Remembering a Rebel

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Remembering a Rebel

Alexandria Urzua/El Paisano

Alexandria Urzua/El Paisano

Alexandria Urzua/El Paisano

The James Dean bust on display at the Griffith Observatory.

Alexandria Urzua, Staff Writer

The 58th anniversary of the death of actor, James Dean, will be this coming Monday.

On Sept. 30 1955 Dean met his demise on a late afternoon in Cholame, California. Accompanied by mechanic Rolf Weutherich, Dean drove up highway 466 towards Salinas to race his newest sports car. Dean had nick named the new silver Porsche 550 Spyder, “Little Bastard”.

In Cholame, both highways 466 and 41 intersect at a Y-shaped junction, and there is where Dean and motorist, Donald Turnupseed collided in a fatal accident. Dean suffered a broken neck and injuries to his jaw, arms and internal organs. His death appeared to have been instantaneous, dying at the young age of 24.

Ironically enough, a few weeks earlier, Dean had appeared in a road safety promotional film. In this short film, Dean said, “Take it easy driving. The life you save may be mine”.

James Byron Dean was born Feb. 3 1931 in Marion, Indiana. After the early death of his mother, Dean found solace in art, specifically acting and performing. After high school graduation Dean moved out to California in pursuit of an acting career. In California Dean attended both Santa Monica City College and UCLA. In 1951 Dean dropped out of school to focus all his energy into acting.

Dean appeared in numerous television dramas, Broadway plays and movies, but it wasn’t until 1954 when he got his big break, being cast as Cal Trask in Elia Kazan’s film adaptation of East of Eden.

Although Dean’s career consisted of only three  major films, (East of Eden, Rebel Without A Cause and Giant) his legacy and performances have lived on long past his death.

Dean had an undeniable gift and he was capable of bringing sincerity and realness to all his characters. Still it wasn’t only his talent that made him stand out in Hollywood. He didn’t fit into the norm of Hollywood actors, nor did he want to. He’d always stand up for himself to anyone, no matter his or her social status or job title. He would always befriend the out cast, people deemed strange or weird in the conservative early 1950s.

On Sept. 30 I urge you to celebrate the life of a great actor. Either by taking the time to learn more about him, watching one of his films or throwing on a red jacket. There is a lot to appreciate about Dean,  and even more to learn. But if anything, try to live your life in respects to one of Dean’s famous quotes, “Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today”, because life should never be taken for granted.

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