James Dean died September 30, 1955 in an a single car automobile accident. He died at the junction of California State Route 46 (former 466) and California State Route 41. He was 24 years old. I agree that James Dean fans were devastated by his loss. Then maybe just some star they could grieve. James Dean at the time of his death had only one starring film to his credit. Was James Dean a big star in the 1950’s. The big color Elia Kazan film East Of Eden. Then yes Dean was the star of course. This film the only one released in his life time. This film was in theaters in the year1954; East Of Eden was the only film in which he was alive to actually attended the premier. East Of Eden was the only one of his that was in the theaters when he died.
James Dean was free to make Rebel Without A Cause in mid 1955
His fans only saw this film. Was he at this moment big with his fans yet, posthumously I think he was. This actors legend grew after his two final films were released. Giant which he had not toally competed when he died, and released in 1956; By a stroke of luck got a chance to appear in Rebel Without A Cause. He had a few months break in the filming of Giant. We can thank Elizabeth Taylor’s pregnancy for that. The filming had to be halted till June of 1955; This paved the way for him to shoot all his scene for Rebel With Out A Cause, and then resume his filming for Giant.
Montgomery Clift was the bigger star in 1955
Let’s revisit East of Eden for a minute. This film was said to catapult Dean to super stardom. I think maybe to some degree yes. I’m not totally convinced regardless. Let’s say Tom Cruise first starring role was Risky Business which was released in 1983; Then Cruise dies in late 1984. All we know of Cruise is this film, and then Top Gun is released in 1986
So I personally do not believe this one film made him this great star. In my opinion Montgomery Clift was more regarded as the bigger sawed after actor at this time in 1955, and 1956; I do agree that East of Eden was a massive hit. I can see if Marlon Brando or Montgomery Clift met their demise in the mid 1950s he had enough of a body of work that fans would miss.
Was James Dean a big star in the 1950’s. As in the Hollywood community more that acroess the country