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James Dean Death Anniversary: Remembering The Legend 56 Years On


First Posted: 09/30/11 06:53 PM ET Updated: 11/30/11 05:12 AM ET

James Dean died in a car crash on September 30, 1955, while on his way to Salinas, California, for a car race. At only 24 years old, he had already made an indelible mark on cultural history with three films, so much so that a documentary, "The James Dean Story," came out two years later. His film roles were always some variation on The Outcast -- troubled teen Jim Stark in "Rebel Without a Cause," social pariah Cal Trask in "East of Eden" and the more badass loner, Jett Rink in "Giant." In all of them, Dean brings a magnetism that goes beyond his looks, an internal struggle that never quite lets you in beyond the surface, which is probably why he always left his audience wanting more of him. His iconic role in "Rebel" continues to resonate with teenagers generations later in that Holden Caulfield kind of way.

To remember the screen legend, who would have been 80 today, watch "The James Dean Story," which chronicles his short-lived career, below. Alternately, watch him go from surly ranch hand to filthy rich oil baron in "Giant" this weekend, which you can stream instantly on Netflix.

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Filed by Gazelle Emami  |  Report Corrections