1955 – James Dean dies in a car accident

No actor has ever had quite the same impact as James Dean. For a man who starred in only three films before his tragic death at the age of 24, he casts a long shadow. Those three films – “Giant“, “East of Eden” and most of all, “Rebel Without a Cause“, made him a symbol of restless youth, and of living fast and dying young.

But the car accident that caused his death was not his fault – the other driver had entered Dean’s lane and collided with him head-on. Contrary to popular legend, Dean was not intoxicated, high or (in any context of the word) speeding at the time of the accident.

According to Dean’s close friend Dennis Hopper, Dean had been planning to quit acting after his next film and take up directing instead.

Referenced in:

James Dean – the Eagles
We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel