[[caption-width-right:200:Dean as [[Film/RebelWithoutACause Jim Stark]].]]

->''"Dream as if you'll live forever. Live as if you'll die today."''
-->-- '''James Dean'''

James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 September 30, 1955) was an American actor.

He is best known for the movies ''Film/RebelWithoutACause'', ''Film/EastOfEden'', and ''Film/{{Giant}}''... with good reason, as those are the only three films in which he had a starring role; he was killed in a car accident at the age of twenty-four, just as his career was starting to take off. Dean was the first actor to receive a posthumous AcademyAward nomination for Best Actor, and remains the only actor to have received more than one posthumous nomination.

A symbol of cool for teenagers of the [[TheFifties 1950s]] and nowadays for his being (reportedly) [[BiTheWay bisexual]]. His relatively short career and enduring popularity also makes him something of a real-life EnsembleDarkhorse.

The roles that made him famous (Cal Trask in ''Film/EastOfEden'' and Jim Stark in ''Film/RebelWithoutACause'') were TroubledButCute guys with {{Freudian Excuse}}s; his role as Jett Rink in ''Film/{{Giant}}'' was an attempt to break away from being typecast as troubled teens.
!!James Dean is commonly associated with the following tropes:
* AllGirlsWantBadBoys
* AmbiguousDisorder: He was known for his extreme mood swings and may have suffered from undiagnosed Bipolar Disorder.
* AuthorExistenceFailure: Not all of his work on ''Giant'' had been completed prior to his death.
* BadassBiker
* BiTheWay: When [[MistakenForGay asked if he was homosexual]], he is reported to have replied, "Well, I'm certainly not going through life with one hand tied behind my back." In recent years, his male best friend revealed that they were sexually intimate. He is also known to have had relationships with women.
* CoolLoser: One of the archetypes with which he is most associated.
* DawsonCasting: Cast as 16 year old Jim Stark in ''Rebel Without A Cause'' despite being 23 at the time. Made more obvious by the fact that Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood were the right age.
* IconicOutfit: His iconic Red jacket,white T-Shirt and Jeans in ''Rebel Without A Cause''.
* PlatonicLifePartners: With Elizabeth Taylor.
* SedgwickSpeech: His passenger on the fateful car trip survived, and reported that his last words were reassurance that the other driver could see them.
* ShortLivedBigImpact: He starred in only three Hollywood films and died in a tragic car crash shortly after finishing the third one, but his performances in ''East of Eden'' and ''Rebel Without a Cause'' (especially the latter) pretty much defined the "misunderstood bad-boy teen" image of the era.
* TeenIdol
* TroubledButCute