How He Became
James Dean and his cat Marcus – Cultural Icon of the archetypal disobedient and sullen angry young man, he completed its image by terminating his own life in 1955. He starred only in three movies, East of Eden (1955), Rebel Without a Cause (1955 )and Giant (1956). And that was enough for him to become legend and remain in people’s heart. A few days before his death, he asked his friend to take care of his
loved one… Marcus the cat.
James Dean was born in Marion, Indiana in 1931. Dean was very close to his mother as he was the only one who could understand him. But she died when he was nine. Dean was raised in aunt’s Quaker’s household after that. He developed the passion for bullfighting, car racing, and theater by the influence of a local Methodist pastor.
He studied drama when he was in high school. He enrolled in Santa Monica College (SMC) and majored in pre-law.
But later, he transferred to UCLA for one semester, changed his major to drama and began acting. Dropped out of UCLA and pursue a full-time career as an actor.
His career turned around dramatically after he moved to New York. He got a role of ‘Cal Trask’, aloof and emotionally troubled complex character, which is a leading part of East of Eden and the rest is history.
James Dean Quotes (BrainyQuote)
Compassion, Not Condemnation, Is Called For
Dean is often seen as a symbol of the
Fixed Moral and value were questioned in post-World War II-era. The BG is the ultimate expression of a civilization whose moral values have broken down.
Their only conformity is non-conformity. American novelist and poet Jack Kerouac, One of the Main figure in the BG once said
beat generation is really a revolution in manners…being a swinging group of new American boys intent on life.
A Man of Determination
A successful screenwriter Bill Bast, a friend and former roommate of Dean spoke about Dean’s
true self in the interview with Short List.
In life, he says,
his aim wasn’t to stir up youth and get them to emulate him, though that appears to be what has happened in fact. He never spoke about changing the world. It wasn’t like him to boast so grandiosely. But regarding his own future he had great determination, which I found admirable. If he’s known more for rebellion that has to do with the Warner Bros [the studio he was contracted to] PR machine than anything.
A Gift from Liz
In September 1955, as filming of Giant (1956) was coming to an end, Dean got a Siamese kitten from a co-star Elizabeth Taylor whom he had befriended during the film’s shooting.
She knew he loved the Siamese cat of Sandy Roth. He named the cat Marcus, after his cousin. He loved Marcus so much and when they had lunch-break, he went home to take care of Marcus. Dean didn’t want Marcus to be alone too much.
James Dean Quotes (BrainyQuote )
One of his passion, car-racing changed Dean’s life eternally. When he went to Salinas, California, on 30 September 1955 to participate in a car racing competition, he needed somebody to look after Marcus. His actress friend Jeanette, had agreed to take him. The night before he left, Dean visited her to bring the cat over with a note.
On a note, there was an instruction how to feed and care for him.
Dean would never be back to pick up Marcus.
James Dean Quotes (BrainyQuote)
Taking care of James Dean’s cat (stars and letters)
Kingsley Amis and Jack Kerouac on the Beat Generation (Village Voice)
Also published on Medium.