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I think there's something about very good looking people dying young. They remain forever fixed at the peak of their physical attractiveness, they never age or sag or reveal themselves to be utter tossers (unless they have done so before their death), so it's easier to romanticise them.
Also, Dean (and Brando) came before, or were the start of, the 'teenager' as we know it today.
Up until then ,things had been pretty staid really.
Also, Dean (and Brando) came before, or were the start of, the 'teenager' as we know it today.
Up until then ,things had been pretty staid really.
Reminds me of what my older sister says about the Beatles; they were so fascinating because at the time there was nothing like them.
Fred Otash again.

The Fix Is In​

A credulous new biography of private eye Fred Otash makes some dubious claims about the detective's likely fictitious run-in with James Dean.​


Now that The Fixer, Josh Young and Manfred Westphal’s biography of L.A. private eye and fabulist Fred Otash, is out, and its claims about James Dean the subject of a People magazine feature, I can add a new detail to the analysis I provided back in January of the many reasons Otash’s story about catching Dean shoplifting caviar at the Hollywood Ranch Market is a likely fake. Be sure to click the link and read through for the details. The short version is that Otash’s published claim is chronologically confused and reflects incorrect information about Dean that was popularly believed in the 1970s but not before or after.

Cover of The Fixer

My initial analysis was based on Otash’s 1976 book Investigation Hollywood!, which was ghostwritten for him, allegedly from his interviews and notes. Young and Westphal have collated the text with what they claim were transcripts of Otash’s field notes used in production of the book. But, in the case of Dean, this only made things worse. In his 1976 book, Otash seemingly placed the events in 1954 or 1955, a time when he knew and recognized Dean as a celebrity. We know this because Otash states that he knew Dean was “some kind of idol” and asserts that he was unwilling to charge Dean with shoplifting because “I don’t want to be the guy that killed Santa Claus,” meaning the person who tarnished Dean’s celebrity image. Dean wasn’t a well-known celebrity until the summer of 1954, when he was 23.

However, when collating Otash’s book with his working notes, Young and Westphal produced a different account. According to them, Otash began moonlighting at the Hollywood Ranch Market grocery store in 1950, during a 60-day suspension from the LAPD for gambling. They claim, somewhat incredulously, that within days he had revolutionized store security by installing five two-way mirrors to catch shoplifters, of which there many, and immediately caught James Dean: ...

Jason finds a rare photograph.

A Surprising Photo Find

A rare photo of Rogers Brackett, James Dean's onetime lover, resurfaces after nearly 80 years.​

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on gathering the photos and other images for Jimmy: The Secret Life of James Dean. I had just finished collecting what I was able to find and license when I lamented that as important a role as advertising executive and radio producer Rogers Brackett played in James Dean’s life, there were no photos of him as a young man. To the best of my knowledge, the only photograph of him I had ever seen was the one Ronald Martinetti published in his James Dean biography, showing a terminally ill Brackett nearly twenty-five years after he met Dean.
Rogers Brackett Ve James Dean
Rogers Brackett (left) with portrait of himself and author Ronald Martinetti
I had scoured archives to see if I could find one that showed him in the prime of his life, but the closest I could come was a 1940s-era newspaper article that ran his photo alongside a piece about his radio and theater work. Unfortunately, that small local newspaper was committed to microfilm half a century ago, and all that survives is a black blob where the dark half-tone image photographed poorly.
You can imagine my surprise, then, when right before my deadline, CBS uncovered a picture of Brackett as he appeared a couple of years before Dean met him. He was the director of and occasional on-air personality on a CBS radio show called Vox Pop and the network commissioned a headshot in connection with that, according to the caption affixed to the picture. CBS digitized the image for the CBS Photo Archive a couple of weeks ago. (As best my research could determine, the copyright was never renewed, as required under the 1976 copyright act, which would make the picture public domain.) As far as I can tell, no other book has published this photo, and mine will therefore be the first.
Rogers Brackett as he appeared in 1946

I found the headshot fascinating because it is so much at odds with how Dean’s other lovers remembered their rival.

More dodgy claims about Dean.

This week, Factinate put out a YouTube video about John Derek, a mostly forgotten Hollywood heartthrob of the 1950s.

For our purposes, the only important information about him is that Ursula Andress broke up with James Dean in early September 1955, began dating Derek in late September, and married him the next year. The video, however, goes rather far in suggesting that Dean stalked Derek and tried to intimidate him into dropping Andress, which is a fairly dramatic story that doesn’t appear in any of the standard Dean biographies.

The video led me back to Factinate’s 2021 article on Derek, which gives a longer account:

When Derek and Andress started their affair, Dean was not happy; he even went so far as to stalk the two in his car while Derek and Andress were driving down Sunset Boulevard. Derek continued to date Andress, however, and things continued to escalate between Derek and Dean.
It soon led to an inevitable showdown between the two men.
The alleged showdown began after Derek dropped Andress off at her home one day. As soon as Derek stopped in front of Andress’s home, Dean walked out the door and offered to drive Derek around in his brand-new Porsche. Derek’s friends tried to stop him from getting into the car; they had no doubt that Dean’s intentions were far from good. Derek, however, wasn’t going to back down. He hopped into Dean’s car, which quickly roared to life. ...