James Dean was a famous American actor in the 19th century, and up to this very moment, he remains an icon. Although his time as an actor didn’t reach a decade due to his sudden death, it was enough to make a name for himself.
Born with good looks and amazing talent, James Dean became famous after appearing in the 1955 drama film Rebel Without a Cause.
Although the actor didn’t live long, it’s worth knowing about his journey and experiences.
Who was James Dean?
Born on February 8, 1931, James Byron Dean, more popularly known as James Dean, was an actor and motorsport racer. He died on September 30, 1955, due to a car accident. He was just 24 years old at the time of his demise.
James lost his mother to cancer when he was only nine years old. Believing it was a painful experience for him at such a tender age, his father sent him to Indiana to live with his aunt and uncle in their rural Quaker home.
The young James attended Fairmont High School, where he played on the varsity basketball team and drama. After graduating in 1949, he moved back to his father and stepmother in California.
While James was in California, he applied to Santa Monica College. He studied pre-law but realized that was not his calling. James later transferred to UCLA and changed his major to drama. He joined James Whitmore’s workshop and got the opportunity to act in the movie Macbeth.
Realizing he wanted to become a full-time actor, James chose to drop out of school and pursue his Hollywood dreams.
Why Do People Love James Dean?
James Dean was a big star then, but one could say he was on his way to even bigger stardom. After all, he was and still is a celebrated icon. James Dean is the first official posthumous Oscar nominee and the only person to have received two posthumous acting nominations.
Aside from his acting skills, people love James Dean generally because of his gorgeous looks. He stole many hearts when he appeared on the screen, such as when he acted in the movie Rebel Without a Cause as a young teenager who yearns for love and freedom. While he had been laid to rest for over 60 years, he remains alive in the heart of his fans — old and new.
Who are James Dean’s Parents?
James Dean was the only child of his parents. His father, Winton Dean, was a dental technician at a hospital in Santa Monica, California. His mother, Mildred Wilson, died from cancer when James was nine. According to reports, James was very close to his mother, as she was the only person capable of understanding him.
His mother wanted him to be a performer, so she introduced him to tap dancing and violin. Unfortunately, she didn’t live long enough to watch her son grow into the person she wanted him to be.
After her mother’s death, James’ father sent him to Indiana to live with his aunt Ortense and uncle Marcus.
What Caused James Dean’s Death?
Aside from acting, James Dean was also into car racing. If he wasn’t on set, he was racing with friends and colleagues. His untimely death caused many broken hearts in their generation. The young actor died at the young age of 24, while his new movies were still in production.
On September 30, 1955, James was spotted driving his Porsche 550 Spyder with his friend Rolf Wütherich near Cholame, California, when they had a crash with a Cal Poly student, Donald Turnupseed. His friend, Rolf, who was in the passenger’s seat, was thrown out of the car while James remained trapped in the Porsche. James sustained internal and external injuries and a broken neck.
Donald Turnupseed, on the other hand, didn’t get as severely injured as James and Rolf.
James Dean was pronounced dead on arrival at 6:20 p.m. by the emergency room physician at the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital. His funeral took place at the Fairmount Friends Church in Fairmount, Indiana, on October 8, 1955, and was buried in the nearby Park Cemetery.
Was James Dean Ever Married?
James Dean’s sexuality had been a matter of debate. Rumors have it that his first sexual experience was when a minister seduced him during his teenage years.
However, reports cited that the actor was in love with Pier Angeli, an Italian actress he met on a movie set while visiting a friend. The couple had plans to get married, but Pier Angeli’s mother was against it. Pier’s mother didn’t want her to marry James because he wasn’t a Catholic. So, the two parted ways, and Pier went ahead and married Vic Damone, who was also an actor.