Well before his untimely death, James Dean (1931 – 1955) was considered a cultural icon. The studios loved him, cameras followed him everywhere, and fans worshiped him.
Just like the characters he portrayed though, the Hollywood star had an unstable upbringing.
After his mother died in 1940, Dean’s father struggled to raise the rebellious youth. He was shuffled between homes, before ultimately leaving California for Indiana, where he lived with his aunt.
Following his death, James Dean became the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor, and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations.