, making him the only actor to receive two posthumous nominations.

Explore James Dean’s family tree on Geni and share how you’re related!

View James Dean’s Geni Profile

Post written by Amanda

Amanda is the Marketing Communications Manager at Geni. If you need any assistance, she will be happy to help!

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