James Dean Is Not Dead -- The Premier, Unofficial James Dean Fan Site
James Dean Is Not Dead -- The Premier, Unofficial James Dean Fan Site

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James Dean Biography 

The End and the Beginning

The young James Dean experienced quite a few life-altering experiences that greatly affected his life. During this period of time, his mother died from cancer, his father shipped Jimmy off to Fairmount to be raised by his aunt and uncle, and the United States, just out of the Depression, found itself embroiled in World War II, which concluded with the dropping of the Atomic bomb over both Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the start of the McCarthy era.

The roots of what would become Jimmy's career as an artist and an actor can be found during the 1940's, where Jimmy began to appear on stage as an actor, debator, orator and athlete.

Jimmy also returned to California shortly after graduating from High School to live with his father and new step-mother for a brief period of time while he started his college career. It is during this period in Jimmy's life when he truely began focusing on the art of acting and began persuing a career as an actor.

Spring, 1940 - Mildred is diagnosed with advanced uteruan cancer. She spends a short period of time in the hospital, but returns home to live out the last few months she has to live.
Spring, 1940 - At Winton's request, Emma Dean, Winton's mother, arrives in Santa Monica. Both decide that the best thing for Jimmy is that he moves back to Fairmount to live with the Winslow's.
July 14, 1940 - Mildren dies of cancer with Winton and Jimmy at her bedside.
July 20, 1940 - Jimmy returns to Faimount via train with his grandmother and his mother's coffin. At each train stop, Jimmy checks the coffin to make sure it's still on the train. At his mother's funeral two days later, Jimmy snips a lock of is mother's hair and for two weeks keeps it under his pillow. She's buried at Grant Memorial Park in Marion. Jimmy moves in with the Winslow's and their daughter Joan on the Winslow farm.
July 22, 1940 - Mildred's funeral.
Fall, 1940 - Jimmy enrolls at the Fairmount Elementary School, fifth grade. Taught by India Nose. Once cried in the middle of a math class. When asked what the matter was, Jimmy responded by saying that he missed his mother.
Spring, 1940 - Adeline Nall, Jimmy's high school and drama coach, moves to Fairmount.

No Date - Marcus ("Markie") Winslow, Jr., Jimmy's cousin, is born to Marcus and Ortense.

No Date - Winton is drafted into the army as a dental technician.
Fall, 1943 - Jimmy enters Fairmount Junior High School.
Fall, 1943 - Ortense encourages Jimmy to do a performace reading of "Bars" for the Women's Temperance Union, where he wins a prize. Adeline Nall coaches him. When the performance for the Pearl Medal conflicted with a track meet and the contest committee took away Jimmy's chair prop, Jimmy stood on stage in silence, refusing to perform his piece.

February, 1944 - Marcus, Sr. buys Jimmy his first motorcycle, a Czech, for his thirteenth birthday. Jimmy drive's his "sickle" recklessly but never gets injured.

Fall, 1946 - Jimmy enters Fairmount High School as a freshman.

March 28, 1947 - Jimmy performs in Mooncalf Meford as John Mugford.
No Date - Plays the role of Herbert White in The Monkey's Paw.
No Date - Jimmy has the lead role in An Apple from Coles County. He also worked on the set's construction.

Fall, 1948 - Dean begins his senior year of high school.
Fall, 1948 - Jimmy breaks the Grant County pole vaulting record.
Fall, 1948 - Meets Dr. James DeWeerd, pastor of the Wesleyan Church, who introduces Jimmy to culture. Allows Jimmy to read books and listen to music. Credited as introducing Dean to bullfighting. Later biographers state the Jimmy had his frist homosexual affair with DeWeerd.
No Date - Jimmy's first appearance in the local paper, The Fairmount News. Regarding Jimmy's basketball prowess, Jimmy is called "an outstanding threat on the High School team."
October 29, 1948 - Performs as Frankenstein in the spoof Goon With the Wind for the school's annual Halloween festival. The funds raised from the festival were used to help pay for the senior class trip to Washington, DC later that school year.
December 23, 1948 - Performs in two one-act plays for Fairmount High's Christmas festival.

February 8, 1949 - On his eighteenth birthday, Jimmy registers for the draft. Some say he wasn't drafted due to poor eyesight; some claim that Jimmy stated he was a conciencious objector due to his religion (Quaker). Some claim that Jimmy told them that he told the draft board he was a homosexual in order to avoid the draft.
February 14, 1949 - Represents Fairmount High with Barbara Leach on WBAT's radio program "Grant County Voice of Youth" debate program. Fairmount beats Marion, but during the program it was announced that both teams were winners.
February 16, 1949 - Senior class trip to Indianapolis, Indiana, US.
March 19, 1949 - Senior class holds a "penny supper" to help raise funds for the senior class trip to Washington DC.
April 7, 1949 - Performs in the role of Grandpa Vanderhof in the play You Can't Take It With You.
April 9, 1949 - Wins state level competition, National Forensic League, performing "The Madman" from Dickens' "Pickwick Papers."
April 22, 1949 - Attends to his class prom, held in the school gymnasium, reportedly alone.
April 29-30, 1949 - Attends National Forensic League Finals in Colorado with Adeline Nall performing "The Madman." Places in sixth place. His performance ran too long, in violation of the rules of the competition.
May 7-8, 1949 -Visits Washington DC his senior class trip, staying at the Roosevelt Apartments, 16th St. NW.
May 16, 1949 - Graduates from Fairmount High School. Reads the benediction during the graduation ceremonies. Graduates in a class of 49 students.
June 14, 1949 - Takes the Greyhound bus to Santa Monica and moves in with his father and stepmother, Ethel.
August, 1949 - Joins Miller Playhouse Theatre Guild as a head Stage Manager and has a bit role in the musical The Romance of Scarlet Gulch using the stage name Byron James.
September 9, 1949 - Begins clases at Santa Monica City College, majoring in physical education on the advice of his father, but also taking theatre courses.


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Today In James Dean History

February 15, 1955
Jimmy attends the Fairmount High School Sweetheart's Ball, where he signs autographs and plays bongos with the band.

Learn more about James Dean's Life

James Dean Poll

Latest Poll (ends 2/19/01)
There are some biographers who question the relationship between James Dean and actress Pier Angeli. How would you characterize their relationship?
- I think it was important.
- I think it was just a fling.
- I don't think they had a relationship.
- Don't know.

(note: this poll is currently available to members of the James Dean mailing list.)

February 12, 2001
What will you be doing to celebrate James Dean's birthday this year?
- I'm heading to Fairmount!!! (0.00%)
- I'll be having a James Dean-athon at home (55.56%)
- Is it his birthday already??? (0.00%)
- Nothing. (44.44%)

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James Dean On Television

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Great Romances of the 20th Century, James Dean and Pier Angeli

- Wed, Feb 21 @ 8:30p EST on Romance Classics
- Thurs, Feb 22 @ 1:30a EST on Romance Classics

Rebel Without a Cause

- Wed, Feb 21 @ 1:55p EST on Showtime 2
- Tues, Feb 27 @ 6:05a EST on Cinemax

Information culled from TV-Now.Com.



Unless otherwise noted, all material Copyright © 1998-2001 M. Dawn Matonis. No part of this site may be reproduced in any form without permission. James Dean Is Not Dead is neither affiliated with CMG Worldwide nor James Dean, Inc.

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