James Dean was a handsome and charismatic actor in the early 1950's. After taking drama classes at UCLA, he traveled to New York, where he lived in poverty while making the difficult climb from auditions and bit parts to become a celebrated actor, eventually starring in such films as "Rebel Without a Cause," "East of Eden" and "Giant." He is probably most known as the brooding and troubled youth Jim Stark in "Rebel Without a Cause," where he starred along side Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo.
Dean was killed on September 30, 1955, when the Porsche Spyder he was driving struck another car that veered into his lane, colliding almost head on, near Cholame in central California. Dean died on the way to the hospital. He was 24 years old.
At the time of his death, Dean was driving to Salinas, California to participate in a sports car race. Salinas is only a few miles from my home here in Hollister.
The accident abruptly ended the life of a brilliant talent with all of its promise of future accomplishment.
Hulu.com has a movie about the life of James Dean here.