Live fast, die young and get a salacious biography
James Dean has been dead for 60 years, and yet people still want to fuck him. Such is the fate of one of the sexiest movie stars ever. In his brief career, he gave iconic performances in three great movies - East of Eden, Rebel Without A Cause and Giant - then was killed in an automobile accident at age 24. The world has never really recuperated from his loss.
Now, my favorite biographers Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince have released James Dean: Tomorrow Never Comes, a massive 735 page biography from Blood Moon Productions. Probably gay, he was linked to dozens of other celebrities in his short life. The DPs have unearthed tons of great stories. I enjoyed it because they depict young Jimmy as basically rough trade with acting talent. But the book is also a comprehensive look at the life of an actor in the late '40s and early '50s. Dean started in television commercials, then did plays in New York, eventually landing roles on Broadway. He started to flourish in the early days of live television. (One broadcast, The Bells of Cockaigne, is performed largely shirtless.) Critics and producers gradually became aware of this mercurial talent, and it was just a matter of time before he was to become a big, big movie star.
With his downward gaze, cigarette dangling, and all that mumbling and shuffling, he more or less created the modern teenager archetype. Tomorrow Never Comes details more of the gay sex than any previous biography, so it is never boring. But it is also not afraid to depict the legend as mostly an asshole, the type of guy to show up at a party with bongoes and leave cigarette burns on the furniture. He also had a matador’s cape that he brought with him everywhere, even on dates. It’s a good thing he was so cute.
Typically of the DPs, there are lots of fabricated conversations in Tomorrow Never Comes, which many readers feel lessen the credibility of the astonishing amount of details unearthed by the authors. The DPs rely largely on gossip, much of it from mulitple sources, all contemporary. I adore the salacious biographies produced by Blood Moon Productions. My previous favourites, about Katherine Hepburn (a total dyke), or Steve McQueen (a teenage hustler), or Marilyn Monroe (murdered by the Mob, who injected poision into her anus so as to avoid the coroner’s detection) are delicious. Lately, the DPs have been plunging into the secret lives of politicians, with books about the Kennedys, the Clintons, the Reagans, and coming soon, Trump! I think Darwin Porter and Danforth Prince should be given some sort of reward for their amazing work. In the meantime, if you’re looking for ideal summer reading, a story that will fill your fantasies as well as answer all your dirtiest questions, look no further than James Dean: Tomorrow Never Comes.