James Dean made an indelible mark as one of America’s most recognizable cultural icons despite his short life. From his Midwestern roots to his meteoric rise to fame, here are ten things that James Dean might have tweeted had Twitter existed in his lifetime:
“Opening night of @FairmountHighSchool’s production of #MooncalfMedford. I’ll be playing John Mugford.” – On March 28, 1947 James Dean starred in his high school’s production of Mooncalf Medford as John Mugford. That same year he would also play Herbert White in The Monkey’s Paw and take the lead role in An Apple from Coles County.
“Come to #GoonWithTheWind at @FairmountHighSchool’s Halloween carnival; I’ll be playing Frankenstein.” – When Fairmount High School’s drama society launched a monster parody entitled Goon with the Wind as part of the annual Halloween carnival, a young James Dean took the stage as legendary monster Frankenstein. He reportedly took great pains to perfect his make-up and costume, and immensely enjoyed the prospect of playing the role.
“I took 1st place in the @NationalForensicsLeague’s Indiana competition.” – Reciting “The Madman” from Charles Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers, James Dean earned the top spot in the state Forensics competition. The charisma and stage presence that helped him earn this honor would soon propel him to stardom.
“I’m being honored at @FarewellPartyMondayNight tonight; tomorrow, I’m boarding a bus for #California.” – In an event that would earn him a headline in the local newspaper, James Dean was honored at the Fairmount Farewell Party Monday Night before making his way back to California.
“Starting my #FreshmanYear at @SantaMonicaCityCollege.” – On January 18, 1950, Dean began studying at Santa Monica City College. Later that year, he would star in the UCLA theater’s Macbeth, in which he played “the world’s worst” Malcolm.
“I have my first paid acting job in a @PepsiCola commercial.” – Dean scored his first paying job in a Pepsi-Cola commercial in December of 1950; in it he and a group of teenagers danced around a jukebox, singing the praises of the soft drink.
“My television film debut will be playing #JohnTheApostle on @FatherPeyton’s TV Theater.” – In a role that inspired the girls of a local parochial school to form the Immaculate Heart James Dean Appreciation Society, Dean played John the Apostle on a Catholic television program in his first television feature debut.
“My drama coach, @JamesWhitmore, seems to think that I should go to #NewYorkCity.” – Following the advice of his drama coach, James Dean departed Los Angeles for New York on September 1st, 1951.
“I’m flying for the first time, with @EliaKazan to start filming for #EastOfEden.” – Storing his clothing in a brown paper bag, James Dean boarded a flight to Hollywood with director Elia Kazan. Less than one month later, he’d sign a contract with Warner Brothers for his role in East of Eden, and would purchase his first sports car in May of that year.
“Decided to trade the @Porche Speedster for their #Spyder550. @GeorgeBarris is doing a custom paint job.” – On September 30, 1955, James Dean was killed in an automobile accident in his new Porche Spyder 550. He’d traded his Speedster in only nine days earlier, and had just taken possession of the powerful vehicle after customisations.
Despite only having three films to his credit, James Dean became a symbol for the restless youth of his generation. His small body of work garnered him two Academy Award nominations, and an everlasting place in Hollywood history.
Thanks to Kate Croston.