James Byron Dean (February 8, 1931 — September 30, 1955) was an American film actor. He is a cultural icon best embodied in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause (1955), in which he starred as troubled Los Angeles teenager Jim Stark. The other two roles that defined his stardom were as loner Cal Trask in East of Eden (1955), and as the surly farmer Jett Rink in Giant (1956). Dean’s enduring fame and popularity rests on only these three films, his entire output being in starring roles. His death in a car crash at an early age cemented his legendary status.
He was the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor and remains the only person to have two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked Dean the 18th best male movie star on their AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars list.