James Dean: Stories Of The Legendary Actor You Haven't Heard Yet

James Dean driving a convertible with the roof down. 1950s (Photo by Mondadori via Getty Images)

Rakish and silent, James Dean was an actor who defined a generation with only a handful of roles. While he’s stellar in East of Eden (1955) and Giant (1956), his most important role came in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), the first film to really understand teenage life. Even though he was a heartthrob, there was more to the actor than his brooding good looks. Dean’s life was a series of attempts to escape, first from his tumultuous childhood and then from the star machine that he found himself in following his move to Hollywood. During his brief film career he rubbed elbows with cult celebrities like Vampira and stars like Alec Guinness while drag racing and trying his best to lead a regular love life.