James Dean

Although his acting career was just tragically short, James Dean starred in three movies, appeared in numerous television shows and took to the stage on multiple occasions.


Even though he only starred in three films, James Dean was nominated for two Academy Awards, for his performances in "East of Eden" and "Giant." He was a widely admired screen personality, a personification of the restless American youth of the mid-50's, and an embodiment of the title of one of his film "Rebel Without A Cause."

East of Eden

East of Eden

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

Rebel Without a Cause

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.



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.


Fixed Bayonets 1951
Sailor Beware 1952
Has Anybody Seen My Gal? 1952

Movies Inspired by James Dean

The James Dean Story 1957
James Dean: The First American Teenager 1976
September 30, 1955 1977
Come Back to The Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean 1982
James Dean: Live Fast, Die Young 1977
James Dean: Race With Destiny 1998
James Dean 2001


Although he was best known for his role in movies, James Dean also occasionally appeared on television shows such as "Studio One" and "Treasury Men in Action." Although they are not as well known as his movies, they still had an impact on his acting career and style.

Hill Number One on Family Theater 1951
Sleeping Dogs on The Web 1952
Ten Thousand Horses Singing on Studio One 1952
The Foggy, Foggy Dew on Lux Video Theater 1952
Prologue To Glory on Kraft Television 1952
Abraham Lincoln on Studio One 1952
Forgotten Children on Hallmark Hall of Fame 1952
The Case of the Watchful Dog on Treasury Men in Action 1953
The Capture of Jesse James on You Are There 1953
No Room on Danger 1953
The Case of the Sawed-Off Shotgun on Treasury Men in Action 1953
Something for an Empty Briefcase on Campbell Soundstage 1953
Sentence of Death on Studio One Summer Theatre 1953
Death Is My Neighbor on Danger 1953
The Evil Within on Tales of Tomorrow 1953
The Big Story 1953
Glory in The Flower on Omnibus 1953
Keep Our Honor Bright on Kraft Television Theatre 1953
Life Sentence on Campbell Soundstage 1953
A Long Time Till Dawn on Kraft Television Theatre 1953
The Bells of Cockaigne on Armstrong Circle Theatre 1951
Harvest on Robert Montgomery Presents... The Johnson's Wax Program 1953
The Little Woman on Danger 1954
Run Like a Thief on Philco TV Playhouse 1954
Padlocks on Danger 1954
I'm a Fool on General Electric Theatre 1954
The Dark, Dark Hour on Geleral Electric Theatre 1954
The Thief on Family Theater 1951
The Unlighted Road on Schlitz Playhouse of Stars 1955


James Dean's career as an actor began on a stage in Fairmount, Indiana. He was still performing on stage in 1954, however this time it was on Broadway, in a show called "The Immoralist."

Broadway Plays

See The Jaguar 1952
The Immoralist 1954

Off-Broadway Plays

The Metamorphosis 1952
The Scarecrow 1953
Women of Trachis 1954

School, Summer Stock & Church Productions

Macbeth at UCLA
She Was Only a Farmer's Daughter at Santa Monica City College
The Romance of Scarlet Gulch at Summer Stock
To Them That Sleep in Darkness at Church
An Apple from Coles County at Fairmount High School
Gone With The Wind at Fairmount High School
The Monkey's Paw at Fairmount High School
Mooncalf Mugford at Fairmount High School
Our Hearts Were Young and Gay at Fairmount High School
You Can't Take It With You at Fairmount High School