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Valentine's Day With 50s Icon James Dean

In February 1955, James Dean took a break after filming his first starring role in East of Eden. He headed to his hometown of Fairmount, Indiana to celebrate his birthday. The event was chronicled by photographer Dennis Stock and would eventually be featured in Life magazine. From his book "James Dean: Fifty Years Ago", Stock writes of trying to get the rapidly rising actor to agree to let the photographer chronicle Dean’s return to New York and Indiana.


"The story, as I explained it [to Jimmy],” Stock wrote, “was to reveal the environments that affected and shaped the unique character of James Byron Dean. We felt a trip to his hometown, Fairmount, Indiana, and to New York, the place of his professional beginnings, would best reveal those influences…. I would solicit an assignment guarantee to cover expenses. The obvious magazine to approach was LIFE…. It took only a week for LIFE to approve the assignment.”


LIFE ran a number of the pictures in its March 7, 1955, issue, under the headline, “Moody New Star.”