James Dean is a legend in his own right.  A Hollywood icon, and his legacy lives on in one small Indiana town.

WOMI-AM logo
Get our free mobile app

The Legacy of James Dean

James Dean is a Hollywood icon who is well-known for his tragically short career and lasting impact on Hollywood.  His most well-known role was in the movie Rebel Without a Cause.  Unfortunately, James Dean's career was cut short when he died in a car accident in 1955.  According to the biography on his website, he was only in three films, but his impact on Hollywood was as huge as he was seen as the embodiment of the restless American youth of the 1950s.

James Dean's Hoosier State Ties

What you may not know is that James Dean is a fellow Hoosier.  He was born to Winton and Mildred Dean on February 8th, 1931 in Marion, Indiana.  When James Dean was five his family moved to Los Angeles, but after his mother passed away when he was only nine years old he moved back to Indiana.

He returned to the Midwest after his mother passed away and was raised by his aunt and uncle on their Indiana farm. After graduating from high school, he returned to California where he attended Santa Monica Junior College and UCLA. James Dean began acting with James Whitmore’s acting workshop, appeared in occasional television commercials, and played several roles in films and on stage. In the winter of 1951, he took Whitmore’s advice and moved to New York to pursue a serious acting career. He appeared in seven television shows, in addition to earning his living as a busboy in the theater district, before he won a small part in a Broadway play entitled See the Jaguar.


American Actor James Dean
Getty Images

Laid to Rest in Indiana

After his untimely passing, James Dean was laid to rest in a cemetery in Fairmount, Indiana. Fairmount is a small town and is well known for being the hometown of James Dean and Jim Davis (creator of Garfield the Cat).


According to James Dean Gallery, his funeral was held in Fairmount and it's estimated roughly 600 people were in attendance while more than 2,000 gans gathered outside.

Dean’s funeral was held on October 8, 1955 at the Fairmount Friends Church in Fairmount, Indiana. The coffin remained closed to conceal his severe injuries. An estimated 600 mourners were in attendance, while another 2400 fans gathered outside of the building during the procession.  James Dean’s final resting place is at the Park Cemetery in Fairmount, just about one mile from the James Dean Gallery.

You can visit James Dean's final resting place in Fairmount, Indiana and while you're there you can see other sites around the town that have ties to the legendary actor, including stopping at the James Dean Gallery. 


LOOK: Where people in Indiana are moving to most

Stacker compiled a list of states where people from Indiana are moving to the most using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Gallery Credit: Stacker