Live Fast, Die Young

by T-Knox

Dean's car was hit by 23-year-old student Donald Turnupseed who was not cited for the accident. He refused to speak publicly of the accident.

Forever he will be a symbol of teenage angst and rebellion as people continue to remember James Dean who took a deadly turn doing what he loved.

Dean was on his way to race his signature Porsche Spyder in Salinas, California when a car coming in the opposite direction made a fast turn cutting in front of Dean roaring around the corner. The Porsche and Ford Sedan hit dead on in the collision. Dean’s passenger was thrown from the car and suffered head injuries and a broken leg. It is said that Dean died at the crash from a broken neck and several broken bones.

Filming of Giant and Rebel Without a Cause had just wrapped up and were later released after his death. The only film that debuted while Dean was alive was East of Eden. These films have permeated a lasting image around the globe, and Dean’s short-lived fame never died.

At five he moved with his mother and father to California, yet four years later his mother passed away and he was sent back to Indiana. There he was raised by his aunt and uncle on their farm. In high school he found his niche in acting. He went back to California and enrolled in theatre at UCLA for two years. After acting gigs here and there he went to New York to try his luck on Broadway where he was noticed by director Elia Kazan. Kazan gave him the leading role of a troubled teenager in East of Eden.

The funeral took place in his hometown of Fairmount, Indiana. It was the largest funeral the town ever had, with over 3,000 people who came out to celebrate Dean’s life and pay their respects. Ominous really, the funeral home was the same home Dean had climbed into a casket for a photo only a year before.

Dean was buried in Park Cemetery close to his aunt and uncle’s farm where he grew up. Thousands of people come every year to visit and pay tribute. Within the year of his death, millions joined his fan club and his studio was regularly receiving slews of fan mail. Nearly 4,000 letters every single day.

Read more:

James Dean Killed In Car Smash | BBC News

James Dean | Biography.com

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