James Dean: The Biography

Written by Val Holley

“What’s important about Jimmy is that in spite of his short life, he had really lived-and with his beauty, he acted in ways that other actors only dream about.” — Terese Hayden, producer, Camino Real

Killed in a car crash at only 24, James Dean has become a tragic legend.

Compared to a Marlon Brando, Dean rose to fame in the film East of Eden, based on the novel by John Steinbeck.

American teenagers particularly related to Dean through his role in Rebel Without a Cause, where he portrayed an emotionally confused teen.

This is the most comprehensive biography of James Dean ever written, based upon over one hundred interviews with people who have never before spoken on record.

Val Holley delves into Dean’s early life and training on stage and in television using research that is astounding in its detail and frequently lets his sources speak in their own voices.

Praise for James Dean: The Biography:

“Val Holley allows James Dean to be as wily, controlling, beautiful, seductive, sexually ambivalent, and actory as he apparently was. It’s like suddenly having the gift of a fourth, posthumous movie to slip on the shelf.” — Brad Gooch, author of City Poet: The Life and Times of Frank O’Hara

“I was drawn in by its legwork and detail, surprising interviews, sweet reasoning, and vivid characterization. This immortal of the screen stacks up as an American enigma.” — Patrick McGilligan, author of George Cukor: A Double Life,

“Val Holley’s James Dean is obviously a labor of love, and very thorough.” — Washington Post Book World

“The most definitive biography yet written … quite interesting without being sensational.” — Booklist

“Holley has produced a meticulously documented work that dissects Dean’s personality as never before.” — Publishers Weekly

“Thoroughly researched and engagingly written, this is a worthy addition to the growing body of literature surrounding an actor whose life achieved mythic proportions as a result of his untimely death.” — Library Journal

“The freshest, most revealing, and probably the most truthful account of [Dean] I have ever read.” — Alexander Walker, author of Vivien: The Life of Vivien Leigh

Val Holley has written numerous articles on James Dean and H. L. Mencken. He lives in Washington, D.C. James Dean was his first full biography.

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