I Remember James Dean as Brought to You by Google and Other Haphazard Forms of Research, Speculation
James Dean, you were the rebel without a cause. Today I can buy your brand of rebel on a tie, a novelty belly ring, a doll, a knife, a calendar, a stamp, a watch, or a dog tag. You starred in only three movies — Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden, and Giant — yet the American Film Institute ranks you 18 out of 100 male movie stars. Did you know that Burt Lancaster, number 19, has acted in 70 more movies than you? Like yours, none of them are in the top 100 movies of all time, not even From Here to Eternity. But you still have it pretty sweet, being dead. The Smiths may have immortalized Richard Davalos on an album cover, but Morrissey later wrote a song for you. So did the London Suede, and even the Beach Boys. Rick Moody wrote a story about you joining a garage band. Your estate still makes more than 5 million dollars a year. But who gets the money? Certainly not Elia Kazan, who directed you in East of Eden. He thought you were a “sick kid” who was incapable of having a healthy relationship. Not Liz Sheridan, either. You supposedly dated her before you were famous, but we only know her as Jerry Seinfeld’s TV mother. William Blast never saw the cash, either. Maybe he made some money after his tell-all book, though, in which he claimed you were long-time lovers. You may or may not have been gay, but it got you out of the draft. So I heard, anyway. Maybe that kid who took your place, maybe he should have gotten the money. I bet he died in Korea or something. Jimmy Dean or Paula Deen don’t get your money, either. Jimmy made enough money from sausage. And Paula certainly makes enough money cooking it. Did you have a favorite sausage? Would you consider that a double entendre? But yeah, maybe I could have your money if no one else is using it and because I so blatantly asked first, I so called shot gun. Speaking of which, your co-pilot in the Porsche, Rolf Wütherich, was a lucky son of a bitch, huh? Rumor has it that’s what you said to him as you were stretchered into the ambulance, minutes from death: son of a bitch. Maybe I am making that up. You probably would have said that if you survived, though, sitting in the audience at your lifetime achievement award, next to some beard 40 years your junior who actually was sucking on your money like Judy Garland on a Seconal bottle. They would have called your name for some bozo award, and you would have thought to yourself, son of a bitch, did I just pee myself or son of a bitch, I left my wallet in the limo, or son of a bitch, I wish I’d died in the Porsche. But you did. Pretty sweet, huh?
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