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James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was
an American film actor. Dean's status as a cultural
icon is best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause, in which he starred as
troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that
defined his star were as loner Cal Trask in East of Eden, and as the surly farmer Jett Rink
in Giant. His enduring fame and popularity
rests on only these three films, his entire output in a starring role.
His death at an early age cemented his legendary status.
He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy
Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only
person to have two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Dean
the 18th best male movie star on their AFI's 100 Years…100 Stars list.
James Dean was born on February 8, 1931, at the Seven Gables
apartment house in Marion, Indiana to Winton Dean and Mildred Wilson. Six
years after his father had left farming to become a dental technician,
James and his family moved to Santa Monica, California. The
family spent several years there, and by all accounts young Jimmy was
very close to his mother. According to Michael DeAngelis, she was "the
only person capable of understanding him".
He was enrolled at Brentwood Public School in the Brentwood
neighborhood of Los Angeles until his mother died of cancer
when Dean was nine years old.
Unable to care for his son, Winton Dean sent James to live with
Winton's sister Ortense and her husband Marcus Winslow on a farm in Fairmount, Indiana, where he was raised in a Quaker background. Dean sought
the counsel and friendship of Methodist pastor Rev. James DeWeerd.
DeWeerd seemed to have had a formative influence upon Dean, especially
upon his future interests in bullfighting,
car racing, and the theater. According to Billy
J. Harbin, "Dean had an intimate relationship with his pastor... which
began in his senior year of high school and endured for many years."
In high school, Dean's overall performance was mediocre, however was a
popular school athlete having successfully played on the baseball
and basketball teams and studied drama and
competed in forensics through the Indiana High School Forensic Association. After
graduating from Fairmount High School on May 16, 1949, Dean moved back
to California with his beagle, Max, to live with his father and
stepmother. He enrolled in Santa Monica College (SMCC) and majored in pre-law.
Dean transferred to UCLA
and changed his major to drama, which resulted in estrangement from his
father. He pledged the Sigma Nu fraternity but was never
initiated. While at UCLA, he beat out 350 actors to land the role of
Malcolm in Macbeth. At that time, he also began acting with
James Whitmore's acting workshop. In January 1951, he
dropped out of UCLA to pursue a full-time career as an actor.
 Acting career
Dean's first television appearance was in a Pepsi Cola television commercial.
He quit college to act full time and was cast as John the Beloved
Disciple in Hill Number One, an Easter television special, and
three walk-on roles in movies, Fixed Bayonets!, Sailor Beware, and Has Anybody Seen My Gal?
His only speaking part was in Sailor Beware, a Paramount comedy starring Dean
Martin and Jerry Lewis; Dean played a boxing
trainer. While struggling to get jobs in Hollywood,
Dean also worked as a parking lot attendant at CBS
Studios, during which time he met Rogers Brackett, a radio director
for an advertising agency, who offered Dean professional help and
guidance in his chosen career, as well as a place to stay.
In October 1951, following actor James Whitmore's and his mentor
Rogers Brackett's advice, Dean moved to New York City. In New York he
worked as a stunt tester for the Beat the Clock game
show. He also appeared in episodes of several CBS television series,
The Web, Studio One,
and Lux Video Theatre, before gaining
admission to the legendary Actors
Studio to study Method
acting under Lee Strasberg. Proud of this accomplishment,
Dean referred to the Studio in a 1952 letter to his family as "The
greatest school of the theater. It houses great people like Marlon
Brando, Julie Harris, Arthur Kennedy, Mildred Dunnock. ... Very few get into it ... It is the
best thing that can happen to an actor. I am one of the youngest to
His career picked up and he performed in further episodes of such early
1950s television shows as Kraft Television Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, Danger
and General Electric Theater. One
early role, for the CBS series, Omnibus, (Glory in the
Flower) saw Dean portraying the same type of disaffected youth he
would later immortalize in Rebel Without a Cause (this summer, 1953
program was also notable for featuring the song "Crazy Man, Crazy", one of the first dramatic TV programs to
feature rock and roll music). Positive reviews for his 1954
theatrical role as "Bachir", a pandering North African houseboy, in an
adaptation of André Gide's book The Immoralist, led to calls from Hollywood.
 East of Eden
In 1953, director Elia Kazan was looking for a substantive actor to
play the emotionally complex role of 'Cal Trask', for screenwriter Paul
Osborn's adaptation of John Steinbeck's 1952 novel East of Eden.
The lengthy novel had dealt with the story of the Trask and Hamilton
families over the course of three generations, focusing especially on
the lives of the latter two generations in Salinas Valley, California from the mid-1800s through the
In contrast, the film chose to deal predominantly with the character
of Cal Trask; initially seeming more aloof and emotionally troubled than
his twin brother Aron... yet quickly seen to be more worldly, aware,
business savvy, and even sagacious than their pious and constantly
disapproving father (played by Raymond Massey) seeking to invent vegetable refrigeration,
and estranged mother, whom Cal discovers is a brothel-keeping 'madame' (Jo
Van Fleet). Elia Kazan said of Cal before casting, "I wanted a
Brando for the role." Osborn suggested Dean who then met with Steinbeck;
the future Nobel laureate did not personally like the bold youth, but
thought him perfect for the part. Kazan set about putting the wheels in
motion to cast the relatively unknown young actor in the role; on April
8, 1954, Dean left New York City and headed for Los Angeles to begin
Dean's performance in the film foreshadowed his role as Jim Stark in Rebel
Without A Cause. Both characters are angst-ridden, protagonists and
misunderstood outcasts, desperately craving approval from a father
Much of Dean's performance in the film is unscripted; such as his
dance in the bean field and his curled up, fetal like posturing whilst
riding on top of a train-car (after searching out his mother in a
near-by town). The most famous improvisation during the film was when
Cal's father rejects his gift of $5,000 (which was in reparation for his
father's business loss). Instead of running away from his father as the
script called for, Dean instinctively turned to Massey and, crying,
embraced him. This cut and Massey's shocked reaction were kept in the
film by Kazan.
At the 1955 Academy Awards, he received a posthumous Best Actor in a
Leading Role Academy Award nomination for this role, the first official
posthumous acting nomination in Academy Awards history. (Jeanne
Eagels was unofficially nominated for Best Actress in 1929, when
the rules for selection of the winner were different.)
 Rebel Without a Cause
Dean in the trailer for the film Rebel Without a Cause
Dean quickly followed up his role in Eden with a starring role
in Rebel Without a Cause, a film that would prove to be hugely
popular among teenagers. The film is often cited as an accurate
representation of teenage angst. It
co-starred teen actors Natalie
Wood, Sal Mineo, and Dennis
Hopper and was directed by Nicholas
Main article: Giant (film)
Giant, which was posthumously released in 1956,
saw Dean play a supporting role to Elizabeth Taylor and Rock
Hudson. This was due to his desire to avoid being typecast as Jim Stark and Cal Trask. In
the film, he plays Jett, an oil rich Texan. His role was notable in
that, in order to portray an older version of his character in one
scene, Dean dyed his hair gray and shaved some of it off to give himself
a receding hairline.
Giant would be Dean's last film. At the end of the film, Dean
is supposed to make a drunken speech at a banquet; this is nicknamed the
'Last Supper' because it was the last scene before his sudden death.
Dean mumbled so much that the scene had to later be re-recorded by his
co-stars because Dean had died before the film was edited.
At the 1956 Academy Awards, Dean received his second posthumous Best
Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Giant.
career and 'Little Bastard'
When Dean got the part in East of Eden, he bought himself a
red race-prepared MG TD and shortly afterwards, a white Ford Country Squire Woodie station
wagon. Dean upgraded his MG to a Porsche 356 Speedster (Chassis
number: 82621), which he raced. Dean came in second in the Palm Springs Road Races in March 1955 after a
driver was disqualified; he came in third in May 1955 at Bakersfield and was running fourth
at the Santa Monica Road Races later that
month, until he retired with an engine failure.
During filming of Rebel Without a Cause, Dean traded the 356
Speedster in for one of only 90 Porsche 550 Spyders. He was
contractually barred from racing during the filming of Giant, but
with that out of the way, he was free to compete again. The Porsche was
in fact a stopgap for Dean, as delivery of a superior Lotus Mk. X was delayed and he needed a car to
compete at the races in Salinas, California.
Dean's 550 was customized by George Barris, who would go
on to design the Batmobile. Dean's Porsche was numbered 130 at the
front, side and back. The car had a tartan on
the seating and two red stripes at the rear of its wheelwell. The car
was given the nickname 'Little Bastard' by Bill
Hickman, his language coach on Giant. Dean asked custom car
painter and pin striper Dean
Jeffries to paint Little Bastard on the car.
When Dean introduced himself to Alec
Guinness outside a restaurant, he asked him to take a look at the
Spyder. Guinness thought the car appeared 'sinister' and told Dean: 'If
you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by this time next
week.' This encounter took place on September 23, 1955, seven days
before Dean's death.
On September 30, 1955, Dean and his mechanic Rolf Wütherich set off from Competition Motors, where
they had prepared his Porsche 550 Spyder that morning for a sports
car race at Salinas, California. Dean originally
intended to trailer the Porsche to the meeting point at Salinas, behind
his new Ford Country Squire station wagon, crewed by Hickman and
photographer Sanford Roth, who was planning a photo story
of Dean at the races. At the last minute, Dean drove the Spyder, having
decided he needed more time to familiarize himself with the car. At
3:30 p.m., Dean was ticketed in Mettler Station, Kern County, for driving 65 mph (105 km/h) in a
55 mph (89 km/h) zone. The driver of the Ford was ticketed for driving
20 mph (32 km/h) over the limit, as the speed limit for all vehicles
towing a trailer was 45 mph (72 km/h). Later, having left the Ford far
behind, they stopped at Blackwells Corner in Lost Hills for fuel and met up with fellow racer Lance Reventlow.
Dean was driving west on U.S. Route 466 (later State Route 46) near Cholame, California when a black-and-white 1950 Ford
Custom Tudor coupe, driven from the opposite direction by 23-year-old Cal Poly student
Donald Turnupseed, attempted to take the fork onto State Route 41 and crossed into
Dean's lane without seeing him. The two cars hit almost head on.
According to a story in the October 1, 2005 edition of the Los Angeles Times,
California Highway Patrol officer
Ron Nelson and his partner had been finishing a coffee break in Paso Robles when they were called to the scene
of the accident, where they saw an unconscious but heavily breathing
Dean being placed into an ambulance. Wütherich had been thrown from the
car, but survived with a broken jaw and other injuries. Dean was taken
to Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on
arrival at 5:59 p.m. by the attending emergency room physician. His last
known words, uttered right before impact, were said to have been: "That
guy's gotta stop... He'll see us."
Junction of highways 46 and 41 as it looks today
According to the postmortem report, it is believed that Dean's head
impacted with the front grill of the other car. This impact and the
accompanying crash resulted in Dean suffering a broken neck, plus
multiple fractures of the jaw, arms and legs, as well as massive
internal injuries. He is believed to have died around ten minutes after
the crash upon examination in the ambulance. For years, there were
rumors a photographer friend, traveling to the race in another car, took
photos of Dean trapped in the car dead or dying. Such photos never
surfaced in public.
Contrary to reports of Dean's speeding, which persisted decades after
his death, Nelson said "the wreckage and the position of Dean's body
indicated his speed was more like 55 mph (88 km/h)."
Turnupseed received a gashed forehead and bruised nose and was not
cited by police for the accident. He was interviewed by the Tulare
Advance-Register newspaper immediately following the crash, saying
that he had not seen Dean's car approaching, but after that, refused to
ever again speak publicly about the accident. He went on to own and
operate an electrical contracting business and
died of lung cancer in 1995.
Wütherich died in a road accident in Germany in 1981 after surviving
several suicide attempts.
While completing Giant, and to promote Rebel Without a
Cause, Dean filmed a short interview with actor Gig
Young for an episode of Warner Bros. Presents
in which Dean, instead of saying the popular phrase "The life you save
may be your own" instead ad-libbed
"The life you might save might be mine." [sic]
Dean's sudden death prompted the studio to re-film the section, and the
piece was never aired—though in the past several sources have referred
to the footage, mistakenly identifying it as a public service announcement.
(The segment can, however, be viewed on both the 2001 VHS and 2005 DVD editions of Rebel
Without a Cause).
James Dean Memorial in Cholame. Dean died about 900 yards east of this
James Dean is buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana. In 1977,
a Dean memorial was built in Cholame, California. The stylized sculpture is composed
and stainless steel around a tree of heaven growing in front of the
Cholame post office. The sculpture was made in Japan and transported to
Cholame, accompanied by the project's benefactor, Seita Ohnishi. Ohnishi
chose the site after examining the location of the accident, now little
more than a few road signs and flashing yellow signals. The original
intersection where the accident occurred is now a pasture and the two
roadways were realigned to make the intersection safer. In September,
2005, the intersection of Highways 41 and 46 in Cholame (San Luis Obispo
county) was dedicated as the James Dean Memorial Highway as part of the
commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death. (Maps of the
intersection 35°44′5″N 120°17′4″W / 35.73472°N 120.28444°W / 35.73472; -120.28444)
There is a memorial at Jack Ranch Cafe in Cholame.
The dates and hours of Dean's birth and death are etched into the
sculpture, along with a handwritten description by Dean's close friend,
screenwriter William Bast, of one of Dean's favorite lines
from Antoine de Saint
Exupéry's The Little Prince—"What is essential is invisible to the
 Personal life
William Bast was one of Dean's closest friends, a fact
acknowledged by Dean's family.
Dean's first biographer (1956),
Bast was his roommate at UCLA and later in New York, and
knew Dean throughout the last five years of his life. Some time after
Dean's death, he stated that he and Dean had been lovers.
Early within Dean's career, after he signed his contract with Warner Brothers, their public
relations department began generating stories about Dean's liaisons with
a variety of young actresses who were mostly drawn from the clientele
of Dean's Hollywood agent, Dick Clayton. Studio press releases also
grouped "Dean together with two other actors, Rock
Hudson and Tab Hunter, identifying each of the men as an
'eligible bachelor' who has not yet found the time to commit to a single
woman: 'They say their film rehearsals are in conflict with their
Dean's best remembered relationship is that undertaken with a young
Italian actress Pier Angeli, whom he met while Angeli was
shooting The Silver Chalice on an
adjoining Warner lot, and with whom he exchanged items of jewelry as
Angeli's mother was reported to have disapproved of the relationship
because Dean was not Roman Catholic. In his autobiography, East
of Eden director Elia Kazan, while dismissing the notion that Dean
could possibly have had any success with women, paradoxically alluded
to Dean and Angeli's "romance", claiming that he had heard them loudly
making love in Dean's dressing room. For a very short time the story of a
Dean-Angeli love affair was even promoted by Dean himself, who fed it
to various gossip columnists and to his co-star, Julie
Harris, who in interviews has reported that Dean told her about
being madly in love with Angeli. However, in early October 1954, Angeli
unexpectedly announced her engagement to Italian-American singer Vic
Damone, to Dean's expressed irritation.
Angeli married Damone the following month, and gossip columnists
reported that Dean, or someone dressed like him, watched the wedding
from across the road on a motorcycle. However, when Bast questioned him
about the reports, Dean denied that he would have done anything so
"dumb" ...and Bast, like Paul Alexander, believes the relationship was a
mere publicity stunt.
Pier Angeli only talked once about the relationship in her later life
in an interview, giving vivid descriptions of romantic meetings at the
beach that read like wishful fantasies,
as Bast claims them to be.
Actress Liz Sheridan claims that she and Dean had a
short affair in New York. In her memoir detailing this, she also states
that Dean was having a sexual involvement with Rogers Brackett, and
describes her negative response to this situation.
However, again Bast is skeptical whether this was a true love affair
and claims Dean and Sheridan didn't spend much time together.
Dean avoided the draft by registering as a homosexual, then
classified by the US government as a mental disorder. When questioned about his orientation, he
is reported to have said, "Well, I'm certainly not going through life
with one hand tied behind my back."
Iconic status and
impact on popular culture
American teenagers at the time of Dean's major films identified with
Dean and the roles he played, especially in Rebel Without A Cause:
the typical teenager, caught where no one, not even his peers, can
understand him. Joe Hyams says that Dean was "one of the rare
stars, like Rock Hudson and Montgomery Clift, who both men and women find sexy."
According to Marjorie Garber, this quality is "the
undefinable extra something that makes a star."
Dean's iconic appeal has been attributed to the public's need for
someone to stand up for the disenfranchised young of the era,
and to the air of androgyny
that he projected onscreen. Dean's "loving tenderness towards the
besotted Sal Mineo in Rebel Without a Cause continues to touch and
excite gay audiences by its honesty. The Gay
Times Readers' Awards cited him as the male gay icon of all
Dean is mentioned or featured in various songs, which include titles
such as "James Dean" by That Handsome Devil, "James Dean" by The Eagles, "A Young Man is Gone" by The Beach Boys,"Speechless"
by Lady GaGa, "Rock On" by David
Essex, "American Pie" by Don
McLean, "We Didn't Start The Fire"
Joel, "Daddy's Speeding" by Suede, "Electrolite" by R.E.M.,
"Flip-Top Box" by Self, "Walk on the Wild Side" by Lou Reed,
"Bla bla bla" (Blah Blah Blah) by Perfect, "Rockstar" by Nickelback,
"Girl on TV" by LFO,
and "Chciałbym umrzeć jak James Dean" (lit. I Wish to Die Like James
Dean) by Partia. In addition, he is often noted within television shows,
films, books and novels. In an episode of Degrassi: The Next Generation,
the character Liberty likens the rebellious, anti-social Sean
Cameron to James Dean. On the sitcom Happy
Days, Fonzie has a picture of Dean on his wall. A picture
of Dean also appears on Rizzo's wall in the film Grease. In the alternate history book Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove, Dean is stated to have not died in a
car crash and made several more films, including a film called Rescuing
Private Ranfall, based on Saving Private Ryan.
Dean's estate still earns about $5,000,000 per year, according to Forbes
Today, Dean is often considered an icon because of his "experimental"
take on life, which included his ambivalent sexuality.
There have been several accounts of Dean's sexual relationships with
both men and women.
William Bast, one of Dean's closest friends,
was Dean's first biographer (1956).
He recently published a revealing update of his first book, in which,
after years of successfully dodging the question as to whether he and
Dean were sexually involved,
he finally stated that they were.
In this second book, Bast describes the difficult circumstances of
their involvement and also deals frankly with some of Dean's other
reported homosexual relationships,
notably the actor's friendship with Rogers Brackett, the influential
producer of radio dramas who encouraged Dean in his career and provided
him with useful professional contacts.
Bast identifies a potentially bipolar depression in Dean's erratic
behavior and mood swings.
In his description of their relationship, Dean emerges as a character
very much torn apart between wanting to reach out (to Bast) and needing
protection against possible rejections or wanting to hide any supposed
weakness. According to John Howlett, Dean was also probably suffering
which furthered his intellectual insecurity.
Shortly before his death, Dean also gave away his pet kitten Marcus,
saying: "I figured, I might go out some night and just never come home."
Bast also repeatedly observed Dean's heavy use of alcohol and drugs
during the filming of Rebel Without a Cause.
Journalist Joe Hyams suggests that any homosexual activity Dean might have been
involved in, appears to have been strictly "for trade", as a means of
advancing his career. Val Holley notes that, according to Hollywood
biographer Lawrence J. Quirk, gay Hollywood columnist
Mike Connolly "would put the make on the most prominent
young actors, including Robert Francis, Guy
Madison, Anthony Perkins, Nick Adams and James Dean."
However, the "trade only" notion is debated by Bast
and other Dean biographers.
Aside from Bast's account of his own relationship with Dean, Dean's
fellow biker and "Night Watch" member John Gilmore claims he and Dean
"experimented" with homosexual acts on one occasion in New York, and it
is difficult to see how Dean, then already in his twenties, would have
viewed this as a "trade" means of advancing his career.
Screenwriter Gavin Lambert, himself homosexual and part of
the Hollywood gay circles of the 1950s and 1960s, described Dean as
being homosexual. Rebel director Nicholas
Ray is on record as saying that Dean was homosexual.
Additionally, William Bast and biographer Paul Alexander conclude that
Dean was homosexual, while John Howlett concludes that Dean was
George Perry's biography reduces these aspects of Dean's sexuality to
Still, Hyams and Paul Alexander also claim that Dean's relationship
with pastor De Weerd had a sexual aspect, too.
Bast also shows that Dean had knowledge of gay bars and customs.
Consequently, Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon's book Who's Who
in Contemporary Gay and Lesbian History: From World War II to the
Present Day (2001) includes an entry on James Dean.
 The "curse" of "Little
Since Dean's death, a "legend" has arisen that his Porsche 550 Spyder
was "cursed" and supposedly injured or killed
several others in the years following his death.
One version of the tale goes as follows:
The famous car customizer George Barris bought the
wreck for $2,500, only to have it slip off its trailer and break a
mechanic's leg. Soon afterwards, Barris sold the engine and drive-train,
respectively, to physicians Troy McHenry and William Eschrid. While
racing against each other, the former would be killed instantly when his
vehicle spun out of control and crashed into a tree, while the latter
would be seriously injured when his vehicle rolled over while going into
a curve. Barris later sold two tires, which malfunctioned as well. The
tires, which were unharmed in Dean's accident, blew up simultaneously
causing the buyer's automobile to go off the road. Subsequently, two
young would-be thieves were injured while attempting to steal parts from
the car. When one tried to steal the steering wheel from the Porsche,
his arm was ripped open on a piece of jagged metal. Later, another man
was injured while trying to steal the bloodstained front seat. This
would be the final straw for Barris, who decided to store "Little
Bastard" away, but was quickly persuaded by the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to
lend the wrecked car to a highway safety exhibit.
The first exhibit from the CHP featuring the car ended unsuccessfully,
as the garage storing the Spyder went up in flames, destroying
everything except the car itself, which suffered almost no damage
whatsoever from the fire. The second display, at a Sacramento high
school, ended when the car fell, breaking a student's hip. "Little
Bastard" caused problems while being transported several times. On the
way to Salinas, the truck containing the
vehicle lost control, causing the driver to fall out, only to be crushed
by the Porsche after it fell off the back. On two separate occasions,
once on a freeway
and again in Oregon, the car came off other trucks, although no
injuries were reported, another vehicle's windshield
was shattered in Oregon. Its last use in a CHP exhibit was in 1959. In
1960, when being returned to George Barris in Los Angeles, California,
the car mysteriously vanished. It has not been seen since.
While it has proven impossible thus far to confirm or deny all the
claims in this legend, it suffers from several clear factual errors.
Barris was not the initial purchaser of the wrecked 550. Rather the
doctors Troy McHenry and William Eschrid, both 550 Spyder owners,
purchased the car directly from the insurance company. They removed the
drivetrain, steering and other mechanical components to uses as spares
in their cars, then sold the shell to George Barris.
William Eschrid used the engine in his Lotus race car.
Troy McHenry was killed at a race at Pomona 1956 when the Pitman
arm in his 550's steering failed; however this was not one of the
"cursed" parts fitted to his 550.
Historic Auto Attractions in Roscoe, Illinois has claimed to have the last known piece
of Dean's Spyder (a small chunk a few square inches in size). However
this is untrue, as several other large parts are known to exist. The
passenger door was on display at the Volo Auto Museum.
The engine (#90059) is reported to still be in the possession of the
son of the late Dr. Eschrich. Lastly the restored transaxle–gearbox
assembly of the Porsche (#10046) is known to be in the possession of car
collector Jack Styles.
 Feature films
- Father Peyton's Family Theater, "Hill
Number One" (Easter Sunday, April 1, 1951)
- The Web, "Sleeping Dogs" (February 20, 1952)
- Studio One,
"Ten Thousand Horses Singing" (March 3, 1952)
- Lux Video Theatre, "The Foggy, Foggy
Dew" (March 17, 1952)
- Kraft Television Theatre,
"Prologue to Glory" (May 21, 1952)
- Studio One,
"Abraham Lincoln" (May 26, 1952)
- Hallmark Hall of Fame, "Forgotten
Children" (June 2, 1952)
- The Kate Smith Show, "Hounds of Heaven" (January 15, 1953)
- Treasury Men In Action, "The Case of the Watchful Dog"
(January 29, 1953)
- You Are There, "The Capture of
Jesse James" (February 8, 1953)
- Danger, "No Room" (April 14, 1953)
- Treasury Men In Action, "The Case of the Sawed-Off Shotgun"
(April 16, 1953)
- Tales of Tomorrow, "The Evil Within"
(May 1, 1953)
- Campbell Soundstage, "Something For An Empty Briefcase" (July
- Studio One Summer Theater, "Sentence of Death" (August 17,
- Danger, "Death Is My Neighbor" (August 25, 1953)
- The Big Story, "Rex Newman, Reporter for the Globe and News"
(September 11, 1953)
- Omnibus, "Glory In Flower"
(October 4, 1953)
- Kraft Television Theatre, "Keep
Our Honor Bright" (October 14, 1953)
- Campbell Soundstage, "Life Sentence" (October 16, 1953)
- Kraft Television Theatre, "A
Long Time Till Dawn" (November 11, 1953)
- Armstrong Circle Theater, "The Bells of Cockaigne" (November
- Robert Montgomery Presents the Johnson's Wax Program, Harvest (November 23, 1953)
- Danger, "The Little Women" (March 30, 1954)
- Philco TV Playhouse, "Run Like A Thief" (September 5, 1954)
- Danger, "Padlocks" (November 9, 1954)
- General Electric Theater, "I'm A
Fool" (November 14, 1954)
- General Electric Theater, "The
Dark, Dark Hour" (December 12, 1954)
- The United States Steel Hour,
"The Thief" (January 4, 1955)
- Lux Video Theatre, "The Life of Emile Zola" (March 10, 1955) –
appeared in a promotional interview for East of Eden
shown after the program aired
- Schlitz Playhouse of Stars,
"The Unlighted Road" (May 6, 1955)
 Biographical films
- James Dean: Portrait of a Friend aka James Dean (1976)
- Sense Memories (PBS American Masters television biography) (2005)
- Forever James Dean (1988), Warner Home Video (1995)
- James Dean (fictionalized TV biographical film) (2001)
- James Dean – Kleiner Prinz, Little Bastard aka James Dean –
Little Prince, Little Bastard, German television biography,
includes interviews with William Bast, Marcus Winslow Jr, Robert Heller
- James Dean: The Final Day features interviews with William
Bast, Liz Sheridan and Maila Nurmi. Dean's bisexuality is openly
discussed. Episode of Naked Hollywood television miniseries
produced by The Oxford Film Company in association the BBC,
aired in the US on the A&E Network, 1991.
- Living Famously: James Dean, Australian television biography
includes interviews with Martin Landau, Betsy Palmer, William Bast, and
Bob Hinkle (2003, 2006).
- James Dean – Mit Vollgas durchs Leben, Austrian television
biography includes interviews with Rolf Weutherich and William Bast
- James Dean – Outside the Lines (2002), episode of Biography,
US television documentary includes interviews with Rod Steiger, William
Bast, and Martin Landau (2002).