|Jim Kiser Evan Hindman
Kymberly Winkler Karen Petrus
Jane McGivney Beth Tafel
Sandy Thompson Larry Truitt
Jim Kinnear Sandy Jacques
William Dalton Wayne Douglas
Linda LaValley Delores Martin
Karen Wise Judy Pfaff
Judy Sweets Bobbie Sims
Edee Scott Walter Wood
Karen Vaughn Mary Fraser
Suzan Farris Patti Kaliher
John Chulick Frank Nollette
Margaret Waterman Rick Roof Jr.
Rick Mackinney Dale Niesen
Diane Rogers David Lepitre
Judy Bethea Kitty Huddleston
Betty Ware Don Holznagel
Grace Hertz Kelly Fetherlin
Jinny Collins Cafi Cohen
Margaret English Dennis Bussey
Jim Berry Alice Miles
Maureen O'Connor Lauren Godburn
Gary Sterne Fred Stuart
Stan Read Neil Ferguson
Lisa Stahlberg Rick Norman
Donald Schulteis Dawn Carlile
fighting, motor racing and the theater.
In high school, Dean's overall performance was mediocre, but he successfully played
on the baseball and basketball team and studied forensics and drama. After graduating
from Fairmount High School on May 16, 1949, Dean moved back to California with his
beagle, Maxx, to live with his father and stepmother.
He enrolled in Santa Monica College (SMCC), pledged to the Sigma Nu fraternity and
majored in pre-law. Dean transferred to UCLA and changed his major to drama, which
resulted in estrangement from his father. While at UCLA, he beat out 350 actors to land
the role of Malcolm in Macbeth. At that time, he also began acting with James
Whitmore's acting workshop. In January 1951, he dropped out of college endeavoring
to pursue his career as an actor.
Dean began his professional acting career with a Pepsi Cola television commercial,
followed by a stint as a stunt tester for the Beat the Clock game show. He quit college
to focus on his budding career, but struggled to get jobs in Hollywood and paid his bills
only by working as a parking lot attendant at CBS Studios.
He actually had very small parts in several films before achieving stardom. The first
film in which he spoke was Sailor Beware, where he played a boxing trainer. The
Paramount comedy starred Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
Following actor James Whitmore's advice, Dean moved to New York City to pursue
live stage acting, where he was accepted to study under Lee Strasberg in the storied
Actors Studio. Dean was very proud of being a member of the Actors Studio. His
career picked up and he did several episodes on early-1950s TV shows such as Kraft
Television Theater, Studio One, Lux Video Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents,
Danger and General Electric Theater. One early role, for the CBS series, Omnibus,
(Glory in the Flower) saw Dean portraying the same type of disaffected youth he
would later immortalize in Rebel Without a Cause (this summer, 1953 program was also
notable for featuring the song "Crazy Man, Crazy", one of the first dramatic TV
programs to feature rock and roll music). Positive reviews for his role in André Gide's
The Immoralist led to calls from Hollywood and paved the way to film success. In
1954, he returned to Broadway in The Immoralist.
East of Eden
Director Elia Kazan was looking for a new young actor to play the role of Cal in East of
Eden; Dean and another relatively unknown actor, Paul Newman, were the final two
chosen. Following a screen test in New York City, the part was given to Dean.
James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 –
September 30, 1955) was an American film
actor. Dean's mainstream status as a cultural
icon is best embodied in the title of his most
cited role in Rebel Without a Cause. His
enduring fame and popularity rests on only
three films, his entire starring output. He was
the first person to receive a posthumous
Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and
remains the only person to have two such
Born in Marion, Indiana to Winton and Mildred
Wilson Dean, James Dean and his family
moved to Santa Monica, California, six years
after his father had left farming to become a
dental technician. The family spent some years
there, and by all accounts young Jimmy was
very close to his mother. According to Michael
DeAngelis, she was "the only person capable of
understanding him." He was enrolled in
Brentwood Public School until his mother died
of cancer in 1940. Dean's "moodiness and
antisocial behavior are consistently attributed to
her loss," and even in later years he still
attempted to regain his mother's "sense of
understanding in all of his relationships with
women during his acting career."
Unable to care for his nine year old son,
Winton Dean sent young Dean to live with
Winton's sister Ortense and her husband
Marcus Winslow on a farm in Fairmount,
Indiana, where he entered high school and was
brought up with a Quaker background. Here
Dean sought the counsel of, and formed an
enduring but perhaps troubled friendship with a
Methodist pastor, who seems to have had a
formative influence upon the teenager,
especially upon his future interests in bull
California State Route 41 and crossed into Dean's lane without seeing him. The two
cars hit almost head on. According to a story in the October 1, 2005 edition of the Los
Angeles Times, California Highway Patrol officer Ron Nelson and his partner had
been finishing a coffee break in Paso Robles when they were called to the scene of the
accident, where they saw a heavily-breathing Dean being placed into an ambulance.
Wuetherich had been thrown from the car, but survived with a broken jaw and other
injuries. Dean was taken to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, where he was
pronounced dead on arrival at 5:59PM. His last known words, uttered right before
impact, are said to have been "That guy's got to stop... He'll see us."
I remember this because as a new driver I also wrecked a 49 Ford similar to the one in
the picture. When Dean died I had made a mental note of the similarity. Jim Kiser
From the vintage photo and the fact that the other driver was killed, I immediately
thought it might be James Dean. It took me awhile to find a photo of the Ford Tudor
to confirm. Evan Hindman
Traffic engineering of this area has remained unchanged. The background of the
picture including the telephone poles, is the same in 2007 as it was in 1955. My
relatives and I have traveled this very route several times in the last 5 years.
t is bad enough to be in a vehicle accident and that someone died. It is even worse
when it is someone famous and to keep hearing about it. Delores Martin
I was still minus 6 and counting at that time, so don’t recall the news firsthand, either
<g>. However, we lived in that area for a few years when I was a kid and I think there’
s a picture somewhere of the family in Dad’s corvette (the only really crazy thing he
ever did) either in the tiny town or at the intersection.
Dean was notorious for speeding. I respect Turnupseed for not giving interviews and
for refusing to discuss the situation – it was the smart and ethical thing to do, and can
you imagine anyone taking that high road today? Kristi Murdock
I was 8 years old and in the 3rd grade. I don’t remember anything about Dean’s
death. I had a 16 year old sister that dated a guy who looked like James Dean. My
parents were upset with his slicked back hair and pegged pants. Diane and her friends
must have cried some tears over his death....I have watched the Dean movies several
times. My daughter thinks Rebel without a Cause is just hilarious. The black and white
footage, the different way of acting, just seems so prehistoric to her. She laughs at Jail
House Rock too. At least one of the articles made a big deal about Dean and his
passenger not wearing seat belts. After looking at photos of the wrecked Porche, I
doubt seat belts would have made a real difference. Judy Pfaff
I knew immediately from the photo - with the California hills and mid-1950s vehicle and
clothes, who else could it be? John Chulick
At the time this happen, my ex. was a policeman in San Francisco, and he heard about
it right away... Wonder what ever happened to Mr. Turnupseed. With a name like that
it would be hard to hide. Betty Ware
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|Answer to Quiz #101
March 18, 2007
|Thanks to Linda Williams for suggesting this quiz.
|Ford Tudor Coupe
Driver was scratched up but OK
Driver of the other car was killed.
Who was the driver of the other car?
If you need a hint, click here.
September 30, 1955, about 5:00pm
US Highway 46, near Cholame, CA.
|Dean's Porche Spyder after the accident.
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Dean and his mechanic Rolf Wuetherich set
off from Competition Motors, where they had
prepared his Porsche 550 Spyder that
morning for a sports car race at Palm
Springs. Dean originally intended to trailer the
Porsche to the meeting point at Salinas,
behind his new Ford Country Squire station
wagon, crewed by Hickman and
photographer Stanford Roth, who was
planning a photo story of Dean at the races.
At the last minute, Dean drove the Spyder,
having decided he needed more time to
familiarize himself with the car. At 3:30PM,
Dean was ticketed in Kern County for doing
65 in a 55 mph zone. The driver of the Ford
was ticketed for doing 20 mph over the limit,
as the speed limit for all vehicles towing a
trailer was 45 mph. Later, having left the Ford
far behind, they stopped at Blackwell's Corner
for fuel and met up with fellow racer Lance
Dean was driving west on U.S. Highway 46
(later California State Route 466) near
Cholame, California when a 1950 Ford Tudor,
driven from the opposite direction by
23-year-old Cal Poly student Donald
Turnupseed, attempted to take the fork onto
|Links for Further Information
Donald Turnupseed (1932–1995) of Tulare,
California, USA was the driver who collided
with the car of actor James Dean on September
30, 1955 near Cholame, California, resulting in
fatal injuries to Dean. Dean, who had received a
speeding ticket two hours before the accident,
was driving a silver Porsche 550 Spyder and
Turnupseed was in a 1950 Ford. Turnupseed,
who stated he did not see Dean's vehicle, was
not charged in the accident.
Turnupseed was a 23-year-old student at
California Polytechnic State University at the
time of the accident. He spoke with the Tulare
Advance Register a few hours after the crash,
but then apparently refused any further
interviews or public comment on the accident
for the remainder of his life. Turnupseed's son
has claimed that a published interview with his
father, supposedly conducted by crime writer
(Later in Life)
|Maria Moretti, is not genuine. Beyond that denial of the legitimacy of the Moretti
interview, David Turnupseed also refuses comment on the accident.
I'm just tired of being pestered about something that happened 50 years ago. I wasn't
there and my father didn't talk about it.
— David Turnuspeed, son of Donald Turnupseed
After the accident, Donald Turnupseed, along with his parents, went on to establish a
successful electrical contracting business, Turnupseed Electric Service, in California's
San Joaquin Valley. He died of lung cancer in July 1995 at the age of 63.
Contrary to reports of Dean's speeding,
which persisted decades after his death,
Nelson said "the wreckage and the position
of Dean's body indicated his speed was
more like 55 mph (88 km/h)." Turnupseed
received a gashed forehead and bruised
nose and was not cited by police for the
accident. He died of lung cancer in 1995.
Rolf Wuetherich would die in a road
accident in Germany in 1981.
One of the people who had bad feelings
about the Porsche Spyder may have been
Alec Guinness, who met James Dean in a
restaurant. Dean asked Guinness to come and look at his new car, which happened to
be the Spyder. When Guinness saw the car, he told Dean not to step foot into the car
for a week, because if he did he would die in the car within a week. Dean naturally
ignored this advice, and a week later, Dean's death in the Porsche was announced.
James Dean is buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana.
On March 8, 1954, Dean left New York
City and headed for Los Angeles to
begin shooting East of Eden. Dean
played the son of a constantly
disapproving father (played by
The relationship between Cal and his
father paralleled that between Dean and
his own father, so Dean took the role
personally. He became known on the
set for his improvisational contributions
to the script; his creativity proved to be
very important, as some of the most famous scenes in the movie were his contribution
to the script. Dean would apparently drive past cinemas during the release of the film
and stare in amazement as people lined up to see him.
He received a posthumous Best Actor in a Leading Role Academy Award nomination
for this role, (the first posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history).
Rebel without a Cause
In rapid succession, Dean followed up his role in "Eden" with another starring role in
Rebel Without a Cause, a film that would prove to be hugely popular among teenagers.
The film is widely cited as an accurate representation of teenage angst. It co-starred
Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, and was directed by Nicholas Ray.
William Russo says that "Nick Ray's world of the teenager rebel contained knife-fights,
drag racing (a baptism named 'chicky run'), stolen cars, underage drinking, social
worker, high school scene (...), dumb police, police station scene, death of teens by
speeding car and gunshot, dysfunctional families, a teenage gang with both male and
female members," etc., and that Rebel
Without a Cause "unleashed a spate of teen-
oriented films, both with message and
Director Nicholas Ray often encouraged
Dean’s creative input. However, "Verbal
battles with his directors increased in each
film as James Dean became more sure of
himself as a director ... He demanded and
was allowed to direct scene after scene
from Rebel Without a Cause by Nick Ray,
and he became so engrossed in throttling his
on-screen father that a few cognoscenti
wondered if he knew the difference between his performance and his life."
Giant, which was posthumously released in 1956, saw
Dean play a supporting role to that of both Elizabeth
Taylor and Rock Hudson. His role was notable in that, in
order to portray an older version of his character in one
scene, Dean dyed his hair grey and shaved some of it off
to give himself a receding hairline.
Giant would be Dean’s last film. Towards the end of the
film, an artfully aged Dean is at a banquet set to make a
speech. This would be his last ever on-screen appearance.
That scene has been dubbed “The Last Supper”.
Reportedly, as Dean portrayed the drunken Jett Rink, the
actor mumbled so much that co-stars Nick Adams and
Dennis Hopper had to re-record the dialogue, since Dean
had died by the time the film was being edited.
Dean was nominated for a second Academy Award after the release of the film.
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