24 (passed away Sep. 30th, 1955)
Feb. 8th, 1931
Marion, Indiana, USA
James Dean's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1957 - The James Dean Story
1956 - Giant
1955 - East of Eden
1955 - Rebel Without a Cause
1952 - Deadline - U.S.A.
1952 - Sailor Beware
1951 - Fixed Bayonets!
1951 - The Day the Earth Stood Still
Guest TV Roles
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 Dean Martin (I) and Jerry Lewis (I) 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 Seen My Gal (1952). 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 (I)' filming of Edna Ferber's Giant (1956), 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 in Cholame, California. He had received a speeding ticket just two hours before. His very brief career, violent death and highly publicized funeral transformed him into a cult object of apparently timeless fascination.
- Cousin of 'Marcus Winslow Jr.' (qv)
- 'Elia Kazan' (qv), in his 1988 autobiography "A Life", says that during the production of _East of Eden (1955)_ (qv), he had to have Dean move into a bungalow near his on the Warner Bros. lot to keep an eye on him, so wild was his nightlife.
- 'Eagles' (qv) penned a lyric about him that went: "Too fast to live, too young to die."
- He was descended largely from early British settlers to America.
- Like his hero 'Marlon Brando' (qv) (Dean had been separated from his own father as a child and was distant from him. Brando apparently served as a role model for Dean) Dean wanted to write. He told gossip columnist 'Hedda Hopper' (qv) that writing was his supreme ambition.
- Director 'Elia Kazan' (qv) did not believe that Dean would have been able to sustain the momentum of his career. He felt that Dean's career, had he lived, would have sputtered out, as he was not well-trained and relied too much on his instincts, as opposed to his idol 'Marlon Brando' (qv), who, contrary to what people believed, had been very well-trained by his acting teacher 'Stella Adler' (qv) and relied on that training to create his characters.
- His performance as Jim Stark in _Rebel Without a Cause (1955)_ (qv) is ranked #43 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
- According to 'Marlon Brando' (qv), Dean would often call him, leaving messages with Brando's answering service. Brando would sometimes listen, silently, as Dean instructed the service to have Brando call back. Brando, disturbed that Dean was copying his life-style (motorcyle, bongo drums) and acting techniques, did not return his calls. The two met at least three times: on the set of _East of Eden (1955)_ (qv); on the set of _Desirée (1954)_ (qv) and at a party, where Brando took Dean aside and told him he had emotional problems that required psychiatric attention.