Remembering James Dean On His 80th BirthdayNatalie
Although he starred in only three films, James Dean remains a Hollywood A-lister and one of the most memorable actors of all time. His legendary status derived from his premature death in a car crash when he was only 24 years old.
Through his critically-acclaimed leading performances in three films, James Dean’s fame and popularity continues to grow. He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and remains the only actor in history to have had 2 posthumous acting nominations. With so much promise from such a young star, critics and fans alike still wonder “what might have been”.
James Dean the perfect rebel for American teens, especially due to his starring role in his most celebrated film, “Rebel Without a Cause” (1955). He character was Jim Stark, a troubled Los Angeles teenager who symbolized the restless youth in the mid-1950s.
Dean’s two other starring roles were as loner Cal Trask in “East of Eden” (1955), and as the surly farmer, Jett Rink, in “Giant” (1956) .
While finishing up the filming of “Giant” , Dean was driving his Porsche Spyder race car and collided with another car near Cholame, Calif. on Sept. 30, 1955. He was killed almost instantly from the impact from a broken neck. Fate tried to warn him: he had received a speeding ticket just two hours before the fatal accident.
Dean is buried in Park Cemetery in his hometown of Fairmount, Indiana. The town is hosting a celebration this weekend commemorating his birthday and is offering a free screening of East of Eden.