Magazine article USA TODAY

The Silver Screen's Restless Icon

Magazine article USA TODAY

The Silver Screen's Restless Icon

Article excerpt

IN DECEMBER 1954, a 23-year-old actor was the subject of a photo essay for Life magazine. A loner who marched to his own eccentric beat, James Dean was by no means an easy subject. He was considered reclusive, antisocial, and simply was not interested in anything less than his art and craft. Ultimately, he would allow just two interviews during his short career.

Dean only had one condition for the shoot--that the photographer, Roy Schatt, teach him photography. What surfaced from this collaboration was an extraordinary series of photographs of and by Dean.

Long thought lost, these intimate pictures recently were discovered and are available for public view. Here, for the first time in 50 years, we get to see the private world of the man who helped revolutionize American culture. "Marlon Brando changed the way actors acted; James Dean changed the way people lived," suggests actor Martin Sheen.

"I knew James Dean--as a friend and as a student," Schatt noted in 1954. "He was a disrupter of norms, a bender of rules, a disquieter of calm. Through [these images], I hope to transmit a glimpse of his most insistent and, eternal, presence."

Dean had one of the most spectacularly brief careers of any movie star. In just more than a year and, in a mere three films, he became a widely admired screen idol, a personification of the restless American youth of the mid 1950s, and an embodiment of the title of his most famous motion picture, "Rebel Without a Cause."

Dean, 24, was killed Sept. …

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