CLARK GABLE, his career would last 30 years & would make 67 movies.
HUMPHREY BOGART, his career would last 27 years & would make 80 movies.
MARILYN MONROE, her career would last some15 years & she would make 33 movies.
JAMES DEAN, his career would only last a short 16 Months and only with 3 movies under his belt (EAST OF EDEN , REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, and GIANT) before his untimely death at age 24 when he crashed his Silver Porsche 550 Spyder Sportscar where Highway 466 met Highway 41, some 30 miles from Paso Robles on September 30, 1955.
But his screen presents was so dynamic, his work so extraordinary that it would earn him a place among the Pantheon of the Hollywood Immortals.
It was reported at the time that not since the death of silent screen star RUDOLPH VALENTINO had there been such mass hysteria. DEAN's legions of fans refused to accept that their Idol was taken away from them. He was like a voice for them, telling the older generation that they were there and they wanted to be heard. No more going off quietly to one's room. This was new class of people called Teenagers & their voices would be heard shouting aloud into the next decade as the 1960s came and beyond.
JAMES DEAN would be compared in Movie Magazines to his acting heroes MONTGOMERY CLIFT & MARLON BRANDO, who's new Method acting style were taking over Hollywood at the time. DEAN would attended the famous ACTORS STUDIO in NEW YORK CITY that CLIFT & BRANDO were founding members of. He would say to his friends that he had CLIFT in one hand saying "Help Me" & in the other hand BRANDO saying "FuckYou". Now the acting students imitate him.
But it's His name now that's attached to any up & coming young actor entering Hollywood with the title of "the Next JAMES DEAN". He influenced a generation of young actors who were his peers and immediate successors (PAUL NEWMAN, DENNIS HOPPER, STEVE McQUEEN, JACK NICHOLSON, WARREN BEATTY, MARTIN SHEEN, & ETC.) and continues on down to today's HOLLYWOOD (JOHNNY DEPP, KEANU REEVES, SEAN PEAN, LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, BRAD PITT, JAMES FRANCO, & ETC.)
JAMES DEAN was the 1st Actor to receive a posthumous ACADEMY AWARD nomination for Best Actor for his role in EAST OF EDEN.
For me, it was that film that I would be introduced to JAMES DEAN one cold Winter afternoon as kid. I sit in the living room by myself (which was unusual, cause I had 3 brothers, & being alone rarely happened) watching this young man on the TV screen try to reach out to his estrange mother, who was lying drunk on a chair (a scene that I unfortunately can relate with, my mother was drunk also), a desperation for any type of parental love, not receiving any from home by his stern father (my father too was much like this man). It was one of the few times I can remember as a child relating to a character in fiction that wasn't a fantasy based wish fulfillment.
Then as a teenager I discover the 1955 classic REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. It spoke to me like no other film did at the point. It was a film about what it was like growing up as a teenager. Never mind that it was set in the 1950s, the problems were the same. Wanting to belong, to fit in & be accepted. Not to feel like an outsider anymore. The fears that if you let someone know the real you that they might reject you, but the hope the you may also fine kindred spirits. If there was anyone who spoke to teenagers it was JAMES DEAN.
Today JAMES DEAN is immortalized in Books, Films, & Music. FORBES magazine estimates that his estate earns about $5 Million per year. His likeness appears on Posters, Calendars, T-Shirts, Coffee mugs, and anything else they can think of.
But it is in the Hearts of his Fans that he is truly Immortalized.
Here's a beautiful passage from one of JAMES DEAN's favorite books
THE LITTLE PRINCE by ANTOINE de SAINT EXUPERY
~ "What is essential is invisible to the eye. One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye".
JAMES BYRON DEAN
February 8, 1931
September 30, 1931