Biography

Whether told in his own words or from a third person’s point of view, the life of James Dean is exhilarating, intriguing and tragic. From a small town in the Midwest to the Hollywood Hills of California, James Dean's story is one that you will never forget.

East of Eden (1955)

Drawn from the last few pages of John Steinbeck's mammoth novel, East of Eden is powerful, intense family drama, about rivalry between two sons for the love of their father. What makes director Elia Kazan's film so remarkable is the casting of virtual unknowns in the leading roles. As Abra, the girl who comes between the brothers, Julie Harris portrays a woman torn between the two; as the stern patriarch Adam Trask, Raymond Massey couldn't be bettered. Richard Davalos, as the 'sensitive' brother Aron also gave a fine performance. 'It's the actor who plays Cal who really bears watching,' critics raved...

Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

Just under a month before Rebel Without A Cause premiered in New York, James Dean had been killed in a tragic auto accident at the age of 24. It's impossible to watch Rebel without a deep sense of regret, of loss. His performance as Jim Stark - "the bad boy from a good family" - as the ads described it - is a masterful achievement, fulfilling the promise shown in his previous film, East of Eden. Dean plays the angst-ridden son of henpecked Jim Backus (Frank Stark) and Ann Doran. He forms a substitute 'family' with girlfriend Natalie Wood (Judy) and timid Sal Mineo (Plato) after a tragic incident - an automobile test-of-nerves dare known as the "chickie run" - has brought them together. Rebel is more than a monument to its star, it's a movie for all time.

Giant (1956)

Jimmy had been signed by Warner Brothers to play the role of Jett Rink in Giant, based on Edna Ferber's best-selling Texas saga. The script described Jett Rink as 'a violent young ranch hand, half juvenile delinquent, half genius, who wants to make a million (He makes a hundred million)...Tough, always angry, restless, bewildered and reckless with animal charm and a tycoon's magnetism." The script required him to age from 19 to 46. Directed by George Stevens, the cast featured Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson as Leslie and Bick Benedict; and included Dennis Hopper and Sal Mineo, who also appeared in Rebel Without A Cause.

Racing

James Dean's passion for racing was legendary. His vehicle collection and racing career brought excitement to his life.

Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.

James Dean

Licensing

Companies that have used James Dean in their marketing or branding.

MONTBLANC

The James Dean Special Edition collection, honouring the famous actor and icon.

Latest news

What Really Happened To James Dean’s ‘Cursed’ Porsche

The transaxle from James Dean’s famous Porsche 550 Spyder has just sold for an astonishing $400k – what really happened to a car forever associated with a Hollywood death? The headline on the TMZ website was bizarre enough to inspire a ‘you’ve-gotta-be-kid-ding-me’ double take: “James Dean ‘Cursed’ Transaxle Sells for $400K.” But the story behind […]

Return to Giant celebrates 25 years, June 3, 2021, 7 pm

Twenty-five years ago a documentary premiered at SXSW that showed what it was like to be on the set of the Warner Bros. classic, Giant with James Dean, Rock Hudson out in tiny Marfa, Texas. That summer of 1955 went on to inspire a stage play (Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, […]

What might’ve been

James Dean had chance to be greatest Indy 500 driver ever Those professional drivers, the ones who had devoted their lives to racing, they weren’t fond of this too-cool Hollywood intruder, chain smoking his way onto the tracks. He came in with his hair slicked to perfection, wearing a black nylon racing suit — made […]

See all our news