He lived fast, died young and left a corpse mangled beyond recognition.
Sixty years after James Dean’s fatal car crash a shocking new biography reveals the insatiable libido and tormented psyche of the Rebel Without A Cause star who slept his way to the top in Hollywood.“He would sleep with anybody to get ahead,” says Darwin Porter, author of James Dean – Tomorrow Never Comes.
Even before East Of Eden was released, director Elia Kazan and Warners knew they had something special, but already Dean was proving difficult in a Hollywood more familiar with the quiescent stars of the studio system.
Dean’s second film, Rebel Without A Cause, with Natalie Wood, was a study of the new American obsession with middle-class delinquency.
It continued later in her life with a suicide attempt and years of daily analysis.
“Natalie,” adds Suzanne Finstad, author of Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood, “was always on the precipice of a crisis.”The year 1981 was no exception for the 43-year-old actress.
Wood's mother was keen for her three daughters, Wood and younger sister Svetlana - better known as Bond girl Lana Wood - to find fame, so she relocated the family to Los Angeles just five years after arriving in the United States.Famed for playing the troubled outsider, Dean drew from his own pained childhood.“He was barely nine when his mother died and his father was disinterested,” says Porter.But the life - and 1981 death - of Natalie Wood was shrouded in mystery, and her glittering career was tarnished with allegations of affairs, divorce, alcoholism and tabloid speculation about suicide.Throughout her life she had a tumultuous relationship with her mother, Maria, and was plagued by doubt over the identity of her father.