Interview with James Dean

Interview with James Dean

Do you remember how Bruce Lee found me in a Chinese restaurant so I could conduct one of my unearthly, supernatural interviews with him? Well, it has happened again. This time I went to a revival of James Dean films and was watching “Giant.”  Who do you think plopped down into an empty theater seat beside me? Bruce Lee, Martial Arts Master?

No! This time it was James Dean himself.

me – What a pleasure to meet you, James. There are only a few minutes left in the film. Would you mind if we stayed to the end?

James Dean – No, not at all. I kinda enjoy watching myself back in the day when I was still in one piece … more or less.

me – Is it okay if we take my car to a quiet café where we can talk? (Stupid, I said to myself. He probably doesn’t want to be anywhere near an automobile.)

James Dean – No problem – as long as it isn’t a Porsche 550. (Laughs nervously)

Note: Statements that are italicized within quotation marks are actual quotes from James Dean.


Mildred and Winton Dean and Jimmy
Mildred and Winton Dean and Jimmy
Do I look like a little devil or what?
Do I look like a little devil or what?

Tribute to James Dean

The Beginning

me – I know Jimmy is your nickname. May I call you that? And however did you find me?

Jimmy – Jimmy is fine. And you were recommended by one of my close friends, Mata Hari. She enjoyed your discreet supernatural interview with her.

me – Mata was memorable; she did not deserve her fate.

Jimmy – Funny you should say that. Neither did I!

me – Tell me about your early years, Jimmy.

Jimmy – I was born in Marion, Indiana February 8, 1931, to Mildred and Winton Dean. My middle name is Byron. My father had been a farmer but gave up on farming – it was at the height of the Depression – to become a dental technician. I was an only child. We moved to the village of Fairmount ten miles away when I was an infant.

When I was five, we moved across the country to Santa Monica, California and I attended Brentwood Elementary School until my mother died of breast cancer when I was nine years old. My father sent me to live with his sister, Ortense, and her husband, Marcus Winslow, on their 350-acre farm back in Fairmount, Indiana.

me – Were you close to your mother?

Jimmy“A piece of me died when she did. She was the only person capable of understanding me."

My aunt and uncle were devout Quakers who loved me I know, but in my heart I felt like an orphan abandoned by my own father.

Note: Jimmy’s father sent him back to Indiana on the same train that contained his wife’s body for burial in Fairmount. His father did not attend the funeral.

That's me - on the left.
That's me - on the left.

Fairmount, Indiana

me – Were you a good student?

Jimmy – Good but not great. My grades were average at Fairmount High School – I was 20th in a class of 49 – but I was a member of the basketball team, the baseball team, the forensic (debate) team, and Future Farmers of America. And I acted in all the school plays. That’s when I first became interested in an acting career.

“To my way of thinking, an actor's course is set even before he's out of the cradle.”

me – I see you’re wearing glasses. Have you always worn them?

Jimmy – Yeah, that sexy squint of mine in the movies was because I’m extremely near-sighted. I always wore thick glasses when I was not on screen. And look at this. (Jimmy removes a plate from his mouth with two false upper front teeth.) Most people don’t know this, but I got two of my front teeth knocked out when I played basketball in high school.

mePut your teeth back in your mouth, Jimmy, before you destroy any more of my illusions.

I'm memorizing my part in 'Macbeth'.
I'm memorizing my part in 'Macbeth'.

California

me – Tell me about your return to Santa Monica.

Jimmy – I graduated at 18 and returned to California with my beagle, Max, to live with my father and stepmother. I enrolled in Santa Monica College with a major in pre-law. The school had a popular drama program and when I graduated, I transferred to UCLA (University of California at Los Angeles) and changed my major to theater arts.

My father was unhappy with my new major and we became further estranged. “He told me acting would get me nowhere.”

I competed with 350 other student wannabe actors at UCLA and landed the role of Malcolm in the play, Macbeth . I wanted to pursue a career in the movies so I dropped out of school and worked odd jobs to support myself.

me – What kind of odd jobs.

Jimmy – One of my jobs was working as a parking lot attendant at CBS Studios in Hollywood. I met a guy named Rogers Brackett who was a radio director for an ad agency. We became friendly and he offered me professional advice as well as a place to stay.

Both Rogers and the actor, James Whitmore – I had begun attending his acting workshop – encouraged me to go to New York City to try out for roles in stage performances.

New York

me – Do you recall your first professional acting jobs?

Jimmy – I landed three walk-on roles in movies: Fixed Bayonets, Sailor Beware, and Has Anybody Seen My Gal? I even had a speaking part in the war film, Fixed Bayonets, which starred Richard Basehart. I had one line. Are you ready for this? “It’s a rear guard coming back.” That was it. Later, my one line was cut from the movie. (Sarcastic laugh)

“I think I am going to make it (as an actor) because on one hand I am like (Montgomery) Clift saying, ’Help me,’ and on the other hand I am (Marlon) Brando saying, ‘Screw you!’ and somewhere in between is James Dean.”

me – What was your next acting role in New York?

Jimmy – I was the kinda nerdy-looking guy in a Pepsi Cola television commercial (1950) who dropped a coin into the player piano. My pay? A tremendous 30 bucks.

My next job – don’t laugh now – I got a job as a stunt tester.

Me – What on earth is a stunt tester?

Jimmy – I was hired to test the stunts for the Beat the Clock television game show. My job was to test the safety of the stunts that studio audience members would later perform on the show. But I was too good at my job so they let me go.

me – Why were you let go for being too good?

Jimmy – I was so agile and quick completing the stunts I was testing that my speedy results could not be used to set time limits for contestants to complete those stunts.

James Dean with Ronald Reagan

Eartha Kitt is leading the modern dance class.  I'm behind her to the right.
Eartha Kitt is leading the modern dance class. I'm behind her to the right.

In 1951, I started studying “Method” acting under Lee Strasberg in his famous Actors Studio, I was really proud to get accepted there. I wrote to my aunt and uncle “… this is the greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon Brando, Julie Harris, Arthur Kennedy … Very few get into it ... It is the best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to belong."

Then TV gigs (roles) started coming my way. I appeared in 31 different dramas from April 1951 to May 1955 on Kraft Television Theater, Studio One, General Electric Theater and Lux Video Theatre, to name a few. My first role was John the Disciple in an Easter television special.

me – Was there one television role that was more unique for you than all the others?

Jimmy – How many actors do you know that acted with a U.S. president on TV? I did. With Ronald Reagan on GE Theater (CBS 1954). Neither one of us had a clue he would be president one day. Would you like to know something else most people don’t know?

me – Does a bear use Charmin in the woods?

Note: Forgive me, readers: I used the same response in my ‘Interview with Al Capone.’

Jimmy – Most people don’t know that while I lived in New York, I studied dance with the famous modern dancer and choreographer, Katherine Dunham, at her School of Dance. Eartha Kitt, the singer and actress, was in my class.

me – I should have guessed – you do have some graceful moves. Did you appear in any stage plays during the early 50s?

Jimmy – I had small roles in three off-Broadway plays and a larger role in See the Jaguar (1952) which ran on Broadway – for all of four days.

me – Tell me about the play that provided your ‘big break.’

Jimmy – I got the leading role of Bachir, a blackmailing North African houseboy, in the 1954 Broadway production of The Immoralist – an adaptation of the autobiographical novel about repressed homosexuality by Andre Gide. Louis Jourdan and Geraldine Page were my co-stars.

The positive reviews I received from five major New York newspapers and the rave review from Time Magazine praised my performance and led to calls from Hollywood. Specifically, I got the attention of Elia Kazan who was casting a movie based on John Steinbeck’s novel, East of Eden, for Warner Bros. He invited me to take a screen test.

Ursula Andress as the first Bond Girl in the James Bond films
Ursula Andress as the first Bond Girl in the James Bond films
Beautiful Pier Angeli
Beautiful Pier Angeli
Jimmy and Pier
Jimmy and Pier

Back in Hollywood

me – You know, Jimmy, you are often considered an icon today because of your ‘experimental’ attitude toward life. In other words, your apparent ambivalent sexuality. You have been quoted as saying: An actor must interpret life and, in order to do so, must be willing to accept all the experiences life has to offer.”

Jimmy – Are you asking about the rumors of my bisexuality? If so, I’ll tell you what I told an east coast reporter in 1954: “Well, I am certainly not going to go through life with one arm tied behind my back.”  End of story.

me – Fair enough. How did you ward off all those beautiful Hollywood starlets who were attracted to you?

Jimmy“I often told the women who tried to get too close to me that I was still grieving for my mother. It made a good alibi.” I dated Ursula Andress who was the beautiful babe in the first James Bond movie. But that was for PR.

I did have a genuine relationship with a young and very beautiful Italian actress, Pier Angeli. I met her while she was making the film, The Silver Chalice, at Warner Bros.

But it wasn’t meant to be. She broke off our relationship unexpectedly (apparently from pressure by her mother), announced her engagement to Vic Damone, a popular Italian singer, and they were married the next month.

Note: Pier Angeli died of an accidental (?) barbiturate overdose when she was 39. Before she died, Pier wrote that Dean was the only man she had ever really loved.

I'm wearing my favorite red jacket.
I'm wearing my favorite red jacket.

East of Eden - click on Arrow and then click on 'You Tube' to watch

East of Eden

me – Tell me about your experience in your first important movie role.

Jimmy – Elia Kazan, the director, signed me for the role of Cal Trask in East of Eden in 1954. My character is the rebel son of a pious, disapproving father (see any similarity there?) who was played by Raymond Massey.

My estranged mother played by Jo Van Fleet is the madam of a brothel (absolutely no similarity whatsoever)!

I was a relatively unknown young actor and I learned that Kazan originally wanted “a Brando for the role." I didn’t realize it then but my role in this film was very similar to the role I would play in the next one, Rebel without a Cause.

Both characters are loners who crave guidance and affection from a father figure.

me– What was that zany dance of yours all about in the bean field in the movie?

Jimmy – That was completely unscripted – it was just the way I felt

me – And I read that you did another improvisation when instead of running away from your father as called for in the script after he rejects your gift of money, you ran to him and lovingly embraced him?

Jimmy – I surprised the hell out of Massey with that action and was surprised myself that Kazan kept it in the film.

Note: James Dean received a posthumous ‘Best Actor in a Leading Role’ Academy Award nomination for this role, the first posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history.

Natalie Wagner
Natalie Wagner
Sal Mineo, Jimmy and Natalie
Sal Mineo, Jimmy and Natalie

Rebel without a Cause

me – Within the same year, Jimmy, you had your second starring film role. Why do you think this film was so popular with teenagers?

Jimmy – In Rebel without a Cause directed by Nicholas Ray, I portrayed Jim Stark, an idealistic but troubled, rebellious middle class teen. I think I may have been seen as a major representation of teenage angst – in a red jacket. I believe many American teens at the time identified with me and the roles I played. As well as with my co-stars: Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo.

me – Did you have a romance with Natalie Wood as many fans believed?

Jimmy – Contrary to popular opinion, there was no romance, just a close friendship. We liked each other and enjoyed each other’s company, "but there was no affair and no sexual relationship.”


Notes: The film received three Academy Award nominations but Jimmy was not nominated, perhaps because he had received a nomination that year for ‘East of Eden.’ The film was released in 1955, a month after Jimmy died.

Natalie Wood accidentally (?) fell overboard from the yacht she and her husband, Robert Wagner owned and drowned. She was 43.

Sal Mineo was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant in the alley behind his apartment building in West Hollywood, California. He was 37.

Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor
Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor

Giant

me – Tell me about the character you played In your third and, unfortunately, final film, Giant.

Jimmy – This movie directed by George Stevens was based on the popular novel by Edna Ferber. I was the poor, surly, racist Texas cowboy, Jett Rink – another non-conformist role – with a strong prejudice against Mexicans who discovers oil and becomes filthy rich.

My co-stars were two of the most popular movie stars of the era: Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. To portray an older version of my character in one scene, I dyed my hair gray and shaved some of it off to give myself a receding hairline.

me – How did those two superstar movie personalities react to you, a comparative newcomer?

Jimmy – Elizabeth Taylor was a sweetheart, platonically speaking, that is. Did you know that I was actually a year older than Liz? She gave me a beautiful Siamese cat as a gift. But during filming Rock Hudson and I did not get along. This tension may have lent more reality to our on-screen-clashes.

At the end of the film, I made a drunken speech at a banquet (which has been nicknamed the ‘Last Supper’  because it was the last scene before my sudden, horrible demise). I mumbled so much that the scene had to later be re-recorded by my co-stars because I died before the film was edited. If I had known this would be my last film I would have spoken more distinctly. (Laughs sardonically)

Note: Phyllis Gates, Rock Hudson's ex-wife, wrote that he cried after hearing the news of Jimmy’s death. … "Rock couldn't be reached. He was overcome by guilt and shame, almost as though he himself had killed James Dean.”

James Dean received his second Academy Award nomination posthumously after ‘Giant” was released in 1956.

My Porsche - Little Bastard
My Porsche - Little Bastard
Rolf, my mechanic, and I are driving to the race in Salinas.
Rolf, my mechanic, and I are driving to the race in Salinas.

Sports Cars and Racing

me – Next to acting, Jimmy, would you say that racing was one of your greatest passions?

Jimmy – You got that right. When I won that first role in East of Eden , I bought myself a sporty red MG-TD and then I upgraded it to a Porsche 356 Speedster which I raced. Paid $4,000 for that beauty. I came in second in the Palm Springs Road Races in March 1955 and third at Bakersfield in May.

me – When did you buy your Porsche Spyder?

Jimmy – While we were filming Rebel without a Cause , I traded my 356 Speedster in for a Porsche 550 Spyder – there were only 90 made. My film contract barred me from racing during the filming of Giant, but once the film was completed, I was free to race again. I had my new 550 customized by a friend, George Barris, who numbered it 130 at the front, sides and back.

me – I remember reading that you and a buddy gave your new Spyder a nickname which was … ?

Jimmy – (laughing) We called it Little Bastard.’ “When I met the British actor, Alec Guinness, outside a restaurant, I showed him my new car. He said it looked ‘sinister’ and told me, ‘Get rid of that car, or you'll be dead in a week!'" This encounter took place September 23, 1955.

Note: George Barris later designed the Batmobile for the movie, ‘Batman.’

A markerjunction 46 and 41 -
Rte 41 & Rte 46, Paso Robles, CA 93461, USA
[get directions]

Paul Newman
Paul Newman

The End

me – Tell me about what happened just one week later on September 30, 1955.

Jimmy – I was driving my Spyder to enter a sports car race at Salinas California. My mechanic, Rolf Wutherich, was in the passenger seat. At 3:30 pm I was stopped by police and given a ticket for speeding ten mph over the speed limit (65).

Two hours and fifteen minutes later, I was driving west on Route 46 near Cholame, California. A guy driving a 1950 Ford Tudor headed east tried to take a left turn onto Route 41 and crossed into my lane at full speed without seeing me. We hit each other almost head on. You know the guy’s name?

me – I think I remember it was like a vegetable.

Jimmy – Close! His name was Donald Turnupseed. Can you imagine? I ‘bought the farm’ because of a Turnupseed!

The last words I said right before the impact were, "That guy's gotta stop... He'll see us!"

Note: All re-creations of the accident agree that Jimmy was observing all the rules of the road, and the other driver was at least equally at fault due to inattention; possibly solely at fault. But he was a local boy and Jimmy was a Hollywood star so that fact received little attention.

James Dean was killed almost immediately from the impact due to a broken neck. He was 24. His very brief but brilliant career, charisma in films, violent death and highly publicized funeral transformed him into a cult icon

He is buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana – the farming community where he grew up. Even today, visitors come from as far away as Argentina and Australia to visit his grave.

Memorial

A memorial built in 1977 – a sculpture of concrete and stainless steel made in Japan – surrounds a tree of heaven located in front of the Cholame, California post office near the crash site. The 46-41 Highway junction at Cholame has been named the James Dean Memorial Junction. The United States Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in 1996.

Footnotes

Jimmy’s mechanic, Rolf, was thrown from the car during the impact of the crash but survived with multiple injuries. He became depressed from the trauma of the accident and made several suicide attempts. He died in Germany in 1981 in an auto accident similar to the one that killed James Dean.

Donald Turnupseed received a gashed forehead and bruised nose and was not cited by police for the accident. He refused all interviews with the press.

James Dean was the first — and is one of five actors — to have been posthumously nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award and is the only one nominated twice.

James Dean’s father inherited his estate, which was valued at the time of his death at $96,438 after taxes. He did not leave behind a will, so most of his possessions went to his father, Winton Dean, whose relationship with him had remained distant. His estate still earns about $5 million per year, according to ‘Forbes Magazine.’

Jimmy earned $12,000 from his first film, $12,500 from the second, and $21,000 from "Giant." Before his death, Jimmy’s agent negotiated a nine-picture, $1-million deal with Warner Bros. Jimmy did not live long enough to honor it. Paul Newman inherited the roles which helped make him a star: "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (1956) and "The Left Handed Gun" (1958).

In an interview in 1955, Gig Young, the actor, asked Jimmy, “Do you have any special advice for the young people who drive?” Jimmy’s reply: “Take it easy driving. The life you might save might be mine!”

Epilogue

The curse of "Little Bastard"

James Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder became infamous for being the vehicle that killed not only him, but for injuring and killing several others in the years following his death. Many people came to believe that the sports car and its parts were somehow cursed. Jimmy’s friend, George Barris, bought the totaled wreck for $2,500, only to have it slip off its trailer and break a mechanic's leg.

Soon afterward, Barris sold the engine and drive-train to two physicians, Troy McHenry and William Eschrid. While racing against each other, McHenry was killed instantly when his vehicle spun out of control and crashed into a tree. Eschrid was seriously injured when his vehicle rolled over while going into a curve.


James Franco plays me in the DVD "James Dean"

Doesn't James Franco look a lot like me?
Doesn't James Franco look a lot like me?

There’s more.

Subsequently, two young would-be car thieves were injured while attempting to steal parts from the car. When one tried to steal the steering wheel from the Porsche, his arm was ripped open on a piece of jagged metal. Later, another man was injured while trying to steal the bloodstained front seat. This was the final straw for Barris who loaned the wrecked car to the California Highway Patrol for a highway safety exhibit.

The garage storing the Spyder went up in flames, destroying everything except the car itself, which suffered almost no damage from the fire. While on display, at a Sacramento high school, the car fell, breaking a student's hip. On the way to Salinas, the truck containing the vehicle lost control causing the driver to fall out, only to be crushed by the Porsche after it fell off the back.

In 1960, after the car was returned to Barris, it mysteriously vanished and has never been found. I guess Alec Guinness knew what he was talking about when he said the car was “sinister.”

“If a man can bridge the gap between life and death ... I mean, if he can live on after his death, then maybe he was a great man.” – James Dean

© Copyright BJ Rakow 2011, Rev. 2015 All rights reserved.

Sources: Andrew, Geoff. The Films of Nicholas Ray (2nd edition), 2004 . . . Frascella, Lawrence and Al Weisel. Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause, 2005.. . . Moss, Marilyn Ann. Giant: George Stevens: A Life on Film. 2004 . . . Osborne, Robert. 75 Years of the Oscar: The Official History of the Academy Awards, 2003 . . . Perry, George. James Dean, 2005 . . . Rathgeb, Douglas L. The Making of Rebel without a Cause, 2004 . . . Schickel, Richard. Elia Kazan: A Biography, 2006 . . . Stock, Dennis. James Dean: Fifty Years Ago, 2005

Films, Plays and Television Appearances

1 - Films
 
 
Walk-on role
Fixed Bayonets
1951
Walk-on role
Sailor Beware
1952
Walk-on role
Has Anybody Seen My Gal
1052
Leading role
East of Eden
1955
Leading role
Rebel Without a Cause
1955
Leading role
Giant
1956
2 - Stage Plays Broadway
See the Jaguar
1952
 
The Immoralist
1954
3 - Plays off Broadway
The Metamorphosis
1952
 
The Scarecrow
1954
 
Women of Trachis
1954
4 - Television
31 dramatic roles
1951 - 1955

Believe it or not, but Jimmy's fans still search for and buy this James Dean style red jacket 56 years after his death.

More by this Author


Comments for Interview with James Dean 93 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 5 years ago from United States

what an exciting event for you! An interview with that sexy James Dean is certainly a coveted event. Excellent interview!


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 5 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

Hello my dear friend, you would big a hunk like Dean, Aw he was so cute.....It's nice to know he is still hanging around with us earthlings. Rate up love & peace darski


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You are hereby awarded the Jimmy Dean Appreciation Award for being the first to visit, Pamela. Yes, this was a very exciting interview talking with such a famous icon. Thank you for the excellent. Jimmy sends hugs. Me, too.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Well I always say, dear Darski, if you're going to conduct an interview with someone famous, you might as well pick a hunk. We haven't forgotten James Dean for over 50 years so he may be good for another 50! Thanks dear for the up.


Feline Prophet profile image

Feline Prophet 5 years ago from India

Aha, I'm sure this was one interview you really enjoyed doing! :)


breakfastpop profile image

breakfastpop 5 years ago

Well done! Bravo! When I look at the picture's of James Dean I swear I am looking at my late brother-in-law. The resemblance is remarkable.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

Oh Carp, I haven't got a snowball's chance in heck of competing with this fabulous hub! I didn't even like James Dean before now. I'm sure we'll see you in the winner's circle for this one.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Excellent! I remember him well.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 5 years ago from Southern Illinois

I loved this. I saw the movie, 'Giant' not long ago. They don't make movies like that anymore. I felt sad reading this, i guess thinking about Liz, don't misunderstand, i really enjoyed your funny dialogue with Dean. I just have the feeling if he could have been honest about his sexuality, he might have been happier in life. Thank you.

Cheers


amillar profile image

amillar 5 years ago from Scotland, UK

It wasn't a long career, but it was one of the most famous.

Up and useful.


Chatkath profile image

Chatkath 5 years ago from California

What a great Hub, no doubt the most detailed account of the short life of your friend and mine James Dean! Wonderful and interesting read!


De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

Do you get paid for these interviews? You should be making a bundle if there was any justice in this world :-)


Green Lotus profile image

Green Lotus 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

Rated up as usual. Fine reporting doc...you had my undivided attention. I have a soft spot for James as I also lost a dear 26 year old cousin named Jimmy who died in a Porsche sports car in the 1950's. That car is a bad deal. I still would never own one.


mckbirdbks profile image

mckbirdbks 5 years ago from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas

This is an excellent Hub. My dilemma now is which was better, Dean or Wilde?


schoolgirlforreal profile image

schoolgirlforreal 5 years ago from USA

Thanks for this, I never knew much about James Dean except he was in Rebel without a cause which I haven't even seen, since I'm not from that generation. Interesting!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You are so right, Feline Prophet, m'dear - it was an exceptional pleasure to talk with Jimmy. He was so open, so obliging, and soooooo cute!


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

Yet another of your sparkling interviews. You always seem to pick the most interesting subjects, and you bring out the essence of the character so well. The research must take you ages.

Thank you.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 5 years ago from Deep South, USA

An intriguing subject and enthralling interview, drbj. Guess your supernatural method is the best way to get the scoop on things previously unreported about a subject, eh? No matter who looks like him or whose acting seems similar, there's never been another actor quite like James Dean, and I still enjoy watching his movies. JAYE


Sweetsusieg profile image

Sweetsusieg 5 years ago from Michigan

What a lucky gal you are, having James Dean look you up for an Interview!! He had to have heard great things thru the grapevine about you! What a hunk of burnin' love he was!!

My dear friend, when are you going to put these lovely interviews on e-books? When I told my daughter about this Interview she wanted me to find a way for her to put it on her Nook!!

I do have a request... was perhaps Elvis lurking somewhere in the shadows waiting for his interview? I can't wait to see who you dig up next!! (oops slip of the fingers there!)

Rated up - Awesome and shared!!


Sembj profile image

Sembj 5 years ago

Great article - James Dean is one of my favorite actors and you've done a good job.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

OMG, bp, your brother-in-law who resembled Jimmy must have been a cutie. Thank you for the well done and the bravo. You and your estimable comments are always appreciated.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Not true, Lela, although I do appreciate your fulsome comments, especially the 'fabulous.' Your hubs are always eminently readable as well as helpful. But thanks for the lovely words - winning is always fun!

BTW, love the 'carp' epithet. Will probably start using it myself if you don't mind.


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

As always an excellent hub and a great tribute to James Dean who was an unusual but great actor. Thank you for the hard work.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

As always, BJ wonderfully done and how interesting. How tragic about his death - I had no idea that's how he died. Or about him maybe playing for 'both teams'. Clever as ever!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

So, you remember Jimmy well, Will? You had to be a very young whipper snapper at the time, right? Thanks for the excellent, my friend, I would describe your stories in the same way.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You are on the mark, Ruby, they do not make movies like 'Giant' any more. I got the same feeling of sadness as I completed this hub and realized that Liz was no longer around nor was Rock, nor Jimmy, nor Natalie, nor Sal to name a few of the stars.

Jimmy might have wanted to have been more open about his sexuality but he lived in an era where you didn't disclose preferences - if you wanted to remain a star.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, amillar, for the up and useful. As you pointed out, Jimmy had a very short career - only three films - but became one of the most famous movie stars, winning Academy Awards for two out of three of his movies.

It wasn't a long career, but it was one of the most famous.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Chatkath - thank you for the exceptional comments. I try to include as much detail as my subject is 'willing' to disclose. Delighted that Jimmy was your friend, too.


wavegirl22 profile image

wavegirl22 5 years ago from New York, NY

I still have chills running up my spine, so I can not even imagine how it felt to interview one of the sexiest men to have ever graced this earth. Cool doesn't even begin to describe James Dean .. .too young too soon to have left us, but thanks to interviewes like Hubs very own drbj to keep his memory alive!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Oh, sweet Dimi, from your lips to God's ears. If only she would listen.

Thank you for that outstanding comment.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Hillary, for your rapt attention, the up and the 'as usual.'

So sorry you lost your dear cousin in a Porsche sports car accident in the 50s. Porsche sports cars like many other fast and expensive sports cars go so fast so easily with so little effort, it takes superhuman effort to keep from testing their speed and endurance. Or so I have been told. On the other hand, a Lamborghini or a Maserati would be perfectly safe. NOT!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for the 'excellent,' mckbirdbks. Would really hate to see you in a dilemma. Perhaps we could just label Dean as the best supernatural interview of a movie star with two posthumous Academy Awards interviews - so far.

And say that Wilde is the best unearthly interview with a British writer known for his witticisms - so far. Whatcha think?


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Rose, thanks for stopping by. If you have cable TV, you can still catch one of Jimmy's films - one of the three is generally aired every so often. My favorite was 'Giant,' but they are all shown occasionally. No charge, just supply your own popcorn ... and Dots or Goobers ... and soda.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, christopher, for your gracious comments. Delighted you found this interview with Jimmy 'sparkling.' What a lovely effervescent adjective.

Fortunately, it will probably take time for me to run out of interesting subjects ... unless they see me coming and run the other way. Research does take time but I do enjoy it. Keeps me out of trouble.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Me, too, Jaye. Although it's been a long time, like you, I still enjoy Jimmy's movies. There has never been a lack of theatrical hopefuls trying to imitate his style and acting 'chops,' but to date no one else seems to come close.

Thank you for the intriguing and enthralling - two of my favorite adjectives.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Love your description, susie, of Jimmy as a 'hunk of burnin love.' That was definitely a clue to your biggest idol, Elvis. Right?

I have considered interviewing the Pelvis but it will take some time to compile the info. We'll see. I have also contemplated publishing these supernatural interviews as an ebook. Perhaps I will when I have a few more finished. Tell your lovely daughter to be patient.

Thanks as always for your sweet comments, the awesome and sharing.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Not only do we share part of a name, Sembj, but we also share an admiration of James Dean. Thanks for visiting and the 'good job.'


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Hanna, for your most gracious remarks. No need to thank me for the hard work - it was entirely my pleasure, believe me. Delighted to see we share an admiration for James Dean and his work.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Howdy, Audrey, m'luv. Thanks for appreciating my Jimmy Dean interview - delighted you found it interesting and "wonderfully done." That's how I like my interviews to be.

Jimmy was so young when he died, I often wonder how would he have fared as an actor as he grew older? As for 'playing on both sides,' that was far more of an obstacle in the 50s than it seems to be today.

And oh, yes, thanks for the 'clever as ever!' So are you, babe.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Well, as you might imagine, Shari, I did have to take a cold shower both before and after the James Dean interview. He definitely is, was, whatever, a likable hunk.

Chills running up your spine? You ARE a fan! It was my pleasure to keep the memory alive of a legend that left us much too soon.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

I imagine everything was harder for folks back then when it came to their preferences - he sure was a hottie. He was a little before my time but I can always appreciate a good looking man...no matter what 'team' he was on - I figure that's HIS biz and not mine! Gosh your article made me miss Paul, too though....where have all the handsome men gone....isn't that a song?


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

I'm with you, Audrey, Jimmy was a cutie no matter which side he played on - it was a loss for all of us.

And those song lyrics - I think it went "Where have all the young girls gone ... " or something like that. How's the baby? No, not Bob? The puppy?


saddlerider1 profile image

saddlerider1 5 years ago

Another excellent read, next it should be Marlon Brando, Steve McQueen or the blue eyed handsome Paul Newman. They all had similarities. I lived my young life around these characters. Drove fast motorcycles and hot cars, leather jackets, wellington boots, street rumbles and Man-Daddy O-slick-cool-love that beat-grease lightning-skid marks and so many other pet words we used back then was common.

There is something about being somewhat reclusive and independent. The girls liked our bad boy looks and toughness in the streets. I sure had my fill of fights and chasing my favorite girls after school.

James Dean was one of my favorites to go see at the movie house, he lived a fast but short life, but I don't think he would have had it any other way. Live fast, hard and die young and good looking. Elvis took a page from his book to.

It's amazing to see all the actors you put in this hub, all deceased now, yet major players in their era. The last of the greatest ICONs Liz Taylor passes at 79 and will be remembered for eternity. One of the best on the silver screen.

Great write as always, I thoroughly enjoy them, each one is so informative and packed with delightful quotes and videos. Love em all. Bravo, I applaud, now take a bow.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

...well I just left our buddy's hallowed hubspace (Hello Hello) and I just entered another one - hallowed hubspace, that is - and yes I send everyone here too - your hub subjects are the best and you put so much into it - a standing ovation for you too and please take a much deserved bow!!!! And if Mr. Dean could look down from his race track in the sky he would be mighty impressed because this is the definitive James Dean tribute ever - and a little homework assignment for you - granted it's a disturbed and deranged film and I really don't understand it but in David Croneberg's Crash - they reconstruct and recreate the fatal crash of James Dean and his mechanic.

Footnote: and one of the most important - your poetic comments to me are legendary and will never be forgotten by the epi-man - and yes I appreciate them and you so much!!!!


SUSANJK profile image

SUSANJK 5 years ago from Florida

He really was amazing. Well researched and written.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

How nice to meet you, SUSANJK. Jimmy thanks you for finding him. And I thank you for the gracious comments. Come back any time.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

Apart from yourself, they don't come any more famous than that poor misrepresented young fellow. He was a real man's man, who got a gong on the head instead of one in trophy cabinet. If our Liz liked him then he really was a good bloke. His dad needed a gong on the head too. Cheers from another famous icon.


RealHousewife profile image

RealHousewife 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

How clever of you to write these interviews like this! James Dean was gorgeous. I really didn't know so much about him. Very sad but he is an interesting guy. Creepy about the car - I wonder what happened to it!

Excellent and interesting hub!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Ken. You named most of my favorite male stars of yesteryear in your first sentence - Brando, McQueen and Newman. They were and are icons. The only one I would add to that list is Clark Gable - but then he was way before your time. He had that same sort of charisma - adored by women and admired by men. From your photo and your writings, you may possess more than a little yourself.

Jimmy and Elvis did seem to subscribe to that old adage: live hard, die young, and have a good-looking corpse. Not much future there but a helluva present!

Isn't it sad how many of those icons are gone? And Liz will always be in a class of her own. She lived life on her own terms.

Thanks for the bravo and the applause, dear Ken. Can you see me bowing?


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

'Hallowed hubspace?' Colin. It will be hard to maintain that kind of standard of excellence. But I will do my best.

Thank you more that I can say for your outstanding comments and an ovation, too? My cup runneth over.

I'll have to take a look at that film of Croneberg that you mention. If it's as disturbed and deranged as his movies usually are, it will be worth the look.

I am more than delighted that you appreciate my poetic comments on your amazing epigrammatic hubs - believe me, it's entirely MY pleasure. And I appreciate you, too.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Keith, yes, Jimmy was a good bloke and he certainly did not deserve to die at such a young age at the height of his career.

I agree with you. If Liz Taylor was his friend, then he was definitely someone special.

I do appreciate hearing from famous icons like yourself, you know.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, RH, Jimmy was cute, wasn't he? He played the part of a 50s rebel so well because he really was one. Pres. Reagan called him his 'favorite rebel.'

Thanks for enjoying this Interview. That car really was sinister - even supernatural. No one seems to have a clue as to what happened to it.


attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 5 years ago from Australia

I'm a legend in my own lunch box.


Jane Bovary profile image

Jane Bovary 5 years ago from The Fatal Shore

Geeze that car is a mess. Jimmy was so gorgeaous and so *intense*. Seems to me he was always willing to go to the edge...guess he went too far over. I loved him in East of Eden and I actually read the book over the summer holidays. It was worth the effort.

Great stuff drbj


sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 5 years ago

As always, a great interview. And as always, information I hadn't known of. Now I have to go back to one I seem to have missed...


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

A legend in your own lunch box, Keith? Now that's funny. Can I purchase one at Walmart?


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Jane. I think that 'intenseness' in addition to the cuteness was one of the things that made Jimmy so appealing. You are right - he did like to live on the edge - his ultimate undoing. Thanks for the visit and the gracious comments.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks, sheila, for enjoying this interview. Jimmy thanks you, too. He still loves to be in the limelight.


lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 5 years ago from Alberta and Florida

"You're tearing me apart!"

I was just a slip of a girl when Rebel Without a Cause came out. My older sister, my senior by six years had to babysit me the night she had plans to go see it. Instead of changing the date, she reluctantly (and mad as hell) took me along. She made me sit all by myself, several rows away from her and her friends. (Which suited me just fine.) Ah -- Jimmy Dean. The memories.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Ah, Lynda, I can see you now. Watching Jimmy Dean in the darkness of the theater and enjoying him and his performance all by yourself. Your sister gave you a genuine treat that night.

Delighted I could you walk you down memory lane once more. Thank you for sharing your tale. You are an exceptionally compassionate soul who deserves sweet memories.


katiem2 profile image

katiem2 5 years ago from I'm outta here

WOW what a sexy guy and I too feel a gentle soul. What a great interview with James Dean, You've done him justice. Nice :) Great photos, I'll def be back to revisit this interview with James Dean. :) Katie


vocalcoach profile image

vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

Superb interview and tribute to one of my favorite actors. An exciting read which invites one to return and read again. A bit of trivia - I grew up in Lynwood, California near "Imperial and Atlantic Blvd". My street was "Virginia Ave" - 11035. Virginia ran parallel with Atlantic Blvd. "The Barris Brothers Auto Shop" was directly behind my house, almost using the same backyard.

As a little girl, I would "play" in the Barris Garage and watch the brothers working on cars. More than once, we all shared sandwhiches and soda-pop and I would sing for them. My father used to complain about the noise late at night coming from "the back yard" as the boys worked away on one car after another. At that time, I had no idea that "these boys" would build the "Batmobil".

I had to share this with you. Thank you for taking me on a delightful trip back in time, down memory lane. :) vocalcoach


mysterylady 89 profile image

mysterylady 89 5 years ago from Florida

I found the story of the sinister car even more intriguing than the life of James Dean. I wonder where its remains are lurking!

Great research! I had no idea how active he had been in such a short life!

Vocalcoach made a fascinating comment. It's a small, small world.


susannah42 profile image

susannah42 5 years ago from Florida

I loved James Dean and saw all of his movies. I still sometimes rent them to watch again and remind me how much I loved him.


Docmo profile image

Docmo 5 years ago from UK

another great posthumous interview drbj- you really do put a lot of effort and impeccable research into yours. It is a sad tale to lost such raw talent. The info on Alec Guinness' warning and the tale of the 'haunted' Porsche Spyder sent shivers down my spine. voted up/awesome as always!


Radioguy profile image

Radioguy 5 years ago from Maine

I really love how you put this together! Photo and video choices are great!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Yes, katie, he was a very sexy guy and I think many folks felt that 'gentle soul' that you mentioned.

Thanks so much for enjoying this interview as much as I enjoyed putting it all together. :)


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Audrey, thank you for your exceptional comments. 'Superb' is one of my favorite hub-describing adjectives.

What a very small world indeed. Imagine! You had the Barris boys in your backyard. That's exceptional, too.

No thanks are necessary for the trip down memory lane because it's one of my favorite things to provide.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hello, mysterylady - so the sinister 'Little Bastard' car intrigued you? Me, too. What also intrigued me was Alec Guinness making that remark about the car one week before poor Jimmy met his end.

Where is it now? Probably the remains are lurking in some junkyard or it's been compressed into scrap.

Thanks for your gracious comments.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, susannah. Wouldn't Jimmy be pleased to know how many wonderful fans like yourself still rent and view his movies today which were made over half a century ago. That's a genuine tribute to him. Thanks for letting me know.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, docmo, for your appreciation of my latest posthumous interview. Your recognition of my effort and 'impeccable' research does mean a lot coming from an impeccable researcher like yourself.

It does seem that Alec Guinness was a bit prescient about that supernatural Spyder, doesn't it?


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Radioguy, thank you for appreciating my efforts in putting this hub together and enjoying the photos and videos as well. It has been my pleasure.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 5 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

I just kept thinking that he'd surely be impressed with your modern automobile despite it all. . . .


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

You know, Wesman, the same thought occurred to me. Jimmy was such a lover of fine automobiles he would surely be impressed by today's fast cars. As you say, despite it all ...

And he would have loved the Maybach Exelero - see my hub "World's Most Outrageously Expensive Car."

Thanks for stopping by.


Amy Becherer profile image

Amy Becherer 5 years ago from St. Louis, MO

It's amazing how much information you gather from these long gone famous people. The car story is completely wild and I can't believe this is the first I ever learned of it. I wonder where it went? Probably parked in the underground garage where I live. That'd be about right! I don't like the fact that James Dean's distant father reaped the rewards of his son's estate. But, then again, maybe James Dean would have wanted it just that way. Beautiful and completely engrossing, drbj.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Ah, Famous Amy - welcome! Thank you for visiting and the outstanding comments - delighted you enjoyed this. I agree with you, it is amazing how much information one can elicit - with the right questions, that is.

With regard to the missing Porsche, perhaps some rich collector has it stored in an underground garage - for his or her viewing enjoyment only.

Doesn't seem fair that Jimmy's father should be the only heir but then that may have been something, as you say, that Jimmy would have wished. He had a very giving personality.


Ghost32 5 years ago

I'd never studied up on James Dean, with the result that while I more or less knew about his brief film career, I'd NOT known about the Curse of the Spyder. THAT is plenty fascinating, real life Stephen King stuff.

Bet Christine (the homicidal Plymouth) has a crush on that little Porsche to this day....


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Ghost, I'm not surprised that the Curse of the Spyder was new to you. Only Jimmy Dean aficionados probably know that story. It is fascinating and a little eerie. Good point about Christine the Car and a potential fatal attraction. Thanks for stopping by.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

....well as you know no one raves about your legendary interview series as much as I do which is the reason why I frequently revisit your 'classics' like this one - in fact I will post this hub right now to my Facebook page with a direct link back here .......with warm wishes from your buddy Colin for your health, well being and happiness ......from the nothern shores of lake erie at 12:20 pm on a Sunday afternoon here in Ontario, Canada.


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

A return visit, Colin? I am more than honored and delighted as well. Jimmy would be pleased, too. Thank you for posting to your FB page - that is an estimable honor, too.

Thank you for those wonderful wishes and I wish the same for you right backatcha. From the eastern shore of the Atlantic on an 80 degree evening. Stay well and happy, Epi-man!


Internetwriter62 profile image

Internetwriter62 5 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

Hi drbj,

I am happy to be in your corner once more, I do say, that was a fabulous interview, I really enjoyed it. I never really knew much about James Deans except for his role in films like East of Eden, Giant and Rebel without a Cause. Your article really brought him to life. I really enjoyed this one. It is a rare talent to be able to interview those from the great beyond. Fascinating! Rated it up!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida Author

I, too, am happy you are in my corner once more, Internetwriter. It has been my distinct pleasure to bring Jimmy to life for you. I am almost as surprised as you at my rare supernatural interviewing talent and will do my best to nurture and enhance it. Thanks for the 'fascinating' and the up.

If you get the chance, let me know what you think of my Interview with Bruce Lee.


Internetwriter62 profile image

Internetwriter62 5 years ago from Marco Island, Florida

It will be my pleasure, I'm sure I will enjoy learning about what Mr. Lee has to to say from the great beyond.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 4 years ago

...and I am posting this beauty too at my new FB group called Let's just talk music or cinema - come and have a look if you would like - and I sincerely hope all is well with you my friend - I miss our friend though Hello Hello - that was awful what the Hub did to her I thought

lake erie time 10:17pm


Deborah Brooks profile image

Deborah Brooks 4 years ago from Brownsville,TX

wow. I am so glad that Colin shared this on face book.. this is the most awesome hub.I learned things I had no idea.. you did a wonderful job at this interview.. Excellent read

Debbie


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Colin, for the FB posting, you ARE a sweetheart - but you already know that, you devil, you. I wanted to contact Hanna but do not have her email address; do you happen to know it? Never did learn exactly what the problem was. Thanks again for your support as always.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Debbie, so nice to meet you thanks to Colin and FB. I'm so glad he shared this hub, too. Delighted you learned some new information about Jimmy. With comments like awesome hub and wonderful job, you are welcome any time, m'dear.


Girl 4 years ago

What was the date this interview taken place?


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Girl. What an extraordinary name! The interview took place recently. Why do you ask?


dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

This is a great portrayal of James Dean and his and death. I graduated from high school in 1955 and Dean was easy to identify with. I also admired his devotion to the art and craft of acting.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Although I didn't identify with James Dean as much as you may have, Don, I did admire his outstanding acting ability. Thank you for enjoying this portrayal of a talent who left us much too soon.


awordlover profile image

awordlover 2 years ago

What a great interview! I've been reading your other hubs too. You have clearly cornered the market on supernatural conversations. Good hub, voted up.

Rachael


drbj profile image

drbj 2 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Rachael, thank you for the extraordinary, superlative comments and the Up. It is so nice to meet you. Yep, supernatural has become my thing.

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