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Dean, James Byron

Born: 1931 AD
Died: 1955 AD
Nationality: English
Categories: Actors

1931 – Born on February 8th in Marion, Indiana. An American motion picture actor enshrined as a symbol of the confused, restless, and idealistic youth of the 1950s.

1936 – Dean’s family moved from Indiana to California when he was five.

1940 – Dean returned to Indiana where he was reared on a farm by an aunt and uncle.

1951 –  His first professional acting assignment was for a soft drink commercial, which led to a speaking role as John the Baptist in the television Easter special "Hill Number One".

         – He played bit parts in three Hollywood films, "Sailor Beware" and "Fixed Bayonets".

1952 – He appeared in the movie, "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" before moving to New York City on the advice of actor James Whitmore, with whom he had briefly studied.

1953 – He was cast in a key role in the Broadway flop "See the Jaguar".

1954 – More successful was his sly, insinuating performance as a blackmailing homosexual houseboy in another Broadway production, "The Immoralist", a stage adaptation of André Gide’s book.

1955 – "The Immoralist" brought Dean to the attention of film director Elia Kazan, who cast the 23-year-old actor in the leading role of troubled teenager Cal Trask in "East of Eden", the screen adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel.

         – Dean’s second starring film appearance, as sensitive high-school misfit Jim Stark in director Nicholas Ray’s "Rebel Without a Cause", made him into the embodiment of his generation.

         – Shortly after completing work on his third starring feature, producer-director George Stevens’ "Giant", the restless Dean drove off in his silver Porsche to compete in a sports car rally in Salinas, California. Speeding down the highway, he crashed headlong into a Ford sedan and was killed instantly.

         – He died on September 30th near Paso Robles, California.