James Dean 50th Anniversary


James Dean, American Icon

James Dean, American Icon

James Dean was born February 8 1931 to Winton and Mildred Dean in the small Midwestern town of Marion Indiana. Winton, his father and dental technician, moved the family to Los Angeles when Jimmy was only five after round tripping, to Indiana and back, and living with his extended family he would attend Santa Monica Junior College and UCLA with aspiration to becoming an actor.

James Dean began acting with occasional television commercials, and played several roles in films and on stage. In just more than a year, and in only three films, Dean became a widely admired screen personality, a classic characterization of the American youth of the mid-50′s, and a quintessence of the title of one of his film “Rebel Without A Cause.” James Dean had one of the most spectacularly brief careers of any screen star.

In the winter of 1951, he moved to New York to pursue a serious acting career. He appeared in seven television shows, before earning a small part in the play entitled See the Jaguar. James continued at the Actors Studio, played short stints in television dramas, and returned to Broadway in “The Immoralist” (1954). After winning the role of Jim Stark in “Rebel Without A Cause,” he moved to Hollywood began shooting “Rebel Without A Cause” that same month just as his previous movie “East of Eden” opened nationwide in April. James Dean was nominated for two Academy Awards, for his performances in “East of Eden” and “Giant.” Joe Hyams, in the James Dean biography “Little Boy Lost,” is directly correlated with his career: En route to compete in an auto race in Salinas, James Dean was tragically killed in a highway accident on September 30, 1955.

It is said, “..There is no simple explanation for why he has come to mean so much to so many people today. Perhaps it is because, in his acting, he had the intuitive talent for expressing the hopes and fears that are a part of all young people… In some movie magic way, he managed to dramatize brilliantly the questions every young person in every generation must resolve.” The brilliance of James Dean will never be forgotten.

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