Paul Newman

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Paul Leonard Newman (January 26, 1925 – September 26, 2008) was an American Actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver, auto racing team owner and auto racing enthusiast. He won numerous awards, including an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in the 1986 Martin Scorsese film The Color of Money and eight other nominations, six Golden Globe Awards (including three honorary ones), a BAFTA Award, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Cannes Film Festival Award, an Emmy award, and many honorary awards. He also won several national championships as a driver in Sports Car Club of America road racing, and his race teams won several championships in open wheel IndyCar racing.

Newman was a co-founder of Newman’s Own, a food company from which Newman donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. As of June 2012, these donations exceeded $330 million.

Paul Newman

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Circa 1950s
Born Paul Leonard Newman
January 26, 1925
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Died September 26, 2008 (aged 83)
Westport, Connecticut
Cause of death Lung cancer
Residence Westport, Connecticut
Nationality American
Education Shaker Heights High School
Alma mater Kenyon College (B.A.),
Ohio University
Occupation Actor, director, entrepreneur, professional racing driver
Years active 1949–2008
Known for Founder of Newman’s Own,
The Color of Money,
Cool Hand Luke,
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Home town Shaker Heights, Ohio
Political party Democrat
Board member of Newman’s Own
Spouse(s) Jackie Witte
(1949–1958; divorced)
Joanne Woodward
(1958–2008; his death)
Children Allan Scott Newman (1950–1978)
Stephanie Newman (b. 1951)
Susan Kendall Newman (b. 1953)
Elinor Teresa Newman (b. 1959)
Melissa Steward Newman (b. 1961)
Clair Olivia Newman (b. 1965)

Early Life

Newman was born in Shaker Heights (a suburb of Cleveland). He was the son of Theresa (née Fetzer or Fetsko; Slovak: Terézia Fecková) and Arthur Sigmund Newman, who ran a profitable sporting goods store. His father was Jewish (Paul’s paternal grandparents, Simon Newman and Hannah Cohn, were immigrants from Hungary and Poland). His mother, who practiced Christian Science, was born to a Slovak Roman Catholic family at Homonna, Ptičie (formerly Pticsie) in the former Kingdom of Hungary, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Humenné in Slovakia). Newman had no religion as an adult, but described himself as a Jew, saying, “it’s more of a challenge”. Newman’s mother worked in his father’s store, while raising Paul and his brother, Arthur, who later became a producer and production manager.

Newman showed an early interest in the theater, which his mother encouraged. At the age of seven, he made his acting debut, playing the court jester in a school production of Robin Hood. Graduating from Shaker Heights High School in 1943, he briefly attended Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, where he was initiated into the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity.

Military Service

Newman served in the United States Navy in World War II in the Pacific theater. Newman enrolled in the Navy V-12 program at Yale University, hoping to be accepted for pilot training, but was dropped when it was discovered he was color blind. He was sent instead to boot camp and then received further training as a radioman and gunner. Qualifying as a rear-seat radioman and gunner in torpedo bombers, in 1944, Aviation Radioman Third Class Newman was sent to Barber’s Point, Hawaii. He was subsequently assigned to Pacific-based replacement torpedo squadrons (VT-98, VT-99, and VT-100). These torpedo squadrons were responsible primarily for training replacement pilots and combat air crewmen, placing particular importance on carrier landings.

He later flew from aircraft carriers as a turret gunner in an Avenger torpedo bomber. As a radioman-gunner, he served aboard USS Bunker Hill during the Battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945. He was ordered to the ship with a draft of replacements shortly before the Okinawa campaign, but his life was spared because he was held back after his pilot developed an ear infection. The men who remained in his detail were killed in action.

After the war, he completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Speech at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio in 1949. He became a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity during his time there and lived in the house. Shortly after earning his degree, Newman joined several summer stock companies most notably the Woodstock Players in Illinois. He toured with them for three months and developed his talents with a part of Woodstock Players. Newman later attended the Yale School of Drama for one year before moving to New York City to study under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.

Oscar Levant wrote that Newman initially was hesitant to leave New York for Hollywood: “Too close to the cake,” he reported him saying, “Also, no place to study.”

Career

Early Work and Mainstream Success

In his first film, The Silver Chalice (1954)
In his first film, The Silver Chalice (1954)

Newman arrived in New York City in 1951 with his first wife Jackie Witte, taking up residence in the St. George section of Staten Island. He made his Broadway theater debut in the original production of William Inge’s Picnic with Kim Stanley in 1953 and appeared in the original Broadway production of The Desperate Hours in 1955. In 1959, he was in the original Broadway production of Sweet Bird of Youth with Geraldine Page and three years later starred with Page in the film version.

During this time Newman started acting in television. He had his first credited TV or film appearance with a small but notable part in a 1952 episode of the science fiction TV series Tales of Tomorrow entitled “Ice from Space”. In the mid-1950s, he appeared twice on CBS’s Appointment with Adventure anthology series.

In February 1954, Newman appeared in a screen test with James Dean, directed by Gjon Mili, for East of Eden (1955). Newman was testing for the role of Aron Trask, Dean for the role of Aron’s fraternal twin brother Cal. Dean won his part, but Newman lost out to Richard Davalos. In the same year, Newman co-starred with Eva Marie Saint and Frank Sinatra in a live—and color—television broadcast of Our Town, a musical adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s stage play. Newman was a last-minute replacement for James Dean. In 2003, Newman acted in a remake of Our Town, this time in the role of the stage manager. The “James Dean” connection had resonance two other times, as Newman was cast in two leading roles originally earmarked for Dean, Billy the Kid in The Left Handed Gun and Rocky Graziano in Somebody Up There Likes Me, after Dean succumbed to his fateful automobile collision up the California coast. Newman’s first movie for Hollywood was The Silver Chalice (1954). The film was a box office failure and the actor would later acknowledge his disdain for it. In 1956, Newman garnered much attention and acclaim for the boxer Graziano lead in Somebody Up There Likes Me By 1958, he was one of the hottest new stars in Hollywood. Later that year, he starred in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958), opposite Elizabeth Taylor. The film was a box office smash and Newman garnered his first Academy Award nomination. Also in 1958, Newman starred in The Long, Hot Summer with Joanne Woodward, whom he reconnected with on the set in 1957 (they had first met in 1953). He won best actor at the 1958 Cannes Film Festival for this film.

Major Films

In The Hustler with Piper Laurie
In The Hustler with Piper Laurie

Newman was one of the few actors who successfully made the transition from 1950s cinema to that of the 1960s and 1970s. His rebellious persona translated well to a subsequent generation. Newman starred in Exodus (1960), The Hustler (1961), Hud (1963), Harper (1966), Hombre (1967), Cool Hand Luke (1967), The Towering Inferno (1974), Slap Shot (1977), and The Verdict (1982). He teamed with fellow actor Robert Redford and director George Roy Hill for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and The Sting (1973).

He appeared with his wife, Joanne Woodward, in the feature films The Long, Hot Summer (1958), Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys!, (1958), From the Terrace (1960), Paris Blues (1961), A New Kind of Love (1963), What a Way to Go! (1964), Winning (1969), WUSA (1970), The Drowning Pool (1975), Harry & Son (1984), and Mr. and Mrs. Bridge (1990). They both also starred in the HBO miniseries Empire Falls, but did not have any scenes together.

Paul Newman at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival
Paul Newman at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival

In addition to starring in and directing Harry & Son, Newman also directed four feature films (in which he did not act) starring Woodward. They were Rachel, Rachel (1968), based on Margaret Laurence’s A Jest of God, the screen version of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (1972), the television screen version of the Pulitzer Prize–winning play The Shadow Box (1980), and a screen version of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie (1987).

Twenty-five years after The Hustler, Newman reprised his role of “Fast” Eddie Felson in the Martin Scorsese–directed The Color of Money (1986), for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor. The Award has been looked upon as a “make-up” for his past body of work. He told a television interviewer that winning that Oscar at the age of 62 deprived him of his fantasy of formally being presented with it in extreme old age.

Last Works

In 2003, he appeared in a Broadway revival of Wilder’s Our Town, receiving his first Tony Award nomination for his performance. PBS and the cable network Showtime aired a taping of the production, and Newman was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie.

His last screen appearance was as a conflicted mob boss in the 2002 film Road to Perdition opposite Tom Hanks, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, although he continued to provide voice work for films.

In 2003, Newman vowed he would no longer attend award shows, claiming he didn’t need to win any more honors.

In 2005 at age 80, Newman was profiled alongside Robert Redford as part of the Sundance Channel’s TV series Iconoclasts.

In 2006, in keeping with his strong interest in car racing, he provided the voice of Doc Hudson, a retired anthropomorphic race car in Disney/Pixar’s Cars—this was his final performance for a major feature film.

Similarly, he served as narrator for the 2007 film Dale, about the life of the legendary NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, which turned out to be Newman’s final film performance in any form. Newman also provided the narration for the film documentary The Meerkats, which was released in 2008.

Retirement from Acting

Newman announced that he would entirely retire from acting on May 25, 2007. He stated that he did not feel he could continue acting at the level he wanted to. “You start to lose your memory, you start to lose your confidence, you start to lose your invention. So I think that’s pretty much a closed book for me.”

Philanthropy

Newman in 2007
Newman in 2007

With writer A. E. Hotchner, Newman founded Newman’s Own, a line of food products, in 1982. The brand started with salad dressing, and has expanded to include pasta sauce, lemonade, popcorn, salsa, and wine, among other things. Newman established a policy that all proceeds, after taxes, would be donated to charity. As of 2010, the franchise has donated in excess of $300 million. He co-wrote a memoir about the subject with Hotchner, Shameless Exploitation in Pursuit of the Common Good. Among other awards, Newman’s Own co-sponsors the PEN/Newman’s Own First Amendment Award, a $25,000 reward designed to recognize those who protect the First Amendment as it applies to the written word.

One beneficiary of his philanthropy is the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a residential summer camp for seriously ill children, which is located in Ashford, Connecticut. Newman co-founded the camp in 1988; it was named after the gang in his film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Newman’s college fraternity, Phi Kappa Tau, adopted Hole in the Wall as their “national philanthropy” in 1995. One camp has expanded to become several Hole in the Wall Camps in the U.S., Ireland, France, and Israel. The camps serve 13,000 children every year, free of charge.

In June 1999, Newman donated $250,000 to Catholic Relief Services to aid refugees in Kosovo.

On June 1, 2007, Kenyon College announced that Newman had donated $10 million to the school to establish a scholarship fund as part of the college’s current $230 million fund-raising campaign. Newman and Woodward were honorary co-chairs of a previous campaign.

Newman was one of the founders of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP), a membership organization of CEOs and corporate chairpersons committed to raising the level and quality of global corporate philanthropy. Founded in 1999 by Newman and a few leading CEOs, CECP has grown to include more than 175 members and, through annual executive convenings, extensive benchmarking research, and best practice publications, leads the business community in developing sustainable and strategic community partnerships through philanthropy. Newman was named the Most Generous Celebrity of 2008 by Givingback.org. He contributed $20,857,000 for the year of 2008 to the Newman’s Own Foundation, which distributes funds to a variety of charities.

Upon Newman’s death, the Italian newspaper (a “semi-official” paper of the Holy See) L’Osservatore Romano published a notice lauding Newman’s philanthropy. It also commented that “Newman was a generous heart, an actor of a dignity and style rare in Hollywood quarters.”

Newman is recognized as responsible for preserving lands around Westport. Newman lobbied the Connecticut governor for funds for the 2011 Aspetuck Land Trust in Easton. In 2011 Paul Newman’s estate gifted land to Westport to be managed by the Aspetuck Land Trust.

Marriages and Family

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Newman and his wife Joanne Woodward in 1960

Newman was married to Jackie Witte from 1949 to 1958. They had two daughters (Stephanie Kendall born in 1951 and Susan born in 1953) and a son, Scott, born in 1950, who died in November 1978 from a drug overdose. Scott appeared in films including Breakheart Pass, The Towering Inferno and the 1977 film Fraternity Row. Paul Newman started the Scott Newman Center for drug abuse prevention in memory of his son. Susan is a documentary filmmaker and philanthropist and has Broadway and screen credits, including a starring role as one of four Beatles fans in I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978), and also a small role opposite her father in Slap Shot. She also received an Emmy nomination as co-producer of his telefilm, The Shadow Box.

Newman met actress Joanne Woodward in 1953. Shortly after filming The Long, Hot Summer, in 1957 he divorced Witte. He married Woodward early in 1958. They remained married for fifty years until his death in 2008. They had three daughters: Elinor “Nell” Teresa (b. 1959), Melissa “Lissy” Stewart (b. 1961), and Claire “Clea” Olivia (b. 1965). Newman directed Nell (using the stage name Nell Potts) alongside her mother in the films Rachel, Rachel and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds.

The Newmans lived away from the Hollywood environment, making their home in Westport, Connecticut. Newman was well known for his devotion to his wife and family. When asked once about infidelity, he famously quipped, “Why go out for a hamburger when you have steak at home?”

Paul Newman was also an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church Monastery, a one-day online certificate program to officiate weddings.

Political Activism

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Newman at a political rally for Eugene McCarthy in 1968

For his support of Eugene McCarthy in 1968 (and effective use of television commercials in California) and his opposition to the War in Vietnam, Newman was placed nineteenth on Richard Nixon’s enemies list, which Newman claimed was his greatest accomplishment. During the 1968 general election, Newman supported Democratic nominee Hubert Humphrey and appeared in a pre-election night telethon for him.

Consistent with his work for liberal causes, Newman publicly supported Ned Lamont’s candidacy in the 2006 Connecticut Democratic Primary against Senator Joe Lieberman, and was even rumored as a candidate himself, until Lamont emerged as a credible alternative. He donated to Chris Dodd‘s presidential campaign.

He attended the first Earth Day event in Manhattan on April 22, 1970. Newman was also a vocal supporter of gay rights.

Newman was concerned over global warming and supported nuclear energy development as a solution.

Auto Racing

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A Newman Freeman Racing NF Spyder Can-Am race car

Newman was an auto racing enthusiast, and first became interested in motorsports (“the first thing that I ever found I had any grace in”) while training at the Watkins Glen Racing School for the filming of Winning, a 1969 film. Because of his love and passion for racing, Newman agreed in 1971 to star in and to host his first television special, Once Upon a Wheel, on the history of auto racing. It was produced and directed by David Winters, who co-owned a number of racing cars with Newman.[4] Newman’s first professional event as a racer was in 1972, in Thompson, Connecticut, and he was a frequent competitor in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events for the rest of the decade, eventually winning four national championships. He later drove in the 1979 24 Hours of Le Mans in Dick Barbour’s Porsche 935 and finished in second place. Newman reunited with Barbour in 2000 to compete in the Petit Le Mans.

24 Hours of Le Mans career

Participating years 1979
Teams Dick Barbour Racing
Best finish 2nd (1979)
Class wins 1 (1979)

From the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, he drove for the Bob Sharp Racing team, racing mainly Datsuns (later rebranded as Nissans) in the Trans-Am Series. He became closely associated with the brand during the 1980s, even appearing in commercials for them. At the age of 70 years and eight days, he became the oldest driver to be part of a winning team in a major sanctioned race, winning in his class at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona. Among his last races were the Baja 1000 in 2004 and the 24 Hours of Daytona once again in 2005.

During the 1976 auto racing season, Paul Newman became interested in forming a professional auto racing team and contacted Bill Freeman from Santa Barbara. Bill is credited as the man who introduced Paul Newman to professional auto racing management, and their company specialized in Can-Am, Indy Cars, and other high performance racing automobiles. The team was based in Santa Barbara, California and commuted to Willow Springs Raceway for much of its testing sessions.

Their “Newman Freeman Racing” team was very competitive in the North American Can-Am series in their Budweiser sponsored Chevrolet powered Spyder NFs. Paul and Bill began a long and successful partnership with the Newman Freeman Racing team in the Can-Am series which culminated in the Can-Am Team Championship trophy in 1979. Their drivers included Keke Rosberg (who later became World Champion on the Williams Saudia F1 Team), Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Randolph Townsend, Mike Brockman, Howdy Holmes, Teo Fabi, Patrick Depailler, Danny Sullivan, Bobby Rahal, Johnny Parson Jr., among others.

Paul was also associated with Bill Freeman’s established Porsche racing team which allowed both Paul and Bill to compete in S.C.C.A. and I.M.S.A. racing events together, including the Sebring 12-hour endurance sports car race. This car was sponsored by Beverly Porsche/Audi. Bill Freeman was also Sports Car Club of America’s Southern Pacific National Champion during the Newman Freeman Racing period.

Later Newman co-founded Newman/Haas Racing with Carl Haas, a Champ Car team, in 1983. The 1996 racing season was chronicled in the IMAX film Super Speedway, which Newman narrated. He was also a partner in the Atlantic Championship team Newman Wachs Racing.

Newman was posthumously inducted into the SCCA Hall of Fame at the national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 21, 2009.

Illness and Death

Newman was scheduled to make his professional stage directing debut with the Westport Country Playhouse’s 2008 production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, but he stepped down on May 23, 2008, citing health issues. In June 2008, it was widely reported that Newman had been diagnosed with lung cancer and was receiving treatment at Sloan-Kettering hospital in New York City. Writer A. E. Hotchner, who partnered with Newman to start the Newman’s Own company in the 1980s, told the Associated Press that Newman told him about the disease about eighteen months prior to the interview. Newman’s spokesman told the press that the star was “doing nicely,” but neither confirmed nor denied that he had cancer. In August, after reportedly finishing chemotherapy, Newman told his family he wished to die at home.

Newman died on September 26, 2008, aged 83, surrounded by his family and close friends. His remains were cremated after a private funeral service near his home in Westport.

Filmography, Awards, and Nominations

Year Film Role Notes
1954 The Silver Chalice Basil  
1955 Producers’ Showcase: Our Town George Gibbs  
1956 Somebody Up There Likes Me Rocky Graziano Cinema Writers Circle Award for Best Foreign Actor
The Rack Capt. Edward W. Hall Jr.  
1957 The Helen Morgan Story Larry Maddux  
Until They Sail Capt. Jack Harding  
1958 The Long, Hot Summer Ben Quick Best Actor Award (Cannes Film Festival)
The Left Handed Gun Billy the Kid  
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Brick Pollitt Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Laurel Award Top Male Dramatic Performance
Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys! Harry Bannerman  
1959 The Young Philadelphians Anthony Judson Lawrence  
1960 From the Terrace David Alfred Eaton  
Exodus Ari Ben Canaan  
1961 The Hustler Eddie Felson BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Golden Laurel Award Top Male Dramatic Performance
Mar del Plata Film Festival Best Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Paris Blues Ram Bowen  
1962 Sweet Bird of Youth Chance Wayne Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man Ad Francis, “The Battler” Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
1963 Hud Hud Bannon Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
A New Kind of Love Steve Sherman  
The Prize Andrew Craig  
1964 What a Way to Go! Larry Flint  
The Outrage Juan Carrasco  
1965 Lady L Armand Denis  
1966 Harper Lew Harper  
Torn Curtain Prof. Michael Armstrong directed by Alfred Hitchcock
1967 Hombre John Russell  
Cool Hand Luke Luke Jackson Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Golden Laurel Award Top Male Dramatic Performance
1968 The Secret War of Harry Frigg Pvt. Harry Frigg  
1969 Winning Frank Capua  
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Butch Cassidy Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Nominated—Golden Laurel Award Top Male Dramatic Performance
1970 WUSA Rheinhardt  
1971 Sometimes a Great Notion Hank Stamper  
Once Upon a Wheel (1971 TV program) Himself Winner: World Television Festival Award,Winner: Best International Sports Documentary
1972 Pocket Money Jim Kane  
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Judge Roy Bean  
1973 The Mackintosh Man Joseph Rearden  
The Sting Henry Gondorff  
1974 The Towering Inferno Doug Roberts  
1975 The Drowning Pool Lew Harper  
1976 Silent Movie Himself  
Buffalo Bill and the Indians William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody  
1977 Slap Shot Reggie “Reg” Dunlop  
1979 Quintet Essex  
1980 When Time Ran Out… Hank Anderson  
1981 Fort Apache, The Bronx Murphy  
Absence of Malice Michael Colin Gallagher Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
1982 Come Along with Me   TV
The Verdict Frank Galvin David di Donatello for Best Foreign Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
1984 Harry & Son Harry Keach  
1986 The Color of Money Fast Eddie Felson Academy Award for Best Actor
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
1989 Fat Man and Little Boy Gen. Leslie R. Groves  
Blaze Gov. Earl K. Long  
1990 Mr. and Mrs. Bridge Walter Bridge  
1993 La Classe américaine Dave in redubbed archive footage only
1994 The Hudsucker Proxy Sidney J. Mussburger  
Nobody’s Fool Donald J. “Sully” Sullivan Silver Berlin Bear Award for Best Actor (Berlin)[57]
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
1998 Twilight Harry Ross  
1999 Message in a Bottle Dodge Blake Nominated—Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama/Romance
2000 Where the Money Is Henry Manning  
2001 “The Blunder Years” (The Simpsons episode) Himself voice
2002 Road to Perdition John Rooney Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated—Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
2003 Our Town Stage Manager Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2005 Empire Falls Max Roby Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Miniseries or a Movie
Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon 3D Dave Scott voice
2006 Cars Doc Hudson/Hudson Hornet voice
2007 Dale Narrator voice
2008 The Meerkats Narrator voice

As Director or Producer

Year Film Notes
1968 Rachel, Rachel Golden Globe Award for Best Director – Motion Picture
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Picture
New York Film Critics Circle Award (best director)[58]
1969 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Co-executive producer (uncredited)
Winning Co-executive producer (uncredited)
1970 WUSA Co-producer
1971 Sometimes a Great Notion Director and co-executive producer
They Might Be Giants producer
1972 The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds Director and producer
The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean Co-executive producer (uncredited)
1980 The Shadow Box Nominated – Emmy Award for Best Director for a Miniseries, Movie or Dramatic Special
1984 Harry & Son Director and producer
1987 The Glass Menagerie  
2005 Empire Falls Producer, Nominated: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries

Additional Awards and Honors

In addition to the awards Newman won for specific roles, he received an honorary Academy Award in 1986 for his “many and memorable and compelling screen performances” and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his charity work in 1994.

He received the Kennedy Center Honors in 1992 along with his wife, Joanne Woodward.

In 1994, he and his wife received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.

He received the Golden Globe New Star of the Year — Actor award for The Silver Chalice (1957), the Henrietta Award World Film Favorite — Male in 1964 and 1966 and the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1984.

Newman won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for The Long, Hot Summer and the Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for Nobody’s Fool.

In 1968, Newman was named “Man of the Year” by Harvard University’s performance group, the Hasty Pudding Theatricals.

Newman Day has been celebrated at Kenyon College, Bates College, Princeton University, and other American colleges since the 1970s. In 2004, Newman requested that Princeton University disassociate the event from his name, due to the fact that he did not endorse the behaviors, citing his creation of the Scott Newman Centre in 1980, which is “dedicated to the prevention of substance abuse through education”.

Posthumously, Newman was inducted into the Connecticut Hall of Fame, and was honored with a 37-acre (150,000 m2) nature preserve in Westport named in his honor. He was also honored by the United States House of Representatives following his death.

James Dean

James Dean . Biography


james_dean_in_east_of_eden_trailer_2

James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 – September 30, 1955) was an American Actor. He is a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were as loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955), and as the surly ranch hand, Jett Rink, in Giant (1956). Dean’s enduring fame and popularity rests on his performances in only these three films, all leading roles. His premature death in a car crash cemented his legendary status.

Dean was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only actor to have had 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
James_Dean_-_Giant

in Giant (1956)
Born James Byron Dean
February 8, 1931
Marion, Indiana, U.S.
Died September 30, 1955 (aged 24)
Cholame, California, U.S.
Cause of death Car crash
Resting place Park Cemetery
Nationality American
Other names Jim or Jimmy
Education Fairmount High School
Alma mater Santa Monica College
UCLA
Occupation Actor
Years active 1951–1955
Signature Firma de James Dean.svg

Early Life

James Dean was born on February 8, 1931, at the Seven Gables apartment house located at the corner of 4th Street and McClure Street 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 Dean 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, his father sent James to live with his 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, the 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.” Their sexual relationship was earlier suggested in the 1994 book, Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times, and Legend of James Dean by Paul Alexander. In 2011, it was reported that he once told Elizabeth Taylor, his co-star in Giant, that he was sexually abused by a minister two years after his mother’s death.

In high school, Dean’s overall performance was mediocre. However, he was a popular student, having 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 (SMC) and majored in pre-law. Dean transferred to UCLA for one semester 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 was picked from a pool of 350 actors to land the role of Malcolm in Macbeth. At that time, he also began acting in James Whitmore’s 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 as a boxing trainer in Sailor Beware, a Paramount comedy starring Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. 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 him 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. There he worked as a stunt tester for the game show Beat the Clock. 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 belong.”

Dean’s 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 in the episode “Glory in the Flower”, saw Dean portraying the 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.) Positive reviews for Dean’s 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

James_Dean_in_East_of_Eden_trailer_2In East of Eden (1955)

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 deals 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-19th century through the 1910s. In contrast to the book, the film script dealt predominantly with the character of Cal Trask. Though he initially seems more aloof and emotionally troubled than his twin brother Aron, Cal is soon seen to be more worldly, business savvy, and even sagacious than their pious and constantly disapproving father (played by Raymond Massey) who seeks to invent a vegetable refrigeration process. Cal is bothered by the mystery of their supposedly dead mother, and discovers she is still alive and a brothel-keeping ‘madame’ (Jo Van Fleet).

220px-Dean-Harris-EdenWith Julie Harris in East of Eden (1955)

Before casting Cal, Elia Kazan said that he wanted “a Brando” for the role and Osborn suggested the relatively unknown young actor, James Dean. Dean met with Steinbeck who did not like the moody, complex young man personally, but thought him perfect for the part. Dean was cast in the role and on April 8, 1954, left New York City and headed for Los Angeles to begin shooting.

Much of Dean’s performance in the film is unscripted, including his dance in the bean field and his fetal-like posturing while riding on top of a train boxcar (after searching out his mother in nearby Monterey). The most famous improvisation of the film occurs when Cal’s father rejects his gift of $5,000 (money Cal earned by speculating in beans prior to World War I). Instead of running away from his father as the script called for, Dean instinctively turned to Massey and in a gesture of extreme emotion, lunged forward and grabbed him in a full embrace, crying. Kazan kept this cut and Massey’s shocked reaction in the film. 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 figure.

For the 1955 Academy Awards, Dean received a posthumous nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in East of Eden, 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

Giant

Giant would be Dean’s last film. At the end of the film, Dean was 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 due to his desire to make the scene more realistic by actually being inebriated for the take that the scene had to later be overdubbed by Nick Adams, who had a small role in the film, because Dean had died before the film was edited.

For the 1956 Academy Awards, Dean received his second posthumous Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his role in Giant.

Racing Career and ‘Little Bastard’

In April 1954, after securing the co-starring role of Cal Trask in East of Eden, Dean purchased a 1955 Triumph Tiger T110, 650 cc motorcycle and later, a used red, 1953 MG TD sports car. In March 1955, Dean traded the MG for a new 1955 Porsche Super Speedster purchased from Competition Motors in Hollywood. He traded the Triumph T110 for a 1955 Triumph TR5 Trophy three days after filming wrapped on East of Eden. Just before filming began on Rebel Without a Cause, Dean entered the Palm Springs Road Races with the Speedster on March 26–27. He finished first overall in Saturday’s novice class and second overall in the Sunday main event. Dean also raced the Speedster at Bakersfield on May 1–2, finishing first in class and third overall. His final race with the Speedster was at Santa Barbara on Memorial Day, May 30, where he started in the eighteenth position, worked his way up to fourth, before over-revving his engine and blowing a piston. He did not finish the race.

James_Dean_and_Porsche_Speedster_23F_at_Palm_Springs_Races_March,_1955During the filming of Giant from June through mid-September, Warner Bros. had barred Dean from all racing activities. In July, Dean put down a deposit on a new Lotus IX sports racer with Jay Chamberlain, a dealer in Burbank. Dean was told that the Lotus delivery would be delayed until autumn. As Dean was finishing up Giant’s filming, he suddenly traded in his Speedster at Competition Motors for a new, more powerful and faster 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder on September 21 and entered the upcoming Salinas Road Race event scheduled for October 1–2. He also purchased a new 1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon to use for towing the new Spyder to and from the races on an open wheel car trailer.

DSC00324web3bLittle Bastard 02According to Lee Raskin, Porsche historian, and author of James Dean At Speed, Dean asked custom car painter and pin striper Dean Jeffries to paint Little Bastard on the car:

“Dean Jeffries, who had a paint shop next to Barris did the customizing work which consisted of: painting ‘130’ in black non-permanent paint on the front hood, doors and rear deck lid. He also painted “Little Bastard” in script across the rear cowling. The red leather bucket seats and red tail stripes were original. The tail stripes were painted by the Stuttgart factory, which was customary on the Spyders for racing ID.”

Purportedly, James Dean had been given the nickname “Little Bastard” by Bill Hickman, a Warner Bros stunt driver who became friendly with Dean. Hickman was part of Dean’s group driving to the Salinas Road Races on September 30, 1955. Hickman says he called Dean “little bastard”, and Dean called Hickman “big bastard.” Another version of the “Little Bastard” origin has been corroborated by two of Dean’s close friends, Lew Bracker, and photographer, Phil Stern. They believe Jack Warner of Warner Bros. had once referred to Dean as a little bastard after Dean refused to vacate his temporary East of Eden trailer on the studio’s lot. And Dean wanted to get ‘even’ with Warner by naming his race car, “Little Bastard” and to show Warner that despite his sports car racing ban during all filming, Dean was going to be racing the “Little Bastard” in between making movies for Warner Bros. When Dean introduced himself to British actor Alec Guinness outside the Villa Capri restaurant in Hollywood, he asked him to take a look at his brand new Porsche 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.

Personal Relationships

Screenwriter William Bast was one of Dean’s closest friends, a fact acknowledged by Dean’s family. According to 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. Fifty years after Dean’s death, he stated that their friendship had included some sexual intimacy. In a much earlier account, Bast recalled of their friendship: “Jimmy was a dabbler, he was learning through experiment . . . But to say he was gay? That’s ridiculous.”

490px-James_Dean-cigarette-fullWhile at UCLA, Dean dated Beverly Wills, an actress with CBS, and Jeanette Lewis, a classmate. Bast and Dean often double-dated with them. Wills began dating Dean alone, later telling Bast, “Bill, there’s something we have to tell you. It’s Jimmy and me. I mean, we’re in love.”

Early in Dean’s career, after Dean signed his contract with Warner Brothers, the studio’s 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 marriage rehearsals.

We used to go together to the California coast and stay there secretly in a cottage on a beach far away from prying eyes. We’d spend much of our time on the beach, sitting there or fooling around, just like college kids. We would talk about ourselves and our problems, about the movies and acting, about life and life after death. We had a complete understanding of each other. We were like Romeo and Juliet, together and inseparable. Sometimes on the beach we loved each other so much we just wanted to walk together into the sea holding hands because we knew then that we would always be together.

In his autobiography East of Eden, director Elia Kazan dismissed the notion that Dean could possibly have had any success with women, although he remembered hearing Dean and Angeli loudly making love in Dean’s dressing room. In 1997 the television movie Race with Destiny was produced, a true story account of the love affair between Dean and Pier Angeli. It was shot on location “where he lived and loved” until his death.

James_Dean_and_Pier_Angeli_candidDean posing Pier Angeli for a photo

Despite their strong love for each other, a number of forces led them apart. Angeli’s mother disapproved of Dean’s casual dress and what were for, her at least, radical behavior traits: his t-shirt attire, late dates, fast cars, and the fact that he was not a Catholic. Her mother said that such behavior was not acceptable in Italy. In addition, MGM, where he worked, tried to talk him out of marrying and he himself told Angeli that he didn’t want to get married.

After finishing his role for East of Eden, he took a brief trip to New York in October 1954. While he was away, Angeli unexpectedly announced her engagement to Italian-American singer Vic Damone. The press was shocked and Dean expressed his irritation. Angeli married Damone the following month. Gossip columnists reported that Dean watched the wedding from across the road on his motorcycle, even gunning the engine during the ceremony, although Dean denied doing anything so “dumb.”

Some, like Bast and Paul Alexander, believe 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. Dean biographer John Howlett said these read like wishful fantasies, as Bast claims them to be.

Actress Liz Sheridan asserts that she and Dean had a short affair in New York. However, again Bast is skeptical as to whether this was a true love affair, and says Dean and Sheridan did not spend much time together. Dean also dated Swiss actress Ursula Andress. “She was seen riding around Hollywood on the back of James’s motorcycle,” writes biographer Darwin Porter. She was also seen with Dean in his sports cars, and was with him on the day he bought the car that he died in. At the time, Andress was also dating Marlon Brando. Andress remembered her courtship with Dean:

“He came by my house late. He came in room like wild animal, and smell of everything I don’t like. We go hear jazz music and he leave table. Say he go play drums. He no come back. I don’t like to be alone. I go home. He come by my home later and say he sorry.”

Porter adds that Brando was “particularly interested in finding out from Ursula who the better lover was: James Dean or himself. It drove him crazy.”

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, “No, I am not a homosexual. But, I’m also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.”

Death

Accident

porsche_100324089_mOn September 30, 1955, Dean and his Porsche factory-trained mechanic, Rolf Wütherich, were at Competition Motors in Hollywood preparing Dean’s new Porsche 550 Spyder for the weekend sports car races at Salinas, California.

Dean originally intended to trailer the Porsche to Salinas, behind his 1955 Ford Country Squire station wagon, driven by friend and movie stunt man Bill Hickman and accompanied by professional photographer Sanford H. Roth who was planning a photo story of Dean at the races for Colliers Magazine.

Because the Porsche did not have enough “break-in” miles prior to the race, Wütherich recommended that Dean drive the Spyder to Salinas to get more “seat time” behind the wheel.

The group had coffee and donuts at the Hollywood Ranch Market on Vine Street across from Competition Motors (not the legendary Farmer’s Market at W 3rd St & S Fairfax Ave as previously reported) before leaving around 1:15 p.m. PST. They stopped at the Mobil station for gasoline on Ventura Blvd. at Beverly Glen Blvd. in Sherman Oaks around 2:00 p.m. The group then headed north on the Golden State Freeway US 99 (today, Interstate 5) and then over the “Grapevine” toward Bakersfield.

James Dean car - Little Bastard

At 3:30 p.m., Dean was stopped by California Highway Patrolman O.V. Hunter at Mettler Station on Wheeler Ridge, just south of Bakersfield, for driving 65 mph (105 km/h) in a 55 mph (89 km/h) zone. Hickman, following behind the Spyder in the Ford with the trailer, was also 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). After receiving the speeding citations, Dean and Hickman turned left onto Route 166/33 to avoid going through Bakersfield’s slow 25 mph downtown district.

Route 166/33 was a known short-cut for all the sports car drivers going to Salinas, called “the racer’s road”, which took them directly to Blackwells Corner at CA Route 466 (later SR 46). At Blackwells Corner, Dean stopped briefly only for refreshments and met up with fellow racers Lance Reventlow and Bruce Kessler, who were also on their way to the Salinas road races in Reventlow’s Mercedes-Benz 300SL coupe. As Reventlow and Kessler were leaving, they all agreed to meet for dinner in Paso Robles.

Little Bastard-1-LLittle Bastard

At approximately 5:15 p.m., Dean and Hickman left Blackwells Corner, driving west on Route 466 (now CA 46) toward Paso Robles, approximately 60 miles away. Dean accelerated in the Porsche and left the Ford station wagon far behind. Further along on Route 466, the Porsche crested Polonio Pass and headed down the long Antelope Grade, passing cars along the way toward the junction floor at Route 466 and 41. At approximately 5:45 p.m. PST, Dean spotted a black-and-white 1950 Ford Tudor coupe, driving at a high speed, heading east on Rt. 466 just west of the junction near Shandon.

Its driver, 23-year-old Cal Poly student Donald Turnupseed, made a left turn onto Route 41 headed north, toward Fresno. As Turnupseed’s Ford crossed over the center line, Dean, who was driving at a reported speed of 85 Miles per hour, saw an impending crash and apparently tried to steer the Spyder in a “side stepping” racing maneuver, but there was not enough time or space, and the two cars crashed almost head-on. The Spyder flipped up into the air and landed back on its wheels off in a gully, northwest of the junction. The sheer velocity of the impact sent the much-heavier Ford broad-sliding 39 feet down Route 466 in the westbound lane.

According to a story in the October 1, 2005, edition of the Los Angeles Times, California Highway Patrol Captain Ernest Tripke and his partner, Corporal Ronald Nelson, had been finishing a coffee break in Paso Robles when they were called to the scene of the accident at the Route 466/41 junction. Before Officers Tripke and Nelson arrived, James Dean had been extricated from the Spyder’s mangled cockpit, his left foot having been crushed between the clutch and brake pedal.

Dean was severely injured as he took the brunt of the crash, with a broken neck and several internal and external injuries. Nelson witnessed an unconscious and dying Dean being placed into an ambulance, and a barely conscious Wütherich, who had been thrown from the Spyder, lying on the shoulder of the road next to the wrecked Porsche. Dean and Wütherich were taken in the same ambulance to the Paso Robles War Memorial Hospital, 28 miles away. Dean was pronounced dead on arrival at 6:20 p.m. PST by the attending emergency room physician, Robert Bossert.

800px-James_dean3Junction of state highways 46 (former 466) and 41 as it looked in 2007

Wütherich survived with a broken jaw and serious hip and femur injuries that required immediate surgery. Turnupseed was only slightly injured with facial bruises and a bloodied nose. After being interviewed by the CHP, Turnupseed hitch-hiked in the dark to his home in Tulare. Hickman and Roth arrived at the accident scene approximately ten minutes after the crash. Hickman assisted in extricating Dean from the wreckage. Roth took photographs of the accident scene, which are now owned by Seita Ohnishi, a retired Kobe, Japan businessman. Ohnishi, in 1977, designed and erected a stainless steel memorial in tribute to James Dean at Cholame, just a mile west of the accident site.

Some sources give Dean’s last known words—uttered right before the impact when Wütherich told Dean to slow down when they both saw the 1950 Ford Tudor coupe about to pull into their lane—as “That guy’s gotta stop… He’ll see us.” James Dean historian Lee Raskin believes that any report about Wütherich saying anything to Dean, or Dean saying anything to Wütherich prior to the crash is pure conjecture. According to the coroner’s deposition taken of Wütherich in the hospital, and later in a 1960 interview given to an official Porsche magazine, Christophorus, he couldn’t recall any of the exact moments leading up to and after the crash.

At the official coroner’s Inquest, held at the San Luis Obispo Court House on October 11, 1955, Turnupseed told the jury that he did not see the low-profile Porsche until after he was turning left onto Route 41. After other testimony by the CHP, and witnesses to the accident, the coroner’s jury retired to deliberate. It came back with a verdict of “accidental death with no criminal intent” finding Donald Turnupseed not guilty of any contributory wrongdoing in the death of James Dean. The deceased Dean was also found not guilty of any criminal intent or contributory wrongdoing for the accident.

Although not charged with (what could have been) vehicular manslaughter, Turnupseed had nevertheless been dealt a devastating blow that would haunt him for the rest of his life. “Not only was he involved in an accident that resulted in one man’s death, but it was a death that will never be forgotten, a death whose reverberations are still being felt all over the world.”

Turnupseed granted just one interview to the Tulare Advance-Register newspaper immediately following the crash, but after that he refused to speak publicly about the accident. Turnupseed went on to own and operate a very successful family electrical contracting business in Tulare. He died at the age of 63 from lung cancer in 1995. Wütherich, after having several complicated surgeries on his hip and femur, went back to West Germany in 1957 with psychological and legal problems. He worked with the Porsche factory’s testing department and international rally and racing teams during the 1960s. Wütherich was one of the first employees of Porsche and worked for the factory eighteen years before being terminated. He died in July 1981, in Kupferzell, West Germany, in another auto accident when he lost control of his car and crashed into a residence. Like James Dean in the previous crash, Rolf Wütherich had to be extricated from the wreck and died at the accident scene. He was 53 years old.

There is an ironic epilogue to James Dean’s fatal crash in 1955: while filming Giant, Dean also filmed a short Public Service Announcement (PSA) with actor Gig Young for the National Safety Council. It featured James Dean dressed as the young Jett Rink talking about how driving fast on the highway can be more dangerous than racing on the track. It ends with Dean, instead of saying the standard phrase “The life you save may be your own”, humorously ad-libbing, “The life you might save might be mine.” This legendary black and white PSA, released following Dean’s death, can now be viewed on YouTube.

Memorial

JamesDeanTributePostcard1988GF38James Dean Memorial in Cholame. Dean died approximately one mile east of this tree.

James Dean is buried in Park Cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana, less than a mile from where he grew up on his aunt and uncle’s farm. In 1977, a Dean memorial was erected in Cholame, California. The stylized sculpture is composed of stainless steel around a tree of heaven growing in front of the former Cholame post office building. The sculpture was designed in Japan and transported to Cholame, accompanied by the project’s benefactor, Seita Ohnishi of Kobe, Japan, a retired businessman and devoted Dean fan. Ohnishi chose the site after examining the location of the accident, less than a mile away. The original Highway 41 and 46 junction where the accident occurred is now a pasture, and the two roadways were realigned over the decades to make them safer. On September 30, 2005, the junction at Highways 46 and 41 was dedicated as the James Dean Memorial Junction as part of the State of California’s official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death.[54] (Maps of the intersection 35°44′5″N 120°17′4″W)

The dates and hours of Dean’s birth and death are etched into the sculpture, along with a handwritten description by Dean’s friend 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 eye.”

James Dean Park Cemetery FairmontDean’s grave in his hometown, Fairmount, Indiana

Documentary

On February 15, 2009, all three CHP officers who dealt with James Dean on the day of his death—Officer Otie Hunter, who ticketed Dean for speeding, and Officers Ernie Tripke and Ronald Nelson, who investigated the fatal crash—participated and shared their memories of that fateful day in an SCVTV documentary titled The Stuff of Legend: James Dean’s Final Ride, co-produced by the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society. On December 21, 2010, CHP Captain Ernest “Ernie” Tripke, died at the age of 88. On August 7, 2012, CHP Corporal Ronald Nelson died at the age of 94.

Legacy and Iconic Status

Impact on Culture and Media

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, whom 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 time.”

Dean is mentioned or featured in various songs. James Dean is mentioned in Rob Zarro’s song ′Infamous Route 66′, “I’m seeing really cool things, pictures of Marilyn and James Dean.” The Eagles song named after Dean explores his fast and dangerous lifestyle. 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 in his closet next to his mirror. A picture of Dean also appears on Rizzo’s wall in the film Grease. On the American version of the TV series Queer as Folk, the main character Brian Kinney mentions James Dean together with Cobain and Hendrix, saying, “They’re all legends. They’ll always be young, and they will always be beautiful”. In the alternate history book Homeward Bound by Harry Turtledove, Dean is stated to have not died in a car crash and to have made several more films, including Rescuing Private Ranfall, based on Saving Private Ryan.

Dean’s estate still earns about $5,000,000 per year, according to Forbes Magazine.

On April 20, 2010, a long “lost” live episode of the General Electric Theater called “The Dark, Dark Hours” featuring James Dean in a performance with Ronald Reagan was uncovered by NBC writer Wayne Federman while working on a Ronald Reagan television retrospective. The episode, originally broadcast December 12, 1954, drew international attention and highlights were featured on numerous national media outlets including: CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, and Good Morning America. It was later revealed that some footage from the episode was first featured in the 2005 documentary, James Dean: Forever Young.

Debated Sexual Orientation

Today, Dean is often considered an icon because of his “experimental” take on life, which included his ambivalent sexuality. There have been several claims and assertions that Dean has had sexual relationships with both men and women.

William Bast, one of Dean’s closest friends, was Dean’s first biographer (1956). He 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 gay 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.

Journalist Joe Hyams suggests that any gay 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 gay 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 gay and part of the Hollywood gay circles of the 1950s and 1960s, described Dean as being gay. Rebel director Nicholas Ray is on record as saying that Dean was gay. Additionally, William Bast and biographer Paul Alexander conclude that Dean was gay, while John Howlett concludes that Dean was “certainly bisexual”. George Perry’s biography reduces these aspects of Dean’s sexuality to “experimentation”. 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 Bastard

curse bannerThe “curse” of James Dean’s car “Little Bastard” has become part of America’s cultural mythology. Warren Beath, a James Dean archivist and author, believes the source of the myth is Hollywood’s George Barris, the self-described “King of the Kustomizers”, who says he was the first to purchase the wrecked Little Bastard. Barris promoted the “curse” after he placed the wreck on public display in 1956. Over the years, Barris described a series of accidents that mysteriously occurred from 1956 to 1960 involving the Little Bastard, resulting in serious injuries to spectators and even a truck driver’s death. Porsche historian Lee Raskin states many claims regarding the “curse” of the Little Bastard appear to have been based on Barris’ 1974 book, Cars of the Stars.

Porsche Little BastardRaskin’s 2005 book James Dean At Speed states that the wreckage of the Porsche Spyder, VIN 550-0055, was declared as a total loss by the insurance company, which paid Dean’s father, Winton, the fair market value as a settlement. The insurance company, in turn, through a salvage yard in Burbank, sold the entire wrecked Spyder to Dr. William F. Eschrich of Burbank, California. Eschrich, a CSCC racer, who had competed against Dean in his own sports car at three race events during 1955, dismantled the engine and mechanical parts and installed the Porsche 4-cam engine (mounted up front) in his Lotus IX race car chassis. Eschrich then raced the Porsche-powered Lotus, which he called a “Potus”, at seven CSCC events during 1956. At the Pomona Sports Car Races on October 21, 1956, Eschrich, driving this car, was involved in a minor “shunt” with another driver.

Barris’ Cars of the Stars clearly states that a Dr. McHenry, “driving a car powered by the engine from Dean’s car, was killed when his vehicle went out of control and struck a tree in the first race in which the motor had been used since Dean’s mishap. Another doctor, William F. Eschrid [sic] of Burbank, was injured in the same race when his car, which contained the drivetrain from Dean’s car, rolled over.” Dr. Eschrich, interviewed a day after Dr. McHenry’s fatal accident, said he had loaned the Dean transmission and several other parts to Dr. McHenry. “I don’t believe he was using the transmission when he crashed, but he was using the back swinging arms which holds the rear end.” McHenry appears to have the distinction of being the only bona fide victim of the “curse” of Dean’s “Little Bastard”.

Raskin states that although Barris may have customized several cars for the Rebel Without a Cause movie, he never customized any of Dean’s personal cars and neither of the Porsches. Lew Bracker, Dean’s best friend in L.A. and fellow Porsche racer, maintains that Barris was not involved with Dean’s sports car racing activities; he was never considered to be part of Dean’s “inner circle” invited to go to Salinas on September 30, 1955. It is not known exactly how Barris knew Dr. Echrich, but he was given the Spyder’s mangled body after Dr. Eschrich had stripped out the Porsche. In 1956, Barris announced that he was going to rebuild the Porsche Spyder, but that proved to be a Herculean task as the wrecked chassis had no remaining integral strength. Instead, Barris decided to weld aluminum sheet metal over the caved-in left front fender and cockpit area. He proceeded to beat on the aluminum panels with a 2×4 to try to simulate what would appear to be collision damage. Later in 1956, Barris loaned out the “Little Bastard” to the Los Angeles chapter of the National Safety Council for a local rod and custom car show. The gruesome display was promoted as: “James Dean’s Last Sports Car”. During 1957-1959, the “Little Bastard” exhibit began to appear at various rod and custom car shows, movie theatres, bowling alleys, and highway safety displays throughout California.

On the other hand, there are a few stories associated with the “curse” that can be corroborated. For example, a wire service story on March 12, 1959, reported that the “Little Bastard”, temporarily stored in a Fresno, California garage at 3158 Hamilton Avenue, caught fire “awaiting display as a safety exhibit in a coming sports and custom automobile show,” The May 12, 1959, Fresno Bee, went on to say that the fire occurred on the night of March 11, and only slight damage occurred to the Spyder without any damage to other cars or property in the garage. No one was injured. “The cause of the fire is unknown. It burned two tires and scorched the paint on the vehicle.”[85] Later that year, the “Little Bastard” was moved around the country like a travelling circus to annual auto shows and traffic safety exhibitions. Legend also holds that the “Little Bastard” mysteriously disappeared in 1960. According to Barris, the Spyder was returning from a traffic safety exhibit in Florida in a sealed truck. When the trailer arrived back in Los Angeles, the trailer was unlocked and the car had completely disappeared into “thin air”, according to Barris. In Barris’ book and in many TV documentaries, he said the “Little Bastard” was being shipped back in a sealed boxcar. When the train arrived in LA, Barris said he signed the manifest and verified that the seal was intact—but the boxcar was empty.

Raskin believes that Barris’ “Little Bastard” side show had finally lost its fan appeal just as the 1960s pop culture began to focus on a need for more speed with “big block” Muscle Cars, and later, the high-revving car tunes from Jan and Dean, Ronny and the Daytonas, the Rip Chords, and the Beach Boys.

Raskin also believes that Barris opted to misplace the “Little Bastard”. The mysterious disappearance stories were Barris’ way of perpetuating the Dean myth, especially on the milestone anniversaries of James Dean’s death.

Although the legendary “Little Bastard” seemingly has disappeared from sight, Historic Auto Attractions in Roscoe, IL claims to have an original piece of Dean’s Spyder on display (a small chunk of aluminum, a few square inches in size) that was actually pried off and stolen from an area near the broken windscreen while the Spyder was being stored in the Cholame Garage following the accident. Also, in 2005, for the 50th Anniversary of James Dean’s death, the Volo Auto Museum in Volo, IL announced they were displaying what was purported to be the “Little Bastard’s” passenger door. Volo and George Barris offered $1 million to anyone who could prove that they owned the remains of the “Little Bastard”. No one came forth to claim the prize.

The 4-Cam Porsche engine (#90059) along with the original California Owner’s Registration (aka CA Pink Slip) listing the engine number is still in the possession of the family of the late Dr. Eschrich. The Porsche’s transaxle assembly (#10046), is currently owned by Porsche collector and restorer, Jack Styles in Massachusetts. Historian and author Lee Raskin originally documented and published all the serial numbers (VINs) for Dean’s Porsche Spyder (chassis, engine, transmission); as well as for his 356 Super Speedster. To date, neither of Dean’s Porsches have been located.

Stage

Broadway

  • See the Jaguar (1952)
  • The Immoralist (1954) – based on the book by André Gide

Off-Broadway

  • The Metamorphosis (1952) – based on the short story by Franz Kafka
  • The Scarecrow (1954)
  • Women of Trachis (1954) – translation by Ezra Pound

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1951 Fixed Bayonets! Doggie Uncredited
1952 Sailor Beware Boxing opponent’s second Uncredited
1952 Has Anybody Seen My Gal? Youth at soda fountain Uncredited
1953 Trouble Along the Way Extra Uncredited
1955 East of Eden Cal Trask Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
Jussi Award for Best Foreign Actor
1955 Rebel Without a Cause Jim Stark Nominated – BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
1956 Giant Jett Rink Golden Globe Special Achievement Award for Best Dramatic Actor
Nominated – Academy Award for Best Actor
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1951 Family Theater John Episode: “Hill Number One: A Story of Faith and Inspiration”
1951 The Bigelow Theatre Hank Episode: “T.K.O.”
1951 The Stu Erwin Show Randy Episode: “Jackie Knows All”
1952 CBS Television Workshop G.I. Segment: “Into the Valley”
1952 Hallmark Hall of Fame Bradford Episode: “Forgotten Children”
1952 The Web Himself Episode: “Sleeping Dogs”
1952-1953 Kraft Television Theatre Various roles 3 episodes
1952-1955 Lux Video Theatre Various roles 2 episodes
1953 The Kate Smith Hour The Messenger Episode: “The Hound of Heaven”
1953 You Are There Bob Ford Episode: “The Capture of Jesse James”
1953 Treasury Men in Action Various roles 2 episodes
1953 Tales of Tomorrow Ralph Episode: “The Evil Within”
1953 Westinghouse Studio One Various roles 3 episodes
1953 The Big Story Rex Newman Episode: “Rex Newman, Reporter for the Globe and News”
1953 Omnibus Bronco Evans Episode: “Glory in the Flower”
1953 Campbell Summer Soundstage Various roles 2 episodes
1953 Armstrong Circle Theatre Joey Frasier Episode: “The Bells of Cockaigne”
1953 Robert Montgomery Presents Paul Zalinka Episode: “Harvest”
1953-1954 Danger Various roles 4 episodes
1954 The Philco Television Playhouse Rob Episode: “Run Like a Thief”
1954 GE True Various roles 2 episodes
1955 The United States Steel Hour Fernand Lagarde Episode: “The Thief”
1955 Schlitz Playhouse Jeffrey Latham Episode: “The Unlighted Road”
1955 Crossroads   Episode: “Broadway Trust”
Aired posthumously

Biographical Films

  • James Dean: Portrait of a Friend aka James Dean (1976)
  • James Dean: The First American Teenager (1976), a television biography that includes interviews with Sal Mineo, Natalie Wood and Nicholas Ray.
  • 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 (2005)
  • 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 (2005).
  • James Dean – Outside the Lines (2002), episode of Biography, US television documentary includes interviews with Rod Steiger, William Bast, and Martin Landau (2002).
  • Joshua Tree, 1951: A Portrait of James Dean (2012)
  • Two Friendly Ghosts (2012)

Source: Wikipedia & Other Sources