Sunday Times

Septem­ber 30 1955


Ac­tor James Dean, 24, dies in a crash at the Route 446/41 junc­tion near Cho­lame, Cal­i­for­nia. He made his de­but in a com­mer­cial in 1950 and had a num­ber of film, TV and stage roles be­fore crack­ing his first ma­jor film, “East of Eden”, in 1954. It was re­leased on June 9 1955. Around the time of film­ing “Rebel With­out a Cause”, he com­peted in three pro­fes­sional mo­tor races, but Warner Brothers barred him from rac­ing dur­ing the film­ing of “Giant”. A few days af­ter com­plet­ing his scenes, he drives his sil­ver Porsche 550 Spy­der (“Lit­tle Bas­tard”) to a race in Sali­nas with me­chanic Rolf Wütherich. At about 5.45pm, a Ford Tu­dor driven by stu­dent Don­ald Tur­nupseed, 23, turns off 466 onto 41 in front of the Porsche. The much lower Porsche slams into the left front of the Ford. Dean dies from a bro­ken neck and mul­ti­ple other in­juries, Wütherich re­cov­ers from se­ri­ous in­juries, Tur­nupseed es­capes with mi­nor scratches. “Rebel” is re­leased on Oc­to­ber 27, “Giant” on Oc­to­ber 10 1956. He re­ceives two post­hu­mous Os­car nom­i­na­tions but iron­i­cally not for “Rebel”, which made him a cul­tural icon

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