William Davis | Contributor
James Dean was born Feb. 8, 1931.
Friday would have been Dean’s 88th birthday. The former actor and cultural icon had a massive impact on American culture that still lasts today. (RELATED: Drew Brees Celebrates Milestone Birthday With Playoff Win)
james dean and naomi riordan, 1953. pic.twitter.com/VEjfrQUgOK
— best of old hollywood (@oldhllywoods) January 31, 2019
Dean made his mark playing characters that exhibited inner turmoil and social alienation. Perhaps his most famous performance was the role of Jim Stark in the 1955 drama “Rebel Without A Cause.”
The movie focused on angsty teenagers, and helped cultivate the image that defined Dean’s legacy. The forever-young actor also became known for his role as Cal Trask in “East of Eden” in 1955, and his role as Jett Rink in the 1956 film “Giant,” which debuted in 1956, a year after Dean’s death.
james dean playing with a lasso on the set of “giant” (1956) pic.twitter.com/kluTl48iaL
— best of old hollywood (@oldhllywoods) February 7, 2019
Dean passed away tragically on Sept. 30, 1954 in a car accident. He was only 24 years old.
Dean’s life and career still fascinate many, and his story still serves as perhaps the most famous example of youth and tragedy.