THE DEATH OF JAMES DEAN by Warren Newton Beath


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The exhumation of what appears to be every scrap of detail regarding the automobile accident death of Dean on September 30, 1955, near Cholame, California; included as well is information about the inquest and lengthy incursions into the thoughts and behavior of Dean ""disciples."" When Dean died, he had made only three movies--East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant--and only the first had been released. But like Marilyn Monroe, he has exerted a powerful posthumous pull on his fans, even those not yet born when he died. Beath devotes half the book to the thoughts and actions of Dean devotees as they put out newsletters, collect photos and mementos, write manuscripts about the crash, hold meetings, and vie with each other to contact and even prey on Dean's relatives and friends, including Maila Nurmi, TV's ""Vampira."" Some of the details are interesting (Dean's passenger, who survived the accident, was later to die in a car crash; Dean's money was stolen by the ambulance attendants), others gratuitous (the often-stolen polished stones at the base of the Dean monument at the Cholame garage are from Japan). The only new pertinent information is that Dean may not have been speeding and that the accident may have been the fault of the other driver. Of interest mainly to Dean addicts and necrophiliacs.

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 1986
ISBN: 0802131433
Publisher: Grove