she liked Imaginary Men best of all

25 Days / Day 14 / James Dean

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Who: James Dean, icon: Cal Trask, Jim Stark, Jett Rink

Why: He is the actor that every young male actor for the past 55 years has been measured up against. He may have been the most photogenic man Hollywood has ever seen. He was brilliant. By dying tragically young he wasn’t able to damage the indelible images and performances he left behind

When: Teens

Level of Obsession: I still have the photo postcard collage of him I made up in my attic. My dad gave me a James Dean Cookie Jar which was a quite realistic depiction of him as Jim Stark from Rebel Without a Cause. I was very excited when (as an adult) I was able to visit Salinas (EoE) and the Griffith Observatory (RWaC)

“Ahhhh!” Moment(s): Can’t name one but I know what drew me in was his intensity and how he could in a single scene swing from a wounded little boy to an aggrieved animal. And it seems like every photo I see of him he looks cooler and more beautiful than the last

James Dean is one of the few obsessions I’ve had in my life that my dad could actually get behind. Once driving back from Southern to Central California, he routed us through James Dean’s “Death Drive” so I could see it and visit the memorial site. It was a very cool experience and the area was still fairly desolate (at that time) so it was easy to imagine it didn’t look that different than it did in 1955. James Dean would be 78 years old and he is still an influence (don’t tell me Edward Cullen’s pompadour and upturned jacket collars are not Dean-esque.)

Author: Amy H. Johnson

Amy H. Johnson is the author of The Fangirl Files a memoir about Boy Bands, TV Boyfriends and imaginary betrothals to 80s English pop stars. She prefers to be referred to as a "Cute Famous Boy Aficionado".

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