Actor James Dean of Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden and Giant, died in a car crash on September 30, 1955, when he was only 24 years old.
Dean’s untimely death romanticized him into a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement. Hollywood celebrated him by making him the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations. In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him the 18th best male movie star of Golden Age Hollywood in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Stars list.
According to Wikipedia:
Dean’s funeral was held on October 8, 1955, at the Fairmount Friends Church in Fairmont, Indiana. The coffin remained closed to conceal the severe injuries to his upper torso and face. An estimated 600 mourners were in attendance, while another 2,400 fans gathered outside the church during the procession. Dean’s body is buried at Park Cemetery in Fairmount – less than a mile from where he grew up on his aunt and uncle’s farm.
Crazy Days and Nights (CDAN) is a Hollywood gossip website that has been described by The Daily Beast as having a track record of accuracy, and by investigative journalist Mark Ebner as “being proven right again and again”.
Yesterday, as a July 4th gift to his readers, CDAN’s Ent Lawyer published a bonanza of Blind Items Revealed, one of which is this mind-blowing reveal that James Dean had faked his death, moved to live a quiet life in Canada, and recently died in a real car accident at age 95.
Below is the Blind Item Revealed:
One of the longest held secrets in Hollywood was known by a handful of people. I was never one of those people. Even as the secret was passed down to a second and then a third generation, I still never knew. It was not until the last week of April that I was told the secret and that it was OK to talk about it now because the subject of the secret had been killed in an auto accident. That was kind of fitting considering that is how he “died,” the first time. He was A+ list that first time. The entire world loved him and adored him and he hated every second of it. He wanted no part of it. So, with the help of a police chief who thought the world of him and a rival studio head who was willing to do anything to not watch those big box office numbers he put up, they got to work. The studio chief got some set designers and stunt people and they created a car wreck. The police chief donated a body from the morgue no one was going to claim, so they could bury a body and it was all set. The studio chief signed a contract with the actor and it basically paid him about $1500 a week for his entire life. And boy did he live a long life. When he was killed north of the border in an auto accident in April he was 95 or 96 depending on whether you used his Canadian or American birth certificate. For much of the past 60 some odd years he had lived in a remote section of that northern country, but in the past few years moved to a much larger city so he and his wife could be closer to medical care. Being 95/96 didn’t stop his love of driving though and his wife loved being with him when he did. She was with him in the car when they were hit by a tractor trailer. His wife is expected to make a full recovery.
Some enterprising CDAN readers found news accounts of a fatal car-trailer collision on April 24, 2018 in Alberta, Canada, in which the 95-year-old driver of the car died.
The collision took place at around 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of Highway 583 and Highway 21 near Three Hills, Alberta. A passenger car carrying two occupants was struck on the driver’s side by a semi-tractor trailer unit. The car entered into the intersection from Highway 583 after the stop sign to make a left, north-bound turn onto Highway 21, when it was struck by the south-bound semi-truck.
The 95-year-old man driving the car, was brought to hospital, where he later died. The passenger of the car, a 96-year-old woman, was airlifted to a city hospital with serious injuries. The semi-driver was not injured.
There is an obituary for a 95-year-old man, William Jabez Stoness of Trochu, Alberta, Canada, who died on April 24, 2018, at 2:30 pm.
His wife, Reta, died two days later. (Her obituary here)
Stoness and Reta had 4 children, 15 grandchildren and 21 great-grandchildren.
The obit says Stoness “owned several Harley’s”. James Dean‘s hobby was auto racing. He competed in professional auto-racing events. He had been ticketed for speeding 2 hours 15 minutes before he slammed his Porsche into a Ford at an intersection on Route 466, near Cholame, California.
Below are side-by-side pics of James Dean (l) and William Jabez Stoness (r):
Compare also William Stoness with Winton Dean, father of James Dean, who died in 1995, at age 88 (obituary here):
What do you think?