Beautiful Enigma: LIFE With James Dean

TIME

So much has been written about James Dean, and his influence looms so large over movies and over popular cultural in general, that it’s always jarring to be reminded that at the time of his death, at the preposterously young age of 24, he had starred in only three films—two of which hadn’t even been released when he died in a car crash on Sept. 30, 1955.

And yet, as iconic a star as Dean has become, much of the public’s view of the brooding young man from Indiana was, in fact, formed not by his singular onscreen presence in Giant, East of Eden or even Rebel Without a Cause, but by a series of remarkable pictures made in early 1955 by the photographer Dennis Stock.

In his 2005 book James Dean: Fifty Years Ago, Stock writes of trying to get the rapidly rising actor, whom he…

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