The Real James Dean

The Real James Dean
The Real James Dean

The Real James Dean

Intimate Memories from Those Who Knew Him Best
Edited by Peter Winkler, Foreword by George Stevens, Jr.


368 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Trade Paper, Mobipocket, EPUB, PDF

Trade Paper, $21.99 (US $21.99) (CA $29.99)

ISBN 9781613734728

Rights: WOR

Chicago Review Press (Aug 2016)


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In the decades following his death, many of those who knew James Dean best––actors, directors, friends, lovers (both men and women), photographers, and Hollywood columnists––shared stories of their first-person experiences with him in interviews and in the articles and autobiographies they wrote. Their recollections of Dean became lost in fragile back issues of movie magazines and newspapers and in out-of-print books that are extremely hard to find. Until now. The Real James Dean is the first book of its kind: a rich collection spanning six decades of writing in which many of the people whose lives were touched by Dean recall their indelible experiences with him in their own words. Here are the memorable personal accounts of Dean from his high school and college drama teachers; the girl he almost married; costars like Rock Hudson, Natalie Wood, Jim Backus, and Raymond Massey; directors Elia Kazan, Nicholas Ray, and George Stevens; entertainer Eartha Kitt; gossip queen Hedda Hopper; the passenger who accompanied Dean on his final, fatal road trip; and a host of his other friends and colleagues.


"A fascinating compendium..." —Library Journal

“Editor Peter L. Winkler … provides cogent commentary on the validity of the various stories presented here.” —Edge Media Network

“A rich and remarkably well-done anthology.” —The National Book Review

The Real James Dean by Peter L. Winkler is a fascinating read with each essay offering a unique reflection from one of Dean’s contemporaries. It’s much more approachable than a full in-depth biography.” —Out of the Past

“The book reveals an individual of complexity, admired by some and despised by others, but always fascinating. … It’s a must read for anyone interested in James Dean and Hollywood.” —Twenty Four Frames

“[A] corrective to fans, and crazies, who have done so much to keep Dean’s flame alive and shape his image since he died.” —Critics at Large

“[T]he most balanced and courageous portrait of Dean we’ve seen.” —Classic Movie Chat 

Author Biography

Peter L. Winkler is the author of Dennis Hopper. His writing has appeared in Filmfax, The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and Playboy. He lives in Sun Valley, California. George Stevens Jr. is the son of George Stevens, who directed James Dean in Giant. A writer, director, and producer, he founded the American Film Institute and is co-chairman of the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.