Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean & Rock Hudson on the set of Giant (1956)

The day after James Dean's death was announced, director George Stevens required a distraught and inconsolable Taylor to complete reaction shots for a scene she had played with Dean. The actress never forgave him.

James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor on the set of Giant

Giant, released at the beginning of 1956, is still remembered not only for its particularly long running time but more notably as the last film James Dean made. He died just after the main shooting had completed at the wheel of his Porsche at the junction of California State Route 46 (former 466) and California State Route 41. He was 24 years old. The Manchester Guardian, described the movie as ‘not a great film but certainly an awesome one,’ but thought Dean’s role beyond his raw, albeit talented, acting ability.  The newspaper also noted that it contained a ‘long sustained achievement in acting by Elizabeth Taylor which is an astonishing revelation of unsuspected gifts.’

Most of the photos in this post were taken in 1955 by Frank Worth who, despite being friends with many actors and actresses including James Dean Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra, James Cagney and Pat O’Brien, died virtually penniless in December 2000. His cousin, acting executor, found 10,000 negatives in Worth’s dilapidated apartment. Some of these photos auctioned by Christie’s in London in 2002 were described as “the most extraordinary collection of its kind for the past 50 years”. Frank Worth’s friendship with many of the stars he photographed meant that his photos were more candid than the usual posed glamour portraits more typical of the era.

Frank Worth on the set of Giant 1956

Elizabeth Taylor

Frank Worth on the set of Giant 1956

James Dean

Frank Worth on the set of Giant 1956

James Dean

Rock Hudson and George Stevens

James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor

London Illustrated News, January 1957

Frank Worth on the set of Giant 1956

NOVEMBER 24: Actress Elizabeth Taylor and as actor James Dean sit in a car on the set of the movie ‘Giant’ which was released on November 24, 1956. (Photo by Frank Worth)

Frank Worth on the set of Giant 1956

James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor

James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor

Frank Worth on the set of Giant 1956

Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson

Frank Worth on the set of Giant 1956

Rock Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and George Stevens

Frank Worth on the set of Giant

Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean

Frank Worth on the set of Giant

Elizabeth Taylor

More photos from Giant

James Dean

Poster

Giant 1956

publicity shot

Giant 1956

Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean

Giant 1956

James Dean

Giant 1956

James Dean as Jett Rink, Rock Hudson as Jordan Bick Benedict and Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Lynnton Benedict, cutting cake.

Giant 1956

Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Lynnton Benedict.

Giant 1956

Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Lynnton Benedict, seated wearing cowboy hat, Rock Hudson as Jordan Bick Benedict shirtless, wearing sunglasses, and director George Stevens wearing hat.

Giant 1956

Director George Stevens seated with Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Lynnton Benedict.

Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Lynnton Benedict visited by James Dean who plays Jett Rink (in his Rebel Without A Cause costume) before he had started work on the film himself.

Director George Stevens, Elizabeth Taylor as Leslie Benedict and Rock Hudson as Jordan Bick Benedict, relaxing between scenes.

Director George Stevens (center, white hat), seated with cameraman and crew, watching Rock Hudson as Jordon Bick Benedict standing on porch stairs.

James Dean as Jett Rink surrounded by cast and crew, all watching writer Edna Ferber twirl lasso.

Director George Stevens, wearing hat, and shirtless James Dean as Jett Rink, wearing sunglasses, cigarette in mouth.

Giant 1956

Elizabeth Taylor signing autographs in between takes

Giant poster

Carroll Baker

James Dean

Giant 1956

James Dean

Edna Ferber and George Stevens on the set of Giant, 1956

Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and George Stevens

James Dean publicity shot

Rock Hudson’s wardrobe test for Giant

Elizabeth Taylor’s wardrobe test for Giant

Liz Taylor in ‘Giant’ by Floyd McCarthy, 1956

Rock Hudson & Elizabeth Taylor, filming a scene in Giant (1956)

James Dean on the set of Giant directed by George Stevens, 1956

James Dean cleans up after filming the oil scene in Giant, (1956

George Stevens and Elizabeth Taylor