Shooting James Dean all around New York City

JamesdeandennisstocktimessquareIn early 1955, after wrapping up his third and final movie in California, James Dean allowed photographer Dennis Stock to chronicle his return to his hometown in Indiana as well as his adopted city of New York.

East of Eden had yet to be released, and Rebel Without a Cause wouldn’t premiere until shortly after his death in September.

But Dean was a rising celeb, and in a story titled “Moody New Star,” Stock’s images appeared in the March 7, 1955 issue of Life magazine.

These photos of Dean looking introspective as he walks through Manhattan lmost 60 years ago are part of a more extensive collection available in the wonderful Life archives.


Here’s Dean brooding in Times Square and another part of what looks like Midtown, with an old-school barber pole in the frame.

The photos helped solidify his image as an outsider before the public really got to see his onscreen persona.


And then there’s this shot of him in his tiny studio apartment on the top floor of a brownstone on West 68th Street. It was Dean’s home in the early 1950s, when he was one of thousands of struggling young actors trying to make it in the city.

[Photos: Dennis Stock-Magnum/Life magazine]

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6 Responses to “Shooting James Dean all around New York City”

  1. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    These photos of DEAN have had a loooong life. His estate has reaped ‘some serious coin’ from the ‘cool, young man’s image’ by helping to sell: eyewear and khaki pants and even his pennyloafer shoes in magazine ads. All were part of his attire spotted in other photos of Dean on New York City streets!
    (What fun this site is — I love your selections featured here.)

  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    Thank you! I like his apartment, very compact.

    • Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

      Regarding that apartment — did everyone take note of the wall decor? James Dean has on the wall a set of bull horns along with a bull-fighting cape. (Perhaps he was inspired by Hemingway!)

  3. ephemeralnewyork Says:

    The NYT article includes an anecdote about the cape from his former girlfriend, Liz Sheridan, who in the 1990s played Jerry’s mom on Seinfeld!

  4. Audrey Burtrum-Stanley Says:

    OK — your audience is waiting. Ya gotta share the story about the ‘horns & cape’ now!

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