JAMES DEAN: A Short Life by Venable Herndon

JAMES DEAN: A Short Life

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Dean as an Aquarian standing on the brink of the Age of Aquarius sets the mood for this silly biography of his life and great Hollywood death -- a la Valentino and Monroe in the folklore -- which the author suggests was ordained, maybe actually written in the stars (there's an extensive astrological chart included). And the facts that Dean had bad eyesight and was an erratic driver seem too prosaic to fit the image of la fatalite which is also given a boost by the mystique of a love-starved kid whose mother died when he was nine. Added all together after his death, it made a legend that was to become instant box-office -- which is more than can be said for Herndon's book (see also Dalton, above). The author, who wrote the screenplay of Alice's Restaurant (with Arthur Penn), had more focus on those '60's rebels with causes aplenty than he has on this sad adolescent who died at the romantic peak of his emotional deprivation.

Pub Date: Sept. 13th, 1974
Publisher: Doubleday