In Suzanne's Finstad's "Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood" she says that Dean was obsessed with ex girlfriend Pier Angeli on the set of Rebel. Natalie supposedly spent hours comforting Dean when he made a suicide attempt after learning Angeli had suddenly married singer Vic Damone. He claimed to Natalie that Pier's mother had objected to their relationship because he was not Italian or Catholic. (amazon.com)
Mentioned in Don McLean's hit song "American Pie". (imdb.com)
Nephew of Ortense Winslow (sister of his father) and Marcus Winslow. (imdb.com)
One of the many personalities mentioned in Billy Joel's song "We Didn't Start the Fire" (1989). (imdb.com)
He was voted the 30th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Premiere Magazine. (imdb.com)
Referenced by name in the John Mellencamp song "Jack and Diane". (imdb.com)
. Ranked #33 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997] (imdb.com)
In her book "Dizzy and Jimmy", Liz Sheridan claims she and Dean were engaged. (imdb.com)
Grandson of Charles Dean and Emma Dean. (imdb.com)
Was good friends with Martin Landau. (imdb.com)
Pictured on a 32¢ US commemorative postage stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series, issued 24 June 1996. (imdb.com)
Referenced by name in the Skid Row song, "Forever" ("wild cigarettes like James Dean"). (imdb.com)
Is one of the many movie stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue" (imdb.com)
Had a fondness for auto racing and had purchased the 1955 Porsche Spyder sports car, one of only 90 made of that year model, planning to participate in the upcoming races in Salinas, CA on Oct 1, 1955. (imdb.com)
. Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#42).  (imdb.com)
His performance as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) is ranked #43 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006). (imdb.com)
His favorite book was "The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. (imdb.com)
Received posthumous Oscar nominations for his his first and last ever screen performances: East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956). (imdb.com)
Hilary Duff's 2005 "Most Wanted" album includes the song "Mr. James Dean", which is all about him. (imdb.com)
Was a graduate from Santa Monica College, a California junior college that boasts its elite drama program. Went on to UCLA but left after appearing in one stage production, as Malcolm in "Macbeth", as he was anxious to get his acting career started. (imdb.com)
He was voted the 22nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly. (imdb.com)
Cousin of Marcus Winslow Jr. (imdb.com)
Immortalized in 1974 by the song "Rock On" sung by David Essex. (imdb.com)
Cousin of country singer/entrepreneur Jimmy Dean. (imdb.com)
Was named #18 greatest actor on The 50 Greatest Screen Legends list by the American Film Institute. (imdb.com)
He was descended largely from early British settlers to America. (imdb.com)
Along with Martin Sheen and Steve McQueen, is mentioned in R.E.M.'s song "Electrolite". (imdb.com)
Much like Dean himself was with Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley emulated and idolized James Dean. He would talk to friends for hours about his reverence for Dean, and got into acting as a way of following in Dean`s footsteps. He confessed to his friends and close ones that Dean had the acting career he always wanted.
His closest and most intimate friend for the last five years of his life was William Bast.
Was originally considered for the leading role in Oklahoma! (1955).
Was biggest idol of Elvis Presley.
Was terribly near-sighted and wore thick glasses when not on screen.
He was given a Siamese cat as gift by Elizabeth Taylor.
Was Oscar nominated in two-thirds of his films, a record which will probably never be bettered.
Just before his death, his agent, Jane Deacy, negotiated a 9-picture deal over 6 years with Warner Bros. worth $900,000. Dean`s next project was to be a television version for NBC of Emlyn Williams` play "The Corn is Green", in which he was to star with Judith Anderson. His next film was to be Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), a biopic of boxer Rocky Graziano, for which Warners were loaning him to MGM and in which he was replaced by Paul Newman. Newman also replaced him in the role of Billy the Kid in The Left Handed Gun (1958). Three other roles with which he was being linked were the leads in Gun for a Coward (1957), This Angry Age (1958) and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958).
While a struggling actor in the 1950s, he once lived at 19 West 68th Street, off Manhattan`s Central Park West.
According to Marlon Brando, Dean would often call him, leaving messages with Brando`s answering service. Brando would sometimes listen, silently, as Dean instructed the service to have Brando call back. Brando, disturbed that Dean was copying his life-style (motorcyle, bongo drums) and acting techniques, did not return his calls. The two met at least three times: on the set of East of Eden (1955); on the set of Desirée (1954) and at a party, where Brando took Dean aside and told him he had emotional problems that required psychiatric attention.
Like his hero Marlon Brando (Dean had been separated from his own father as a child and was distant from him. Brando apparently served as a role model for Dean) Dean wanted to write. He told gossip columnist Hedda Hopper that writing was his supreme ambition.
Signed a nine-picture, $1-million deal with Warner Bros. before his death. He did not live long enough to honor it.
His final screen test for East of Eden (1955) was shot with Paul Newman, who also was in the final running for one of the roles. Originally, director Elia Kazan had considered casting Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift in the roles of the two brothers, but they were too old to play teenagers as they were both in the their 30s in 1954. Newman`s age, 29, also put him at a disadvantage. Dean, 23 years old and Richard Davalos, aged 19, were cast as the fraternal twins.
At the time of his death, Dean was signed to appear in Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) at MGM and The Left Handed Gun (1958) at Warner Bros. Both parts subsequently were taken by Paul Newman and helped make him a star. Newman`s career may very well have been retarded if Dean had lived as, while still alive, they competed for the same roles (East of Eden (1955)).
His first professional acting gig was in a Coca-Cola commercial, handing out bottles of Coke to teenagers who were riding a merry-go-round.
His tastes in music were eclectic. He liked African Tribal music and Afro-Cuban music, as well as classical (Béla Bartók, Igor Stravinsky); jazz/blues(Billie Holiday) and pop (Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra). His favorite song was Billie Holiday`s "When Your Lover Has Gone" and his favorite album was Sinatra`s "Songs for Young Lovers".
His favorite drink was coffee and his favorite ice cream flavors were coffee and raspberry.
President Ronald Reagan referred to Dean as "America`s Rebel".
Lost his two front teeth in a motorcycle accident in his youth.
Aping Marlon Brando, he also bought a Triumph motorcycle. Instead of Brando`s 650cc 6T Thunderbird model, which he used in the film, The Wild One (1953), he bought the smaller 500cc TR5 Trophy model. This Triumph featured in a famous series of photographs by Phil Stern, the motorcycle itself being recovered, restored and currently displayed at the "James Dean Museum" in Fairmount, Indiana.
Is portrayed by James Franco in James Dean (2001) (TV); by Nick Carpenter in The Mystery of Natalie Wood (2004) (TV); by Stephen McHattie in James Dean (1976) (TV) and by Casper Van Dien in James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997) (TV).
Loved playing practical jokes on friends and reading.
Director Elia Kazan did not believe that Dean would have been able to sustain the momentum of his career. He felt that Dean`s career, had he lived, would have sputtered out, as he was not well-trained and relied too much on his instincts, as opposed to his idol Marlon Brando, who, contrary to what people believed, had been very well-trained by his acting teacher Stella Adler and relied on that training to create his characters.