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The last resting place of James Byron Dean. I tried to do something a little different with this shot, trying to capture the stone kind of off-balance, to get the background, but it didn't quite work out as I had intended. It's still more interesting than just the straight-on shot of this grave marker, however. I'm really surprised that there aren't photos of this anywhere on TE, nor of the beautiful small town near the cemetery where this was taken.

This is, of course, the grave site of James Dean, the famous, if ill-fated actor, who was born in the nearby town of Marion, IN, in 1931. His mother died of cancer when he was 9 years old, and because his father was unable to work and care for him, Dean went to live on his aunt and uncle's farm in Fairmount, IN, actually located about two miles outside of town. The beautiful farm, which is still owned and operated by Marcus Winslow, Jr., a cousin of his, the son of his aunt and uncle who raised him (as a youth, he is seen in several famous photos of Dean), is situated less than a mile north of where he is now buried.

May I safely assume that James Dean needs no introduction: a good indicator of his fame is the lipstick on the grave marker, seen here. People still come from all over the world, thousands a year, through this picturesque small town (VERY small: it has ONE traffic light), visiting the museums and galleries devoted to his short but illustrious life and career, and who make the pilgrimage out to the cemetery where he is now laid to rest.

Dean made only three movies, but turned out such remarkable performances that he was posthumously nominated for academy awards for two of them: East of Eden and Giant, but not for what has become his most famous film, Rebel Without A Cause, released after his death, in 1955. He was killed in September of that year, in northern California, near Cholame, up by Salinas, where he was traveling to compete in a car race. At an intersection, he was broadsided by a much larger vehicle than the tiny race car he was driving, as the driver, a 23-year-old college student, apparently didn't see him coming from the opposite direction at sunset in the tiny silver car which sat only about two and a half feet off the ground.

Suffering from fatal injuries, Dean survived the crash for only a short time, but died en route to the hospital located some thirty miles away, in Paso Robles. He was pronounced dead on arrival. His mechanic, who was a passenger, survived the crash with serious injuries. Dean's body was transported back to his hometown, where he had lived with his aunt and uncle, and where he had first taken acting courses in high school, for burial. The towns in this area of central Indiana are lovely, and well worth a visit, even if you're not all that well-acquainted with James Dean, although to be this beloved more than a half-century after one's death is really something to behold.

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Additional Photos by Terez Anon (terez93) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 89 W: 78 N: 1052] (1873)
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