James Dean became a racing enthusiast late in his short life. He harboured dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500, however realistically this was never going to happen with his star on the rise. Dean was one of the hottest young actors of his generation. He is best remembered for his roles in East of Eden (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Giant (1956). Unfortunately, a promising career was cut short late in September 1955.
In the late afternoon, on the 30th September, in between filming commitments, that James Dean who longed for a return to racing (Warner Brothers banned Dean from racing while filming Giant), jumped into his car with his mechanic friend Rolf Wutherich. With James Dean at the wheel, they planned to drive to Salinas for an upcoming race. Unfortunately, tragedy struck when Dean crashed his high-powdered Porsche speedster almost head-on with a Ford Tudor sedan at the junction of State Highways 41 and 46, near Cholame, California. James Dean died that afternoon at the age of twenty-four.
Interestingly, almost immediately after his death, James Dean became a pop icon. He was instantly recognized as the face of teenage delinquency (thanks to his film Rebel Without a Cause) and as the king of cool.
Photo Credits: The image of James Dean in his Porsche speedster is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 license. I am not the uploader of the You Tube clip embedded here.