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February 8, 1931
James Byron Dean was a two-time Oscar-nominated American film
actor. Dean's status as a cultural icon is best embodied in the title of
his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause, in which he
starred as troubled stereotypical high school rebel Jim Stark. The other
two roles that defined his star power were as the awkward loner Cal
Trask in East of Eden, and as the surly farmer Jett Rink in Giant.
His enduring fame and popularity rests on only three films, his entire
starring output. His death at a young age helped guarantee a legendary
status. He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award
nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two
posthumous acting nominations (although other people had more than one
posthumous nomination in other Oscar categories).
Dean was driving west on U.S. Route 466 (later State Route 46) near
Cholame, California when a black-and-white 1950 Ford Custom Tudor coupe,
driven from the opposite direction by 23-year-old Cal Poly student
Donald Turnupseed, attempted to take the fork onto State Route 41 and
crossed into Dean's lane without seeing him. The two cars hit almost
head on. Dean was taken to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, where he
was pronounced dead on arrival at 5:59 p.m. on September 30, 1955. He
Where are they buried?
- Park Cemetery, Fairmount, Grant County, Indiana
- Sacred Heart Cemetery (Corbeil), Ontario, Canada
- Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Glendale, California
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