James Dean is the legendary hero with a legendary story; live fast and die young. For over half a century, he has captured the world with his casual style, unflinching look and rebel attitude. James Dean has defined the essence of cool and without-a-cause for generations. His star continues to shine brighter and brighter.
Never has there ever been, never will there ever be. The one, the only, James Dean.
"I liken it to a kind of star or comet that fell through the sky and everybody still talks about it. They say, 'Ah, remember the night when you saw that shooting star?'"
-- Julie Harris
"He seemed to capture that moment of youth, that moment where we're all desperately seeking to find ourselves."
-- Dennis Hopper
"[James Dean] was spectacularly talented, handsome in a fragile sort of way and absolutely outrageous. He was an original. Impish, compelling, magnetic, utterly winning one moment, obnoxious the next. Definitely gifted."
-- Edna Ferber author of best-selling novel "Giant" from her autobiography "A Kind of Magic"
"Sometimes we'd just sit and talk, or we'd listen to music for a couple of hours at a time without saying a word. Sometimes he'd get up and dance. He used to do modern, interpretive things. Jimmy had a wonderful pantomimic gift - I couldn't compare him to anyone else. He had a quality and style all his own."
-- Jane Withers
"In Texas, one disgustingly hot night during the filming of Giant, he and I ate a full jar of peanut butter, a box of crackers and six Milky Ways, and drank twelve Coca-Cola's!"
-- Mercedes McCambridge (Luz Benedict) from her autobiography, "The Quality of Mercy"
"In front of the camera, he had an instinct that was nearly uncanny. I don't recall ever working with anyone who had such a gift. I recall one scene, where he was in a shadow, and had to lift his head to the light. We explained how it should go and he played it exactly right, to the half inch, the first time. He just seemed to know how it should be, without rehearsal or anything."
-- William C. Mellor, Cinematographer
"Jamie and I were like brother and sister. He told me in fact he thought of me as a sister. Our relationship was strictly platonic and spiritual."
-- Eartha Kitt
"Jimmy was a very close and good friend of mine. I have fond memories of Jim, the days we spent together in New York City as young actors --- walking the streets and talking about the theater and wondering about our next job, reading books and discussing them; seeing plays, seeing films; working in acting workshops and being serious young fellows about the thing we loved most, which was acting in the theater and films."
-- Martin Landau
"Jim had a year away from Warner Brothers. We had planned to use that time to get our company started. We would have done both feature pictures and a television series, which would have allowed Jim to break in as a director. I think he would have been a great director."
-- Nicholas Ray
"To the ranchers and the people around there, he was just as nice as could be. Dean came to me and said, 'Bob, I want to be a Texan twenty-four hours a day. I'd like for you to work with me. I'll even pay you out of my pocket.' So I got him some clothes and boots and he starts talking like a Texan every day."
-- Bob Hinkle
"We took a walk that first day, and there was a building going up near Sixth Avenue, and we virtually became sidewalk superintendents by barking orders to people. And we proceeded to go over to Rockefeller Center where there was a young girl skating, and we applauded her and she did her command performance. Our minds, our ability to fantasize, and our ability to communicate was kind of an instant thing. I had an amazingly instant rapport with him, and as a result we became friends immediately. He used to come out to my house, my parents' house in Queens, and my little nephews adored him. [We had] Christmases and Thanksgivings [together]. We were sort of a surrogate family."
-- Martin Landau
On their first meeting
"He turned out to be a fascinating and intelligent young man who talked fluently about artists in music. And he was surprisingly knowledgeable about such recondite composers as Schönberg and Bartók."
-- Oscar Levant
"While we were making Giant, I think we all knew that young Jimmy Dean was giving a performance that not even the extreme adjectives of Hollywood could adequately sum up. It's not often a unit gets a feeling like that."
-- William C. Mellor
"What I remember most about him was the little boy quality shining forth at you from behind those thick glasses of his, tearing at your heart. He had that extreme and touching idealism of youth which made you wish that he would never have to be disillusioned. Now he won't be."
-- Louella Parsons
"Jimmy Dean loved the feel of Indiana soil under his feet and I think that was the source of much of his strength."
-- Adeline Nall
"It wasn't so much a matter of whom I was acting with, it was whom I was watching. Marlon Brando, Maureen Stapleton, Geraldine Page, Jimmy Dean . a pretty hotshot group."
-- Paul Newman
on his apprenticeship at the Actors Studio
"Actually, the person I related to was James Dean. I grew up with the Dean thing. Rebel Without A Cause had a very powerful effect on me."
-- Al Pacino
"The only time I ever worked with James Dean was in a 1953 off-Broadway production called The Scarecrow. He played the Scarecrow's reflection in the mirror. He was an unknown then but he was jolly good in every way. I knew then that he was born to become an actor."
-- Patricia Neal
"Jimmy was not only an internal actor, but an expressionist, which came partly from his studying dance. He would physicalize actions, such as the way he lifted himself up on the windmill in Giant, or goose-stepped measuring off the land, or his sleight-of-hand gesture as Jett Rink. He had the amazing capacity to pick up and learn a new trick almost immediately, tossing a rope and making a knot, a card trick from a magician, coin tricks, racing a car..."
-- Dennis Hopper
"I have never seen an actor as dedicated, with the extreme concentration and exceptional imagination as James Dean. He could take the written imaginary circumstance and make it his own by improvising - lying on the ground in a fetal position playing with a wound-up toy monkey beating its cymbals, giggling while being searched in the police station because it tickled, standing up in a drunken daze making the sound of sirens with his arms outstretched, hitting his fists into the sergeant's desk, jumping off a diving board into a swimming pool with no water, or doing the voice of Mr. Magoo throughout the movie, which was the voice of Jim Backus, his father in Rebel - things that were not written on the page, things that were invented by the actor."
-- Dennis Hopper