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Dates That Matter

September 30, 1955

Actor James Dean is dead.

 Why does it matter?

James Dean (who is not the same person as sausage maker Jimmy Dean) was a 1950s movie icon. His most famous roles were as a rebellious teen in the movie "Rebel Without a Cause" and as another troubled character in the movie "Giant" which was released after his death. Dean's real life was also troubled. His mother died when he was 9 and his father sent him to live with relatives. As an adult, Dean began racing sports cars, and he was driving a Porsche 550 Spyder to a race when he hit another car head on and was killed at the age of 24.

James Dean came to symbolize the 1950s rebellious teenager and probably inspired several other movie and television characters, and is mentioned regularly in pop songs like Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," Don McLean's "American Pie," and Madonna's "Vogue."

For more information...

AMC Photo Slide Show: James Dean
AMC's slide show of James Dean as a Hollywood icon.

The Official Site of James Dean
Biographical information on James Dean.