What you need to know about the film legend

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James Dean was only 24 years old when he died. However, little is known about these details about the Hollywood superstar’s life and death.

James Dean (1931-1955) died in a tragic car accident 65 years ago. The actor has only made three major movies, but these have made him a legend. Especially his role as Jim Stark in the drama “… because they don’t know what they’re doing” (1955) made him famous. But the two epic works “Jenseits von Eden” (1955) and “Giganten” (1956) are real classics. Even so, there are some things that hardly anyone knows about James Dean.

His role model was Marlon Brando, but Elvis emulated him

James Dean was fascinated by Marlon Brando (1924-2004, “Apocalypse Now”), seven years his senior. Not only his acting performances in “Endstation Sehnsucht” (1947) and other films impressed the young Dean, but also Brando’s wild lifestyle. Dean is said to have bought his Triumph motorcycle after seeing that Brando owned one. One of the greatest entertainers of all time, on the other hand, saw Dean as a great role model: Elvis Presley (1935-1977, “Jailhouse Rock”) was enthusiastic about his talent and wanted to start an acting career based on his role model.

He confided his secrets to Elizabeth Taylor

On the set of Giants, James Dean befriended co-star Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011, “Cleopatra”). She became his close confidante, whom he is even said to have told about sexual abuse in his childhood. From her Dean got his beloved cat Marcus as a present. Dean’s tragic death is said to have affected the actress so much that she stayed away from the film set of “Giants” for two weeks and went to a hospital for psychiatric treatment.

Invented love affairs should advance his career

The young beau was said to have had many affairs. The PR department of his production company Warner Brothers had invented most of it itself in order to boost the business with his films. Liz Sheridan (86, “Seinfeld”) was the woman at his side for a while. In her book “Dizzy and Jimmy” she even claims to have been engaged to him.

There are also rumors about Dean’s relationship with his colleague Pier Angeli (1932-1971, “Sodom and Gomorrah”). The two are said to have shared a passionate love, which, however, aroused the objection of Angeli’s mother. She then married the singer Vic Damone (87, “Stranger In Paradise”).

He is still considered a style icon today

Dean, who died at the age of only 24, still shapes fashion today. His horn-rimmed glasses and simple casual looks made of jeans and white T-shirts are still very much in vogue. Especially the film “… because they don’t know what they’re doing” made him a style icon. On the movie posters he can be seen leaning casually against a wall in jeans, a white T-shirt and a red bomber jacket. After the film was released, sales for white T-shirts skyrocketed and the red jacket also became a cult.

Originally it was supposed to be brown. Since the film was not shot in black and white, as planned, but in color, it was decided to use a more conspicuous color. The film look, for example, is based on the style of the comic figure Fry from the cult series “Futurama”.

Two posthumous Oscar nominations

In his short, meteoric career, James Dean has not won an Oscar. But he was nominated for two of his three films: “Beyond Eden” and “Giants”. He was not only the first actor to enter the running for an Oscar after his death, to this day he is also the only one who has even been nominated multiple times posthumously.

Dean also holds another record: he received an Oscar nomination for two-thirds of his films. Nobody has managed that until today. He also managed to be nominated for best actor with his film debut – so far only six other actors have succeeded. Dean was victorious after his death at the Golden Globes. In 1956 and 1957 he won one of the renowned film and TV awards.

Was James Dean driving too fast in his Porsche?

His career might have reached new heights. After all, Dean had just signed on to make nine more films when he was killed in a car accident on September 30, 1955. There are many myths surrounding the cause, and it is often claimed that Dean drove too fast in his new Porsche Spyder. Although he received a speeding ticket just two hours before the fatal accident, the investigation into the course of the accident revealed that the actor was not traveling too fast – he was driving about 90 km / h.

In 2019 he landed a new film role

Incredible but true: 64 years after his death, James Dean landed a new role in 2019. In November it was announced that he would be brought back to life with the help of old footage and the latest technology for the film “Finding Jack”, which takes place during the Vietnam War. Another actor speaks his voice.

The directors of the project, Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh (“Will I See You Again”), have the support of Dean’s family, but many fans are appalled – among them a great hero of modern times: “Captain America” ​​Chris Evans (39 ) thinks nothing of the project. “That’s awful”, he commented on Twitter and added sarcastically, “Maybe we can have a computer paint us a new Picasso. Or have some new pieces written by John Lennon.” According to the film database IMDb the production of “Finding Jack” is currently being prepared.


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