Right after his huge success in “East of Eden” James Dean started studying acting with my father, Jeff Corey. Dad thought he was incredibly talented and was impressed with how generous James was with his fellow students. He didn’t bring a drop of movie star persona to class and he was always willing to take the time to help out a young actor who was struggling with a part.
One day James drove his new, street racer, the famous Porsche 550 Spyder, to class. He was excited to show it to dad. My father thought it was beautiful and could understand how a young man like James might want to drive it. But he also thought it was dangerous. When James offered to take him for a ride, dad declined. Years later, my father told me nothing could have compelled him to get into that Porsche. James was killed in a horrible accident in that car just a few weeks after he offered to give dad a ride. He was so talented and way too young to die.