James Byron Dean was born February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana. His mother died when he was nine, and he was subsequently raised on a farm by his aunt and uncle in Fairmount, Indiana. After grade school, he moved to New York to pursue his dream of acting. 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 small roles: 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 made three major movies - East of Eden (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). While driving his Porsche Spyder a n the 30th of September, 1955 he collided with another car while on a road near Cholame, California. He had received a speeding ticket just two hours before. At age 24, James Dean was killed almost immediately from the impact from a broken neck. His very brief career, violent death and highly publicized funeral transformed him into a cult object of apparent timelessness.
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