Editors Note: We're blogging through We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel.
James Dean was a movie actor who starred in movies with big names such as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe in ‘Elvis: Return to Tupelo’, and with Ronald Reagan in ‘The Dark, Dark Hours’.
James Dean was born on February 8th, 1931 in Indiana. When he was very young, his father left farming to become a dentist, and moved to Santa Monica, CA. Also, Dean’s mother died when he was young, and his father sent him back to Indiana to help his aunt and uncle with farming.
Dean was very interested in lots of hobbies, including violin and art. He was in a lot of plays during high school and college, and made several appearances on NBC for talk shows and theater productions.
James Dean’s first leading Broadway role was in 1952, at age 21. The production was called ‘See the Jaguar’, where he played a 16 year old boy.
James Dean was only in five movies - ‘Elvis: Return to Tupelo’, ‘Giant’, ‘Rebel Without a Cause’, ‘East of Eden’ and ‘The Dark, Dark Hours’.
On September 13th, Dean appeared in an ad for the National Highway Safety Committee. His last line in the ad was, “Take it easy driving. The life you save might be mine.” Thirteen days later, James Dean was killed in an automobile accident. He was driving his new Porsche Spyder 550 he had bought nine days earlier.
James Dean’s most famous quote was this - ‘Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.’