|Much like Elvis, James Dean
had a impact on the lives of many us who grew up in the fifties.
James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in an apartment house in
His father, a dental technician,
moved the family to Los Angeles when James was 5 years old.
his mother died of cancer in
1940, he returned to Indiana and he was raised by his aunt and uncle on a farm in Fairmount, Indiana.
Even though, he lived a very short life, he made a total
of ten films and was twice nominated for an Oscar. The number
one song in the US at the time of Dean's death was the Yellow
Rose of Texas which was
featured in Giant in a scene following the actor's last
appearance in that film.
James Dean's first starring role was in the 1955 film East of Eden, an adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1952 novel. Ironically, this was the only movie in which he starred that he ever saw released. Dean quickly followed up his role in East of Eden with a starring role in Rebel Without a Cause. Rebel Without a Cause was a huge favorite of teenagers all across the country.
He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. At the 1955 Academy Awards, he received a posthumous Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role in East of Eden. At the 1956 Academy Awards, he received his second posthumous Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Giant.
Two weeks after shooting his last scene in Giant, James Dean was killed in a tragic accident on September 30, 1955. He was on his way to compete in a race in Salinas, CA when a college student from Cal Tech turned into the path of his Porche Spyder 550. James Dean died on impact at the age of 24. He is buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana.
James Dean became an American Legend of rebellion for teens of the 50s as well as future generations. He became a Hollywood legend portraying moody, sensitive and often rebellious characters. He represented the misunderstood teens of the 1950s. His name is instantly linked to rebellion which may explain why his legend has endured for over 50 years. He continues to be idolized by teenagers all over the world as a symbol of eternal youth!