James Dean in 1955
February 8, 1931|
Marion, Indiana, U.S.
|Died||September 30, 1955
Cholame, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Car accident|
|Resting place||Park Cemetery, Fairmount, Indiana, U.S.|
James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American actor. 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 (1955), in which he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955) and surly ranch hand Jett Rink in Giant (1956).
Dean's premature death in a car crash cemented his legendary status. He 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. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him the 18th best male movie star of Golden Age Hollywood in AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars list.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Acting career
- 3 Personal life
- 4 Death
- 5 Legacy and iconic status
- 6 Stage
- 7 Filmography
- 8 Biographical films
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
James Dean was born February 8, 1931, at the Seven Gables apartment on the corner of 4th Street and McClure Street in Marion, Indiana, the only child of Winton Dean (January 17, 1908 – February 21, 1995) and Mildred Marie Wilson (September 15, 1910 – July 14, 1940). His parents were of mostly English ancestry, with smaller amounts of German, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. Six years after his father had left farming to become a dental technician, Dean and his family moved to Santa Monica, California. He was enrolled at Brentwood Public School in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, but transferred soon afterward to the McKinley Elementary School. The family spent several years there, and by all accounts, Dean was very close to his mother. According to Michael DeAngelis, she was "the only person capable of understanding him". In 1938, she was suddenly struck with acute stomach pain and quickly began to lose weight. She died of uterine cancer when Dean was nine years old.
Unable to care for his son, Dean's father sent him to live with Dean's aunt Ortense and her husband, Marcus Winslow, on a farm in Fairmount, Indiana, where he was raised in their Quaker household. Dean's father served in World War II and later remarried. In his adolescence, Dean sought the counsel and friendship of a local Methodist pastor, the Rev. James DeWeerd, who seems to have had a formative influence upon Dean, especially upon his future interests in bullfighting, car racing, and theater. According to Billy J. Harbin, Dean had "an intimate relationship with his pastor, which began in his senior year of high school and endured for many years". Their alleged sexual relationship was suggested in the 1994 book Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean by Paul Alexander. In 2011, it was reported that Dean once confided in Elizabeth Taylor that he was sexually abused by a minister approximately two years after his mother's death. Other reports on Dean's life also suggest that he was either sexually abused by DeWeerd as a child or had a sexual relationship with him as a late teenager.
Dean's overall performance in school was exceptional and he was a popular student. He played on the baseball and varsity basketball teams, studied drama, and competed in public speaking through the Indiana High School Forensic Association. After graduating from Fairmount High School in May 1949, Dean moved back to California with his dog, Max, to live with his father and stepmother. He enrolled in Santa Monica College (SMC) and majored in pre-law. He transferred to UCLA for one semester and changed his major to drama, which resulted in estrangement from his father. He pledged the Sigma Nu fraternity but was never initiated. While at UCLA, Dean was picked from a group of 350 actors to portray Malcolm in Macbeth. At that time, he also began acting in James Whitmore's workshop. In January 1951, he dropped out of UCLA to pursue a full-time career as an actor.
Dean's first television appearance was in a Pepsi Cola commercial. He quit college to act full-time and was cast in his first speaking part, as John the Beloved Disciple, in Hill Number One, an Easter television special dramatizing the Resurrection of Jesus. Dean worked at the widely filmed Iverson Movie Ranch in the Chatsworth area of Los Angeles during production of the program, for which a replica of the tomb of Jesus was built on location at the ranch. Dean subsequently obtained three walk-on roles in movies: as a soldier in Fixed Bayonets!, a boxing cornerman in Sailor Beware, and a youth in Has Anybody Seen My Gal?
While struggling to get jobs in Hollywood, Dean also worked as a parking lot attendant at CBS Studios, during which time he met Rogers Brackett, a radio director for an advertising agency, who offered him professional help and guidance in his chosen career, as well as a place to stay. In July 1951, Dean appeared on Alias Jane Doe, which was produced by Brackett. In October 1951, following the encouragement of actor James Whitmore and the advice of his mentor Rogers Brackett, Dean moved to New York City. There, he worked as a stunt tester for the game show Beat the Clock, but was subsequently fired for allegedly performing the tasks too quickly. He also appeared in episodes of several CBS television series The Web, Studio One, and Lux Video Theatre, before gaining admission to the Actors Studio to study method acting under Lee Strasberg.
Proud of this accomplishment, Dean referred to the Actors Studio in a 1952 letter to his family as "the greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Arthur Kennedy, Mildred Dunnock, Eli Wallach... Very few get into it ... It is the best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to belong." There, he was classmates and close friends with Carroll Baker, alongside whom he would eventually star in Giant (1956). Dean's career picked up and he performed in further episodes of such early 1950s television shows as Kraft Television Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, The United States Steel Hour, Danger, and General Electric Theater. One early role, for the CBS series Omnibus in the episode "Glory in the Flower", saw Dean portraying the type of disaffected youth he would later portray in Rebel Without a Cause. This summer 1953 program was also notable for featuring the song "Crazy Man, Crazy", one of the first dramatic TV programs to feature rock and roll. Positive reviews for Dean's 1954 theatrical role as Bachir, a pandering North African houseboy, in an adaptation of André Gide's book The Immoralist, led to calls from Hollywood.
East of Eden
In 1953, director Elia Kazan was looking for a substantive actor to play the emotionally complex role of 'Cal Trask', for screenwriter Paul Osborn's adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1952 novel East of Eden. The lengthy novel deals with the story of the Trask and Hamilton families over the course of three generations, focusing especially on the lives of the latter two generations in Salinas Valley, California, from the mid-19th century through the 1910s. In contrast to the book, the film script focused on the last portion of the story, predominantly with the character of Cal. Though he initially seems more aloof and emotionally troubled than his twin brother Aron, Cal is soon seen to be more worldly, business savvy, and even sagacious than their pious and constantly disapproving father (played by Raymond Massey) who seeks to invent a vegetable refrigeration process. Cal is bothered by the mystery of their supposedly dead mother, and discovers she is still alive and a brothel-keeping 'madam'; the part was played by actress Jo Van Fleet.
Before casting Cal, Elia Kazan said that he wanted "a Brando" for the role and Osborn suggested the relatively unknown young actor, James Dean. Dean met with Steinbeck, who did not like the moody, complex young man personally, but thought him to be perfect for the part. Dean was cast in the role and on April 8, 1954, left New York City and headed for Los Angeles to begin shooting.
Much of Dean's performance in the film is unscripted, including his dance in the bean field and his fetal-like posturing while riding on top of a train boxcar (after searching out his mother in nearby Monterey). The most famous improvisation of the film occurs when Cal's father rejects his gift of $5,000, money Cal earned by speculating in beans before the US became involved in World War I. Instead of running away from his father as the script called for, Dean instinctively turned to Massey and in a gesture of extreme emotion, lunged forward and grabbed him in a full embrace, crying. Kazan kept this and Massey's shocked reaction in the film. Dean's performance in the film foreshadowed his role as Jim Stark in Rebel Without A Cause. Both characters are angst-ridden protagonists and misunderstood outcasts, desperately craving approval from a father figure.
In recognition of his performance in East of Eden, Dean was nominated posthumously for the 1956 Academy Awards as Best Actor in a Leading Role of 1955, the first official posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history. (Jeanne Eagels was nominated for Best Actress in 1929, when the rules for selection of the winner were different.) East of Eden was the only film starring Dean that he would see released in his lifetime.
Rebel Without a Cause
Dean quickly followed up his role in Eden with a starring role as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, a film that would prove to be hugely popular among teenagers. The film has been cited as an accurate representation of teenage angst. It co-starred teen actors Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, and Dennis Hopper and was directed by Nicholas Ray.
Giant, which was posthumously released in 1956, saw Dean play a supporting role to Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. This was due to his desire to avoid being typecast as a rebellious teenager like Cal Trask or Jim Stark. In the film, he plays Jett Rink, a Texan ranch hand who strikes oil and becomes wealthy. His role was notable in that, in order to portray an older version of his character in the film's later scenes, Dean dyed his hair gray and shaved some of it off to give himself a receding hairline.
Giant would prove to be Dean's last film. At the end of the film, Dean was supposed to make a drunken speech at a banquet; this is nicknamed the 'Last Supper' because it was the last scene before his sudden death. Due to his desire to make the scene more realistic by actually being inebriated for the take, Dean mumbled so much that director George Stevens decided the scene had to be overdubbed by Nick Adams, who had a small role in the film, because Dean had died before the film was edited.
Screenwriter William Bast was one of Dean's closest friends, a fact acknowledged by Dean's family. According to Bast, who was also Dean's first biographer, (1956), he was Dean's roommate at UCLA and later in New York, and knew Dean throughout the last five years of his life. Fifty years after Dean's death, he stated that their friendship had included some sexual intimacy.
While at UCLA, Dean dated Beverly Wills, an actress with CBS, and Jeanette Lewis, a classmate. Bast and Dean often double-dated with them. Wills began dating Dean alone, later telling Bast, "Bill, there's something we have to tell you. It's Jimmy and me. I mean, we're in love.":71 They broke up after Dean "exploded" when another man asked her to dance while they were at a function: "Jimmy saw red. He grabbed the fellow by the collar and threatened to blacken both of his eyes," she said.:74 Dean had also remained in contact with his girlfriend in New York, Barbara Glenn, whom he dated for two years. Their love letters sold at auction in 2011 for $36,000.
Early in Dean's career, after Dean signed his contract with Warner Brothers, the studio's public relations department began generating stories about Dean's liaisons with a variety of young actresses who were mostly drawn from the clientele of Dean's Hollywood agent, Dick Clayton. Studio press releases also grouped Dean together with two other actors, Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter, identifying each of the men as an 'eligible bachelor' who has not yet found the time to commit to a single woman: "They say their film rehearsals are in conflict with their marriage rehearsals."
Dean's best-remembered relationship was with young Italian actress Pier Angeli, whom he met while Angeli was shooting The Silver Chalice (released in 1955) on an adjoining Warner lot, and with whom he exchanged items of jewelry as love tokens. Angeli, during an interview fourteen years after their relationship ended, described their times together:
We used to go together to the California coast and stay there secretly in a cottage on a beach far away from prying eyes. We'd spend much of our time on the beach, sitting there or fooling around, just like college kids. We would talk about ourselves and our problems, about the movies and acting, about life and life after death. We had a complete understanding of each other. We were like Romeo and Juliet, together and inseparable. Sometimes on the beach we loved each other so much we just wanted to walk together into the sea holding hands because we knew then that we would always be together.:196
In his autobiography, East of Eden, director Elia Kazan dismissed the notion that Dean could possibly have had any success with women, although he remembered hearing Dean and Angeli loudly making love in Dean's dressing room. Kazan has been quoted saying about Dean, "He always had uncertain relations with girlfriends."
Those who believed Dean and Angeli were deeply in love claim a number of forces led them apart. Angeli's mother disapproved of Dean's casual dress and what were, for her at least, radical behavior traits: his T-shirt attire, late dates, fast cars, and the fact that he was not a Catholic. Her mother said that such behavior was not acceptable in Italy. In addition, Warner Bros., where he worked, tried to talk him out of marrying and he himself told Angeli that he didn't want to get married.:197 Richard Davalos, Dean's East of Eden co-star, claimed that Dean wanted to marry Angeli and was willing to allow their children to be brought up Catholic.
After finishing his role for East of Eden, he took a brief trip to New York in October 1954.:197 While he was away, Angeli unexpectedly announced her engagement to Italian-American singer Vic Damone. The press was shocked and Dean expressed his irritation. Angeli married Damone the following month. Gossip columnists reported that Dean watched the wedding from across the road on his motorcycle, even gunning the engine during the ceremony, although Dean later denied doing anything so "dumb."
Some, like Bast and Paul Alexander, believe the relationship was a mere publicity stunt. Esme Chandlee, the publicist at Angeli's home studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer who had kept news of her love affair with Kirk Douglas under wraps, believed that Angeli had been more smitten with Kirk than Jimmy Dean.
Pier Angeli talked only once about the relationship in her later life in an interview, giving vivid descriptions of romantic meetings at the beach. Dean biographer John Howlett said these read like wishful fantasies, as Bast claims them to be. Joe Hyams, in his 1992 biography of Dean, claims that he visited Dean just as Angeli, then married to Damone, was leaving his home. Dean was crying and allegedly told Hyams she was pregnant, with Hyams concluding that Dean believed the child might be his.
Angeli, who divorced Damone and then her second husband, the Italian film composer Armando Trovajoli, was said by friends in the last years of her life to claim that Dean was the love of her life. She died from an overdose of barbiturates in 1971, at the age of 39. In 1997, the television movie Race with Destiny was produced, a true-story account of the love affair between Dean and Pier Angeli. It was shot on location "where he lived and loved" until his death.
Actress Liz Sheridan details her relationship with Dean in New York in 1952. Speaking of the relationship in 1996, she said that it was "just kind of magical. It was the first love for both of us." Sheridan published her memoir, Dizzy & Jimmy: My Life with James Dean; A Love Story in 2000.
Dean also dated Swiss actress Ursula Andress. "She was seen riding around Hollywood on the back of James's motorcycle," writes biographer Darwin Porter. She was also seen with Dean in his sports cars, and was with him on the day he bought the car that he died in. At the time, Andress was also dating Marlon Brando.
||This article appears to contradict the article Death of James Dean. (February 2016) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)|
Auto racing hobby
In 1954, Dean became interested in developing an auto racing career. He purchased various vehicles after filming for East of Eden had concluded, including a Triumph Tiger T110 and a Porsche 356. Just before filming began on Rebel Without a Cause, he competed in his first professional event at the Palm Springs Road Races, which was held in Palm Springs, California on March 26–27, 1955. Dean achieved first place in the novice class, and second place at the main event. His racing continued in Bakersfield a month later, where he finished first in his class and third overall. Dean hoped to compete in the Indianapolis 500, but his busy schedule made it impossible.
Dean's final race occurred in Santa Barbara on Memorial Day, May 30, 1955. He was unable to finish the competition due to a blown piston. His brief career was put on hold when Warner Brothers barred him from all racing during the production of Giant. Dean had finished shooting his scenes and the movie was in post-production when he decided to race again.
Accident and aftermath
Longing to return to the "liberating prospects" of motor racing, Dean was scheduled to compete at a racing event in Salinas, California on September 30, 1955. Accompanying the actor to the occasion was stunt coordinator Bill Hickman, Collier's photographer Sanford Roth, and Rolf Wütherich, the German mechanic from the Porsche factory who maintained Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder "Little Bastard" car. Wütherich, who had encouraged Dean to drive the car from Los Angeles to Salinas to break it in, accompanied Dean in the Porsche. At 3:30 p.m. Dean was ticketed for speeding, as was Hickman who was following behind in another car.
As the group traveled to the event via U.S. Route 466, (currently SR 46) at approximately 5:15 p.m. a 1950 Ford Tudor was passing through an intersection while turning, ahead of the Porsche. Dean, unable to stop in time, slammed into the driver's side of the Ford resulting in Dean's car bouncing across the pavement onto the side of the highway. Dean's passenger, Wütherich, was thrown from the Porsche, while Dean was trapped in the car and sustained numerous fatal injuries, including a broken neck. The driver of the Ford, Donald Turnupseed, exited his damaged vehicle with minor injuries. The accident was witnessed by a number of passersby who stopped to help. A woman with nursing experience attended to Dean and detected a weak pulse, but "death appeared to have been instantaneous". Dean was pronounced dead on arrival shortly after he arrived by ambulance at the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital at 6:20 p.m.
Though initially slow to reach newspapers in the Eastern United States, details of Dean's death rapidly spread via radio and television. By October 2, his death had received significant coverage from domestic and foreign media outlets. Dean's funeral was held on October 8, 1955 at the Fairmount Friends Church in Fairmount, Indiana. The coffin remained closed to conceal his severe injuries. An estimated 600 mourners were in attendance, while another 2400 fans gathered outside of the building during the procession. He is buried at Park Cemetery, Fairmount, Indiana, second road to the right from the main entrance, and up the hill on the right, facing the drive.
An inquest into Dean's death occurred three days later at the Paso Robles City Hall, where a coroner's jury delivered a verdict that he was entirely at fault due to speeding, and that Turnupseed was innocent of any criminal act. However, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times of October 1, 2005, a former California Highway Patrol officer who had been called to the scene, Ron Nelson, said the "wreckage and the position of Dean's body indicated his speed at the time of the accident was more like 55 mph".
Legacy and iconic status
In culture and media
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American teenagers of the mid-1950s, when James Dean's major films were made, identified with Dean and the roles he played, especially that of Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause. The film depicts the dilemma of a typical teenager of the time, who feels that no one, not even his peers, can understand him. Humphrey Bogart commented after Dean's death about his public image and legacy: "Dean died at just the right time. He left behind a legend. If he had lived, he'd never have been able to live up to his publicity."
Joe Hyams says that Dean was "one of the rare stars, like Rock Hudson and Montgomery Clift, whom both men and women find sexy". According to Marjorie Garber, this quality is "the undefinable extra something that makes a star." Dean's iconic appeal has been attributed to the public's need for someone to stand up for the disenfranchised young of the era, and to the air of androgyny that he projected onscreen. His estate still earns about $5,000,000 per year, according to Forbes Magazine.
James Dean has often been noted within television shows, films, books and novels. The film September 30, 1955 depicts the ways various characters in a small town react to Dean's death. The play Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (and its subsequent film adaptation) depicts a reunion of Dean fans on the 20th anniversary of his death. In an episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation, the character Liberty likens the rebellious, antisocial Sean Cameron to James Dean.
On April 20, 2010, a long "lost" live episode of the General Electric Theater called "The Dark, Dark Hours" featuring James Dean in a performance with Ronald Reagan was uncovered by NBC writer Wayne Federman while working on a Ronald Reagan television retrospective. The episode, originally broadcast December 12, 1954, drew international attention and highlights were featured on numerous national media outlets including: CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and Good Morning America. It was later revealed that some footage from the episode was first featured in the 2005 documentary, James Dean: Forever Young.
Today, Dean is often considered an icon because of his "experimental" take on life, which included his ambivalent sexuality. The Gay Times Readers' Awards cited him as the greatest male gay icon of all time. When questioned about his sexual orientation, Dean is reported to have said, "No, I am not a homosexual. But I'm also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back." Bast, Dean's first biographer, once said he and Dean "experimented" sexually, but without explaining, and in a later book describes the difficult circumstances of their involvement.
Journalist Joe Hyams suggests that any gay activity Dean might have been involved in appears to have been strictly "for trade", as a means of advancing his career. However, the "trade only" notion is contradicted by Bast and other Dean biographers. Aside from Bast's account of his own relationship with Dean, Dean's fellow motorcyclist and "Night Watch" member, John Gilmore, claimed that he and Dean "experimented" with gay sex on one occasion in New York, and it is difficult to see how Dean, then already in his twenties, would have viewed this as a "trade" means of advancing his career. James Bellah, the son of James Warner Bellah who was a friend of Dean's at UCLA, said "Dean was a user. I don't think he was homosexual. But if he could get something by performing an act...."
Rebel director Nicholas Ray is on record as saying that Dean was gay, while author John Howlett believes that Dean was "certainly bisexual". George Perry's biography attributes these reported aspects of Dean's sexuality to "experimentation". Martin Landau stated, "A lot of gay guys make him out to be gay. Not true." Mark Rydell stated, "I don't think he was essentially homosexual. I think that he had very big appetites, and I think he exercised them."
- The Metamorphosis (1952) – based on the short story by Franz Kafka
- The Scarecrow (1954)
- Women of Trachis (1954) – translation by Ezra Pound
|1951||Fixed Bayonets!||Doggie||Samuel Fuller||Uncredited|
|1952||Sailor Beware||Boxing Trainer||Hal Walker||Uncredited|
|1952||Deadline – U.S.A.||Copyboy||Richard Brooks||Uncredited|
|1952||Has Anybody Seen My Gal?||Youth at Soda Fountain||Douglas Sirk||Uncredited|
|1953||Trouble Along the Way||Football Spectator||Michael Curtiz||Uncredited|
|1955||East of Eden||Cal Trask||Elia Kazan||Golden Globe Special Achievement Award for Best Dramatic Actor
Jussi Award for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
|1955||Rebel Without a Cause||Jim Stark||Nicholas Ray||Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor|
|1956||Giant||Jett Rink||George Stevens||Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor, (final film role)|
|1951||Family Theater||John the Apostle||Episode: "Hill Number One: A Story of Faith and Inspiration"|
|1951||The Bigelow Theatre||Hank||Episode: "T.K.O."|
|1951||The Stu Erwin Show||Randy||Episode: "Jackie Knows All"|
|1952||CBS Television Workshop||G.I.||Segment: "Into the Valley"|
|1952||Hallmark Hall of Fame||Bradford||Episode: "Forgotten Children"|
|1952||The Web||Himself||Episode: "Sleeping Dogs"|
|1952–1953||Kraft Television Theatre||Various Characters||3 episodes|
|1952–1955||Lux Video Theatre||Various Characters||2 episodes|
|1953||The Kate Smith Hour||The Messenger||Episode: "The Hound of Heaven"|
|1953||You Are There||Robert Ford||Episode: "The Capture of Jesse James"|
|1953||Treasury Men in Action||Various Characters||2 episodes|
|1953||Tales of Tomorrow||Ralph||Episode: "The Evil Within"|
|1953||Westinghouse Studio One||Various Characters||3 episodes|
|1953||The Big Story||Rex Newman||Episode: "Rex Newman, Reporter for the Globe and News"|
|1953||Omnibus||Bronco Evans||Episode: "Glory in the Flower"|
|1953||Campbell Summer Soundstage||Various Characters||2 episodes|
|1953||Armstrong Circle Theatre||Joey Frasier||Episode: "The Bells of Cockaigne"|
|1953||Robert Montgomery Presents||Paul Zalinka||Episode: "Harvest"|
|1953–1954||Danger||Various Characters||4 episodes|
|1954||The Philco Television Playhouse||Rob||Episode: "Run Like a Thief"|
|1954||General Electric Theater||Various Characters||2 episodes|
|1955||The United States Steel Hour||Fernand Lagarde||Episode: "The Thief"|
|1955||Schlitz Playhouse||Jeffrey Latham||Episode: "The Unlighted Road"|
- James Dean also known as James Dean: Portrait of a Friend (1976) with Stephen McHattie as James Dean
- James Dean: The First American Teenager (1976), a television biography that includes interviews with Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and Nicholas Ray.
- Forever James Dean (1988), Warner Home Video (1995)
- James Dean: The Final Day features interviews with William Bast, Liz Sheridan and Maila Nurmi. Dean's bisexuality is openly discussed. Episode of Naked Hollywood television miniseries produced by The Oxford Film Company in association the BBC, aired in the US on the A&E Network, 1991.
- James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997) directed by Mardi Rustam, starring Casper Van Dien as James Dean.
- James Dean (fictionalized TV biographical film) (2001) with James Franco as James Dean
- James Dean – Outside the Lines (2002), episode of Biography, US television documentary includes interviews with Rod Steiger, William Bast, and Martin Landau (2002).
- Living Famously: James Dean, Australian television biography includes interviews with Martin Landau, Betsy Palmer, William Bast, and Bob Hinkle (2003, 2006).
- James Dean – Kleiner Prinz, Little Bastard aka James Dean – Little Prince, Little Bastard, German television biography, includes interviews with William Bast, Marcus Winslow Jr, Robert Heller (2005)
- Sense Memories (PBS American Masters television biography) (2005)
- James Dean – Mit Vollgas durchs Leben, Austrian television biography includes interviews with Rolf Weutherich and William Bast (2005).
- Two Friendly Ghosts (2012)
- Joshua Tree, 1951: a Portrait of James Dean (2012).
- Life (2015). Directed by Anton Corbijn, starring Dane DeHaan as James Dean.
- Obituary Variety, October 5, 1955.
- Goodman, Ezra (September 24, 1956). "Delirium over dead star". Life. Vol. 41 No. 13. pp. 75–88.
- David S. Kidder; Noah D. Oppenheim (14 October 2008). The Intellectual Devotional Modern Culture: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Converse Confidently with the Culturati. Rodale. p. 228. ISBN 978-1-60529-793-4. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
Dean was the first to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for acting and is the only actor to have received two such posthumous nominations.
- "AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars". American Film Institute.
- Chris Epting (1 June 2009). The Birthplace Book: A Guide to Birth Sites of Famous People, Places, & Things. Stackpole Books. p. 163. ISBN 978-0-8117-4018-0.
- George C. Perry (2005). James Dean. DK Publishing, Incorporated. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7566-0934-4.
- Michael DeAngelis (15 August 2001). Gay Fandom and Crossover Stardom: James Dean, Mel Gibson, and Keanu Reeves. Duke University Press. p. 97. ISBN 0-8223-2738-4.
- Val Holley (September 1991). James Dean: Tribute to a Rebel. Publications International. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-56173-148-0.
- Robert Tanitch (1997). The Unknown James Dean. Batsford. p. 114. ISBN 978-0-7134-8034-4.
- Marie Clayton (1 January 2004). James Dean: A Life in Pictures. Barnes and Noble Books. ISBN 978-0-7607-5614-0.
- Billy J. Harbin; Kim Marra; Robert A. Schanke (2005). The Gay & Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era. University of Michigan Press. pp. 133–134. ISBN 0-472-06858-X.
- See also Joe and Jay Hyams, James Dean: Little Boy Lost (1992), p.20, who present an account alleging Dean's molestation as a teenager by his early mentor DeWeerd and describe it as Dean's first homosexual encounter (although DeWeerd himself largely portrayed his relationship with Dean as a completely conventional one).
- Paul Alexander, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean, Viking, 1994, p. 44.
- Sessums, Kevin (March 23, 2011). "Elizabeth Taylor Interview About Her AIDS Advocacy". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 24, 2011.
- Michael Ferguson (2003). Idol Worship: A Shameless Celebration of Male Beauty in the Movies. STARbooks Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-1-891855-48-1.
- "Notable Actors | UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television". Tft.ucla.edu. 2010-02-11. Archived from the original on July 13, 2010. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
- Karen Clemens Warrick (2006). James Dean: Dream as If You'll Live Forever. Enslow Publishers, Inc. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-7660-2537-0.
- Richard Alleman (2005). Hollywood: The Movie Lover's Guide : The Ultimate Insider Tour To Movie Los Angeles. Broadway Books. p. 330. ISBN 978-0-7679-1635-6.
- Joyce Chandler (27 September 2007). James Dean: A Rebel with a Cause: A Fans Tribute. AuthorHouse. p. 73. ISBN 978-1-4670-9575-4.
- "The unseen James Dean". London: The Times. March 6, 2005. Retrieved January 6, 2010.
- "NOTABLE ALUMNI ACTORS". UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television. Retrieved September 29, 2014.
- "1950 Pepsi commercial". YouTube. 1950-12-13. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
- Tony Curtis (6 October 2009). American Prince: A Memoir. Crown Publishing Group. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-307-40856-3.
- R. Barton Palmer (2010). Larger Than Life: Movie Stars of the 1950s. Rutgers University Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-8135-4766-4.
- David Wallace (1 April 2003). Hollywoodland. Thorndike Press. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-7862-5203-9.
- Bast 2006
- On Dean's relationship with Brackett, see also Hyams, James Dean: Little Boy Lost, p.79.
- Warrick, Karen Clemens (2006). James Dean: Dream as If You'll Live Forever. Enslow Publishers, Inc. p. 140. ISBN 9780766025370. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
- On Dean's relationship with Brackett, see also Hyams, James Dean: Little Boy Lost, p. 79.
- David Dalton (2001). James Dean: The Mutant King : a Biography. Chicago Review Press. p. 79. ISBN 978-1-55652-398-4.
- Claudia Springer (17 May 2013). James Dean Transfigured: The Many Faces of Rebel Iconography. University of Texas Press. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-0-292-75288-7.
- Reise, R. The Unabridged James Dean, 1991
- Michael J. Meyer; Henry Veggian (2013). East of Eden.: New and Recent Essays. Rodopi. p. 168. ISBN 978-94-012-0968-7.
- Holley, pp. x–196.
- Perry, pp. 109–226.
- Rathgeb, Douglas L. (2004). The Making of Rebel Without a Cause. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. p. 20. ISBN 0786419768.
- Bruce Levene (1994). James Dean in Mendocino: The Filming of East of Eden. Pacific Transcriptions. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-933391-13-0.
- Perry 2005, p. 203
- Robert A. Osborne (1979). Academy Awards Oscar Annual. ESE California. p. 60.
- Lemire, Christy. "5 most memorable teen-angst movies". MSNBC.
- Perry, George, James Dean, London, New York: DK Publishing, 2005, p. 68 ("Authorized by the James Dean Estate")
- William Bast, James Dean: a Biography, New York: Ballantine Books, 1956
- Bast 2006, pp. 133, 183–232
- Dalton, David. James Dean: The Mutant King: A Biography, Chicago Review Press (1974) p. 151
- "For sale: James Dean's private letters to his girlfriend plus rare photos are up for grabs at auction", Mail Online, Sept. 13, 2011
- "James Dean – James Dean Letters Sell For $36,000", Contactmusic.com, Nov. 25, 2011
- Michael DeAngelis, Gay Fandom and Crossover Stardom: James Dean, Mel Gibson and Keanu Reeves, p. 98.
- "AFI Catalog of Feature Films: The Silver Chalice". Afi.com. American Film Institute. 2016. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved 18 June 2016.
- In his 1992 biography, James Dean: Little Boy Lost, Hollywood gossip columnist Joe Hyams, who claims to have known Dean personally, devotes an entire chapter to Dean's relationship with Angeli.
- Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. London, England: Omnibus Press. p. 31. ISBN 978-0711995123.
- Allen, Jane (2002). Pier Angeli: A Fragile Life. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. p. 93. ISBN 978-0786413928.
- Bast 2006, p. 196
- Alexander, Paul, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean, New York: Viking, 1994
- Bast 2006, p. 197
- John Howlett, James Dean: A Biography, Plexus 1997
- Greer, Germaine. "Mad about the boy". GuardianUK. The Guardian. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- ParanoidAndroidMarvin (October 3, 1997). "James Dean: Race with Destiny (TV Movie 1997)". IMDb.
- Brris, George. Barris TV and Movie Cars, MotorBooks International (1996) p. 112
- Liz Sheridan, Dizzy & Jimmy (ReganBooks HarperCollins, 2000), pp. 144–151.
- Lipton, Michael A. "An Affair to Remember; Seinfeld's Mom, Liz Sheridan, Calls Her 1952 Romance with James Dean". People. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
- Photo of James Dean and Ursula Andress dining out
- Porter, Darwin. Brando Unzipped, Blood Moon Productions, Ltd, (2006) p. 484
- Wasef and Leno (2007) pp. 13–19.
- Perry, p. 151.
- Raskin (2005) pp. 47–48; 68–71; 73–74; 78–81; 83–86
- Perry (2012) p. 162.
- "Racing Record". jamesdean.com. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- Raskin (2005) pp. 101–02.
- Raskin (2007) pp. 111–15.
- Perry (2012) pp. 11–12.
- Thomas Ammann; Stefan Aust (21 September 2012). Die Porsche-Saga: Geschichte einer PS-Dynastie. Bastei Entertainment. p. 233. ISBN 978-3-8387-1202-4.
- Middlecamp, David (30 September 2005). "Photos From the Vault". SanLuisObispo.com. San Luis Obispo Tribune. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- Keith Elliot Greenberg (1 August 2015). Too Fast to Live, Too Young to Die - James Dean's Final Hours: James Dean's Final Hours. Applause Theatre & Cinema Books. p. 144. ISBN 978-1-4950-5041-1.
- Perry (2012) pp. 14–15.
- Raskin (2005) p. 129.
- Perry (2012) pp. 194–95
- Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 11495-11496). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.
- Beath (2005) p. 164. "All conjecture was improper. The facts were that Jimmy had been in his proper lane, there was no evidence that his speed was a factor in the crash, and the other driver had crossed over into Jimmy's right of way."
- Perry (2012) pp. 197. "The jury's verdict flew in the face of the accepted logic of highway accidents, which holds that when a left turn is executed in the face of oncoming traffic it is the turning driver who is responsible should a collision occur."
- Paul G. Roberts (2 October 2014). Style Icons Vol 1 Golden Boys. Fashion Industry Broadcast. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-62776-032-4.
- Steve Chawkins (October 1, 2005). "Remembering a 'Giant' Fifty years after James Dean's death, fans gather at the site of his fatal crash.". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 25, 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
- "The James Dean Story: Introduction".
- Joe Hyams (1 January 1994). James Dean: Little Boy Lost. Grand Central Pub. p. 209. ISBN 978-0-446-36529-1.
- Marjorie B. Garber, Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life (2000), p.140. See also "Bisexuality and Celebrity." In Rhiel and Suchoff, The Seductions of Biography, p.18.
- Perry, G., James Dean, p. 204, New York, DK Publishing, Inc., 2005
- David Burner, Making Peace with the 60s (Princeton University Press, 1997), p.244.
- Lisa DiCarlo (October 25, 2004). "The Top Earners For 2004". Forbes. Retrieved February 24, 2006.
- "Rare Film of Ronald Reagan, James Dean Unearthed (April 21, 2010)". CBS News. 2010-04-21. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
- Robert Paul Metzger (1 January 1989). Reagan: American Icon. University of Pennsylvania Press. p. 106. ISBN 0-916279-05-7.
- "Brian Williams NBC News: The Daily Nightly (April 22, 2010)". Dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com. 1945-04-13. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
- Garry Wotherspoon and Robert F. Aldrich, Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History: from Antiquity to World War II (Routledge, 2001), p.105.
- Randall Riese (1991). The unabridged James Dean: his life and legacy from A to Z. McGraw-Hill/Contemporary. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-8092-4061-6.
- William Bast, James Dean: a Biography, New York: Ballantine Books, 1956.
- Riese, Randall, The Unabridged James Dean: His Life from A to Z, Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1991, pp. 41, 238
- Alexander, Paul, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean, New York: Viking, 1994, p. 87
- Bast 2006, pp. 133, 150, 183
- Donald Spoto, Rebel: The Life and Legend of James Dean (HarperCollins, 1996), pp.150–151. See also Val Holley, James Dean: The Biography, pp.6, 7, 8, 78, 80, 85, 94, 153.
- John Gilmore, Live Fast – Die Young: Remembering the Short Life of James Dean (New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 1998).
- "American Legends Interviews..... James Dean at UCLA".
- See Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel, Live Fast, Die Young – The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause.
- George Perry, James Dean, DK Publishing 2005
- "Martin Landau: From North by Northwest to Frankenweenie".
- "Friends, Family and Co-Stars Remember Actor James Dean".
- "James Dean at IMDB". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
- hotfriend1. "James Dean: The First American Teenager". IMDB. Retrieved April 25, 2011.
- "Forever James Dean at IMDB". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
- "Naked Hollywood at IMDB". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
- "James Dean at IMDB". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2014-07-11.
- ""Biography" James Dean: Outside the Lines (TV Episode 2002)". IMDb.
- ""Living Famously" James Dean (TV Episode 2003)". IMDb.
- "James Dean - Kleiner Prinz, little Bastard (TV Movie 2005)". IMDb. September 25, 2005.
- "Sense Memories at IMDB". Imdb.com. Retrieved 2010-10-16.
- "Two Friendly Ghosts". YouTube. January 12, 2012. Retrieved November 27, 2012.
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- James Dean at DMOZ
- James Dean on IMDb
- James Dean at the TCM Movie Database
- James Dean at the Internet Broadway Database
- James Dean at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- AMC's James Dean Photo Gallery: Living Fast and Dying Young
- James Dean.com link to "Official" CMG James Dean website
- 10 James Dean Essentials: Photo Essay on AMCtv.com
- James Dean: Hollywood's Rebel Icon – slideshow by Life
- James Dean in Hill Number One at the Iverson Movie Ranch
- Mad about the boy on the Guardian Unlimited.
- James Dean Gallery site
- James Dean at Find a Grave, includes photos of Dean's Tombstone.
- James Dean at American Legends.
- The Stuff of Legend: James Dean's Final Ride (Documentary)
- Iverson Movie Ranch: History, vintage photos.
- James Dean - Map (interactive): Important places and locations of his Life