Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Another side of James Dean

deano.jpg
deano3.jpg
deano2.jpg

These days, a threadbare IMDb page is a sure-fire way for an actor to end up quietly cursing their agent on a hellish reality TV show set. But James Dean is the cinematic epitome of achieving a lot with quite a little.

Because of his untimely death at 24, the Fifties screen icon appeared in just three films. And it’s that relative dearth of material featuring Dean that makes the discovery of previously unpublished pictures and letters all the more enticing.

Found by Keith Gordon, the son of Dean’s former girlfriend, actress Barbara Glenn (also pictured), and on auction at Christie’s South Kensington in November, the memorabilia is on a different scale to Hollywood’s usual procession of old negatives.

The lots include three love letters written in 1954, which further flesh out the myth surrounding Dean. In one he complains about the quality of a Broadway play he’s appearing in and decorates the paper with doodles of the set. In the others he reacts angrily to a seductive photo shoot Glenn was involved in, jokingly confesses his love

for his horse, and hints at intense loneliness.

But it’s the four unseen photos that truly crown the collection. Depicting a more playful man than the pouting, pomaded figure of Rebel Without A Cause, they show him larking around with Glenn and friends on the beach, while also achieving the near-impossible for a holidaying man — looking cool in a pair of snug Speedos.

The collection is auctioned through Christie’s London on 23 November; christies.com

Related

Untitled.jpg

The James Dean loafers

james-dean-rex.jpg

Why is James Dean a cultural icon?

fuchs2.jpg

Unseen Hollywood

Comments

More

Brendan Gleeson: "I was thrilled to be cut down by Daniel Day-Lewis"

Brendan Gleeson on being entertained by Gambon and killed by Day-Lewis

by Ralph Jones
22 Jun 2017

Can you guess the highest grossing film for every year since 1980?

Genuinely: no, you can't

by Gary Ogden
21 Jun 2017

Don't panic, but the Han Solo movie just lost both of its directors

Don't ruin this for us now

by Carl Anka
21 Jun 2017

Daniel Day-Lewis announces he's retiring from acting

His final film will air later this year

by Alex Finnis
21 Jun 2017

Netflix’s new Hulk Hogan documentary looks like essential viewing

It couldn't have come at a better time

by Tom Victor
16 Jun 2017

The 17 ultimate screen dads

The daddies of them all

16 Jun 2017

The 'Dodgeball' cast have reunited for a surprise mini-sequel

Watch it here

by Gary Ogden
15 Jun 2017

Stunning footage of Bruce Lee's only "real fight" has been unearthed

The martial arts expert looking just as masterful away from Hollywood

by Carl Anka
14 Jun 2017

Edgar Wright has teased the possibility of Hot Fuzz 2

The greatest buddy cop film of all time... Part 2?

by Carl Anka
09 Jun 2017

Nick Offerman: "I would have sold my family to play Gimli"

The moustachioed funny man on varnishing, magnets, and his Gimli ambitions

by Ralph Jones
08 Jun 2017