The Death of James Dean


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With extensive research, this account of the Hollywood star and his legion of fans offers “the best narrative yet of Dean’s final ten hours” (San Francisco Examiner).
Just before sunset on September 20, 1955, James Byron Dean’s Porsche 550 Spyder collided with Donald Gene Turnupseed’s Ford Tudor on California Highway 46. At age twenty-four, America’s newest screen idol was dead. But what really happened? Drawing on original documents, including the coroner’s inquest and other previously unpublished material, author Warren Newton Beath provides a painstakingly accurate reconstruction of Dean’s final hours and tragic death.
In addition, Beath explores Dean’s life and his enduring status as a cultural icon, including Elvis Presley’s worship of him; Hitchcock’s use of Highway 46 in the famous crop-dusting scene in North by Northwest; death threats against Giant director George Stevens if he dared excise a single frame of Deans’ final performance; and many more fascinating facts about the enigmatic screen legend.
Beath’s definitive account concludes with a memorable portrait of the James Dean cult, a strangely moving record of his posthumous life in the hearts of his adoring fans.

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