James Dean

About James Dean

  • Biography
  • Fast Facts
  • Quotes

James Dean was an American actor born on February 8, 1931 in Marion, Indiana. His first significant performance–in 1954’s The Immoralist–had Hollywood rushing to put him on the big screen, and as a result, landed him roles in East of EdenRebel Without a Cause, and Giant. During that time, he also developed a passion for automobile racing and used his earnings to purchase a Porsche 356 Speedster and a Porsche 550 Spyder known as “Little Bastard.” Dean was tragically killed in a car accident at the age of 24.

1st actor to receive an Academy Award nomination posthumously

19 years old when he appeared in a Pepsi Cola television commercial

22nd Greatest Movie Star according to Entertainment Weekly

18th Best Male Movie Star of Hollywood’s Golden Age, as ranked by the American Film Institute

So many performers -- both singers and actors -- were and continue to be influenced and inspired by James Dean. Just one example would be Martin Sheen, who said of Dean, "All of his movies had a profound effect on my life, in my work, and all of my generation. He transcended cinema acting. It was no longer acting, it was human behavior."

Dennis Hopper remembered when Elia Kazan introduced James Dean to the cast of EAST OF EDEN. He told them, "You're going to meet a boy, and he's going to be very strange to you and he's going to be different; no matter what you see, or what you think of him, when you see him on the screen he's gonna be pure gold." 

Martin Sheen on James Dean: "He was just a genius at a time when one was needed. There were only two people in the 1950's: Elvis Presley who changed the music, and James Dean who changed our lives. Nothing really happened again until Bob Dylan came along -- and Dylan himself was influenced by Dean. If you can imagine the strength and the influence Dylan had in the 1960's, that's what Dean was to the 1950's."

SOMEBODY UP THERE LIKES ME (1956) is the story of Hall of Fame Italian boxer Rocky Graziano and his rise from the tough streets of New York. Steve McQueen and Dean Jones made their big screen debuts here. In the title role was Paul Newman, replacing James Dean who was slated for this part after Montgomery Clift turned it down, but of course Dean died before shooting began. Newman at 31 was six years older than Dean. One of Dean's main inamoratas was Pier Angeli and she replaced Eva Marie Saint as the film's leading lady.

James Dean once said, "I came to Hollywood to act, not to charm society."

"Only the gentle are really strong."

"If a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live on after he's dead, then maybe he was a great man." 

"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today." 

Historical Photo Gallery

James Dean smiling
James Dean sitting at a desk
James Dean
James Dean sitting
James Dean walking through New York
James Dean sitting in a car
James Dean standing against a window
James Dean sitting in a chair wearing a cowboy hat

James Dean x Candino Watches

James Dean x Dolce & Gabbana

James Dean x Dolce & Gabbana

James Dean x Chrysler

James Dean x Mercerdes Benz

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