Tag Archives: John Steinbeck

How good was James Dean?

A chance viewing on Youtube moved me to write this story 58 years after James Dean died. In that viewing I discovered a connection to my past going back sixty years which I never knew existed until now. It is tempting to dismiss it or put it down to coincidence or just one of those things, as we are often prone to say. But it did set me thinking, what a small, strange world we live in and how we are so closely linked, one way or another.

James Dean
James Dean (23)

In my youth I had a strong inner feeling about actor James Dean (1932 -1955) who sadly only made three movies. He starred in the film adaptation of John Steinbeck’s novel ‘East of Eden’ for which he received an Oscar nomination posthumously. Then the definitive ‘Rebel without a cause’ which made him an icon and role model for many young people and finally ‘Giant’ with Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson. He again received a posthumous Oscar nomination for ‘Giant’ and became the first actor to be nominated twice posthumously. That feeling or connection; call it what you will, has stayed with me throughout my life. It is certainly not an obsession but is nevertheless powerful. I was certainly not alone as he possessed such a powerful persona and a charisma that deeply affected many of his generation and generations thereafter. Many in the film industry believed that he was destined to be a great actor. Certainly his performances in such a short career were compelling so it is not unreasonable to think that we missed the best of a great talent. Continue reading How good was James Dean?