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On This Day In Photos: James Dean Died

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ON This Day In Photos: September 30, 1955 – James Dean killed in a car crash. His death secured a legacy and marketable imortality.

James Byron Deadn was 24 when he crashed his Porsche 550 Spyder almost head-on with another car driven by Donald Turnupseed, 30 miles east of Paso Robles. Dean was with his mechanic Rolph Wutherich on his way to a race meeting at Salinas, California. Turnupseeed and Wuthdrich survived. Dean’s neck was broken.

Dean’s last words, having been warned to slow down, were: “That guy’s gotta stop… He’ll see us.” An investigation concluded that “excessive speed” had been a contributory factor in the accident. Other versions say Turnupseed had crossed onto Dean’s lane.

Turnupseed explained: “I didn’t see him coming.”

What happened to him was remarkable, and a sign of how life has changed:

On advise from la California Highway Patrol officer, Turnupseed hitch-hiked to Tulare after the crash. He was treated for a scraped nose and bruises at Tulare District Hospital. Extensive investigation of the accident never established guilt, said C.R. “Budgie” Sturgeon, a partner in Spuhler and Sturgeon Insurance, which had a policy on Turnupseed’s Ford. “It was never established whose fault it was. It just died.”

Rumours abounded that Dean had not died. He was living in a clinic, horribly disfigured and walking on false legs. True? No. But fans could not believe the essence of beautiful youth had died in so mundane a fashion. Death killed the man but made the legend.

Ron Nelson was a California Highway Patrol officer who saw the crash scene:

“Strange thing is, I had never heard of James Dean the actor before the accident. I thought maybe this was Jimmy Dean, the country singer.”

In Photos:

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Hollywood actor James Dean is to star in the forthcoming film of the John Steinbeck novel 'East of Eden'. 01/05/03 : James Dean, who's brooding image has helped movie classic Rebel Without A Cause to be named the most stylish movie ever. The half-century old film about a disgruntled teenager in the Fifties topped a poll organised by UCI Cinemas, capturing a fifth of all votes. Breakfast At Tiffany's was runner-up in the list in which 1,000 people were asked about the most stylish on-screen outfits.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.

  • coolandcalm

    James Dean…. mean, moody, handsome and forever a gorgeous young man. Wonder how he would have aged? would he have become a Redford or a Brando?

  • June

    Possibly a blob, after all look what happened to Elvis and he wasn’t that old when he died

  • Bill Holzman

    He would have become more and more difficult to deal with, and would be with his best buddy Dennis Hopper and partying hard. Dean was one of the best actors in
    his short time with us.