Dean, James


Dean, James

▪ American actor
in full  James Byron Dean 
born Feb. 8, 1931, Marion, Indiana, U.S.
died Sept. 30, 1955, near Paso Robles, California

      strikingly handsome American motion picture actor enshrined as a symbol of the confused, restless, and idealistic youth of the 1950s.

      Dean's family moved from Indiana to California when he was five. Following the death of his mother four years later, Dean returned to Indiana where he was reared on a farm by an aunt and uncle. He moved back to California after high school to study theatre for two years at the University of California at Los Angeles. 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 (1951). He played bit parts in three Hollywood films—Sailor Beware (1951), Fixed Bayonets (1951), and Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952)—before moving to New York City on the advice of actor James Whitmore, with whom he had briefly studied. After a series of short-term jobs, including a brief period as a “stunt tester” for the CBS game show Beat the Clock, he was cast in a key role in the Broadway flop See the Jaguar (1953). More successful was his sly, insinuating performance as a blackmailing homosexual houseboy in another Broadway production, The Immoralist (1954), a stage adaptation of André Gide's book.

      The Immoralist brought Dean to the attention of film director Elia Kazan (Kazan, Elia), who cast the 23-year-old actor in the leading role of troubled teenager Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955), the screen adaptation of John Steinbeck (Steinbeck, John)'s novel. On the set, Dean perpetuated his reputation for constantly changing his character interpretation and line readings and for deliberately baiting and challenging his fellow actors. When East of Eden premiered, however, Dean was seen as a movie star of the first magnitude and was nominated for an Academy Award.

      Dean's second starring film appearance, as sensitive high-school misfit Jim Stark in director Nicholas Ray (Ray, Nicholas)'s Rebel Without a Cause (1955), made him into the embodiment of his generation. His character defiantly rejects the values of his elders while desperately aching to “belong” and attempting to find a purpose in life. Dean's performance spoke eloquently on behalf of disenchanted, disenfranchised teenagers and gave them a hero they could respect and admire.

      Shortly after completing work on his third starring feature, producer-director George Stevens (Stevens, George)'s Giant (1956), 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. Almost immediately, an intensely loyal cult was established and within days of his death he became a film icon. The James Dean mystique continued to flourish into the 21st century.

Additional Reading
Donald Spoto, Rebel: The Life and Legend of James Dean (1996, reissued 2000), explores the darker aspects of Dean's character in an objective and unsensationalized manner. Val Holley, James Dean: The Biography (1996), is perhaps the most comprehensive and exhaustively researched Dean biography. John Gilmore, Live Fast—Die Young: Remembering the Short Life of James Dean (1997), is an intimate account of Dean's private life by one of his closest friends.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Dean, James — • ДИН (Dean) Джеймс (8.2.1931 30.9.1955)    амер. актёр. Выступал в т ре и на ТВ, занимался в нью йоркской Актёрской студии. В кино с 1951 (ф. Берегись, моряк ). В ф. К востоку от рая и Бунтовщик без идеала (1955) сыграл роли человека,… …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • Dean, James — ► (1931 55) Actor estadounidense. Se erigió en prototipo de la juventud rebelde estadounidense por su interpretación en la película Al este del Edén (1955) …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Dean,James Byron — Dean (dēn), James Byron. 1931 1955. American actor whose moody, rebellious persona in films such as East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause (both 1955) made him a cult figure. He died in an automobile accident. * * * …   Universalium

  • Dean, James (Byron) — born Feb. 8, 1931, Marion, Ind., U.S. died Sept. 30, 1955, near Paso Robles, Calif. U.S. film actor. He played bit parts in four films before trying the Broadway stage, where his role in The Immoralist (1954) led to a screen test and a brilliant… …   Universalium

  • Dean, James (Byron) — (8 feb. 1931, Marion, Ind., EE.UU.–30 sep. 1955, cerca de Paso Robles, Cal.). Actor de cine estadounidense. Actuó papeles pequeños en cuatro películas antes de probar suerte en los teatros de Broadway, donde su actuación en El inmoralista (1954)… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • L. Dean James — (1947 ) is an American fantasy and horror writer. Her novel Winter Scream, co authored with Chris Curry, was nominated for the 1991 Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel.[1] Contents 1 Bibliography 1.1 Novels …   Wikipedia

  • James B. Dean — James Byron Dean (* 8. Februar 1931 in Marion, Indiana; † 30. September 1955 in der Nähe von Cholame, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Theater und Filmschauspieler. Sein früher Tod und seine Rolle in …denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • James Byron Dean — (* 8. Februar 1931 in Marion, Indiana; † 30. September 1955 in der Nähe von Cholame, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Theater und Filmschauspieler. Sein früher Tod und seine Rolle in …denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun machten ihn zu einem… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • James Dean — James Byron Dean (* 8. Februar 1931 in Marion, Indiana; † 30. September 1955 in der Nähe von Cholame, Kalifornien) war ein US amerikanischer Theater und Filmschauspieler. Sein früher Tod und seine Rolle in … denn sie wissen nicht, was sie tun… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • James Byron Dean — James Dean James Dean Dans À l est d’Éden en 1955 Nom de naissance James Byron Dean Surnom …   Wikipédia en Français


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