James Dean and Sal Mineo on the set of Rebel Without a Cause (Nicholas Ray, 1955)
Among Dean’s closest friends there was now a growing feeling that somehow Jimmy had changed. One humid night, sitting in his kitchen with Lew Bracker, Dean turned and said quietly, “You know, Lew, I think we ought to get married.”
”To each other?” Bracker joked.
”No. Seriously,” Dean replied. “I mean it would be so right to come home to somebody who understands me, who cares.”
Jimmy Dean was brought to me by his friend, Sanford Roth, the photographer. In the beginning it appeared that Jimmy wanted to learn the fine points of sculpturing. I was his teacher for that, but I soon learned that Jimmy posessed the most insatiable thirst for knowledge of any young man I’ve ever known. After his second or third lesson he wanted to hear me explain the technique sculptors use to carve faces in mountains such as Rushmore. His quest for artistic truths was frightening. He wanted to know just about every single fact, idea, theory that had been discovered by man clear back to the stone age. He was much too suspicious of people, but he had a tremendous respect for any who had knowledge.
When I was informed that he had died in an auto accident I was not surprised. He was a human rocket who burned so fiercely and brightly that he blinded people. Life wasn’t big enough to contain him. If there is a hereafter, James Dean will appreciate the infinity of eternity. - Sculptress Pegot Waring
Elia Kazan: Now what do you think of each other?
James Dean and Paul Newman in a screen test for East of Eden, 1954.