The Death of James Dean by Warren Newton BeathJust before sunset on September 20, 1955, James Byron Deans Porsche 550 Spyder collided with Donald Gene Turnupseeds Ford Tudor on California Highway 46. At age twenty-four, Americas newest screen idol was dead. What really happened? Drawing on the inquest manuscript and other previously unpublished material, Warren Beath cuts through the welter of conflicting reports and rumors to provide a taut reconstruciton of Deans final hours. In addition, Beath has explored every nook and cranny of the Dean legend, and his book is studded with fascinating asides: Elvis Presleys worship of Dean, Deans strange friendship with Maila Nurmi; TVs Vampyra and star of the gloriously execrable Plan 9 From Outer Space; Hitchcocks use of Highway 46 in the famous crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest; death threats against Giant director George Stevens if he dared excise so much as a single frame of Deans performance. Beaths definitive account of James Deans death concludes with a memorable portrait of the James Dean cult, a strangely moving record of his posthumous life in the hearts of his adoring fans.
Jimmy Dean was born on August 10, , in Olton, Texas. He first performed publicly with a band called the Tennessee Haymakers. While with the Texas Wildcats, he scored a record deal with Four Star records and, in , his first single became a Top 10 hit. Dean became a co-star in several film and television vehicles. He likewise continued to pursue music, opening a hog-butchering business as well. He died on June 13, , in Varina, Virginia.
Although he made few films before his death in a car accident at age 24, his performances, perhaps most notably in Rebel Without a Cause , have proved enduring. Following the death of his mother four years later, Dean returned to Indiana where he was reared on a farm by an aunt and uncle. He moved back to California after high school to study theatre for two years at the University of California at Los Angeles. His first professional acting assignment was for a soft drink commercial, which led to a speaking role as John the Baptist in the television Easter special Hill Number One On the set, Dean perpetuated his reputation for constantly changing his character interpretation and line readings and for deliberately baiting and challenging his fellow actors, including Julie Harris , Raymond Massey , and Burl Ives. When East of Eden premiered, however, Dean was seen as a movie star of the first magnitude and was nominated for an Academy Award ; it was the first acting nomination to be granted posthumously.
Dean had previously competed in several auto racing events, and was traveling to a sports car racing competition when his car crashed at the junction of California State Route 46 former and California State Route He was 24 years old.
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James Dean (Rarely Seen Footage) Sentence of Death
James Dean was born on February 8, , in Marion, Indiana. In early autumn , Dean was killed in a car crash, quickly becoming an enduring film icon whose legacy has endured for decades. His final film Giant , was also released posthumously. Dean's father left farming to become a dentist and moved the family to Santa Monica, California, where Dean attended Brentwood Public School. Several years later, Dean's mother, whom he was very close to, died of cancer, and Dean's father sent him back to Indiana to live on his aunt and uncle's Quaker farm. During this time, Dean sought counsel from his pastor, the Rev. James DeWeerd, who influenced his later interest in car racing and theater.
He is remembered as a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark. After his death in a car crash ,  Dean became the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor , and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations. He was primarily of English descent, with smaller amounts of German, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry. He also claimed that his father was partly Native American, and that his mother belonged to a "line of original settlers that could be traced back to the Mayflower ". According to Michael DeAngelis, she was "the only person capable of understanding him".
In September , actor James Dean was driving his brand-new Porsche Spyder to an auto rally in Salinas, California, when he was involved in a head-on collision with a Ford Tudor. James Dean, only 24 years old, died in the crash. Although already famous for his role in "East of Eden," his death and the release of "Rebel Without a Cause" caused James Dean to soar to cult status. James Dean, forever frozen as the talented, misunderstood, rebellious youth remains the symbol of teenage angst. James Dean had appeared in a number of television shows before getting his big break in when he was chosen to play Cal Trask, the leading male role in the film "East of Eden" This was the only one of Dean's films released before his death. Immediately following the filming for "Rebel Without a Cause," Dean played the lead role in "Giant"