US film star, whose early death in a car accident has ensured a permanent place in the annals of Hollywood for this 1950s symbol of disaffected American youth.
He was born in Marion, Indiana, and after attending the University of California at Los Angeles, began acting and attended the Actors' Studio for a brief period. He made a few TV commercials and played a few small parts in such films as Sailor Beware (1951) and Fixed Bayonets (1951). On Broadway he appeared in See the Jaguar (1952) and The Immortalist (1954); it was his performance in the latter that secured him a film test at Warner Brothers. His three starring roles followed: East of Eden (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955), and Giant (1956). In the eyes of his fans he became identified with the title of his film Rebel Without a Cause and it was this role particularly that made him into a cult figure. A film biography, The James Dean Story, was made in 1957.
Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).