Who knows James Dean?
December 18, 2006 6:05pm CST
I have been researching his life and watching classical movies star by James Dean for the past 2 years. I like him, I think he's an extraordinary actor and an artist. There are only few actors of today who will be compared to him. 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 and Jerry Lewis 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' 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.