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Earthgirl's avatar

Do you have any interesting James Dean stories?

Asked by Earthgirl (11164 points ) February 29th, 2012

I was watching East of Eden recently and I was struck by what a truly excellent actor he was. The movie may have bordered on being too melodramatic in parts but no one can take away the fact that his face and his body movements were so amazingly expressive of his inner mind. It made me want to know more about him so I read a bit on his Wikipedia page.

His reputation and iconic status is based on only 3 films.

He was one of the original Method actors.

Elia Kazan wanted him for the role of Cal in East of Eden. When he was introduced to John Steinbeck, the writer, Steinbeck did not like his manner but agreed that he was perfect for the role.

The scene in East of Eden when he gives his father the money and his father refuses to accept it was improvised (as was much of the physical action in the movie) It was Dean’s inspiration to throw his arms around his father and sob instead of running away. Brilliant. That scene is so touching.

What interesting facts or stories do you want to share about James Dean?

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5 Answers

ucme's avatar

The Porsche Spyder which drove him to his death had Little Bastard written on the back.

filmfann's avatar

He recieved two posthumous Oscar nominations. One for East of Eden, the other for Giant.

SuperMouse's avatar

While he was filming Giant, director George Stevens would not let James Dean race his car. It was shortly after he finished filming that he was killed. One of the people in the other car involved in the crash suffered a broken leg, the other, just a cut on the forehead. He filmed this public service announcement shortly before he was killed. The Porsche he was driving is said to be cursed.

On the set of Giant Dean and Rock Hudson did not get along, but Elizabeth Taylor fell in love with him. He was good friends with Dennis Hopper and Sal Mineo who were both in Giant and Rebel Without a Cause.

In the scene where he is riding on top of the train car in East of Eden, it was Dean’s improvisation to take his arms out of his sleeves and wrap them around himself.

Dean’s mother died when he was young. He grew up in Marion, Indiana with an aunt. In high school he played basketball, so this song is wrong. Although I love the song and The Eagles.

In high school I was obsessed with James Dean. This is what I remember off the top of my head

Judi's avatar

I drive by the tree he drove into every time I go to the coast. There is a little plaque erected in his memory, otherwise, not a lot of hoopla.

Earthgirl's avatar

Hey, interesting things so far. Thanks everyone.
SuperMouse Tell me more, tell me more! Looks like you may be the resident James Dean expert.

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