Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times and Legend of James Dean

Boulevard of Broken Dreams: The Life, Times and Legend of James Dean

by Paul Alexander
     
 

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This is the first biography of James Dean to look beyond the Hollywood-manufactured cliché to the volatile polarities, conflicted sexuality, and childhood trauma of the person himself. James Dean's legendary status as a Hollywood icon is reconsidered in Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which explores the process by which he became the electric and exciting actor

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Overview

This is the first biography of James Dean to look beyond the Hollywood-manufactured cliché to the volatile polarities, conflicted sexuality, and childhood trauma of the person himself. James Dean's legendary status as a Hollywood icon is reconsidered in Boulevard of Broken Dreams, which explores the process by which he became the electric and exciting actor who came to stand for a whole generation's feelings of rebellion. What no one knew at the highlight of his career was that Dean had suffered agonies of torment over his own sexual ambivalence and the concealment that Hollywood studio mores made necessary. Author Paul Alexander talks to Dean's contemporaries, unearths all available source material, and re-creates not only the closed and closeted world of Hollywood in the '50s but the bucolic serenity of Dean's hometown in Indiana as well. This revisionist, passionate portrait, based on many new and documented sources and featuring shocking photographs, argues that Dean's angst-ridden compliance—in public—with rigid sexual expectations helped fuel the fury and electricity of his acting. Its conclusions will be a revelation to film buffs, gay readers, pop-culture aficionados, and everyone concerned with the ethics of image versus reality.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is a juicy biography that looks at the events that shaped Dean's (1931-1955) homosexuality. The death of his mother left Dean to be raised by relatives in Indiana, where he enjoyed an adolescence filled with basketball, 4-H Clubs and fast motorcycles. During this idyllic time he lost his virginity--to the local minister. After graduation from high school, Dean moved to L.A. to attend acting classes at UCLA. Unable to find film work, he slept with men (including, purportedly, Clifton Webb) who could help him to get acting jobs. Moving to Manhattan, he joined the Actors Studio to study under Lee Strasberg. After appearing on TV and Broadway, Dean returned to Hollywood to make East of Eden . Rebel Without a Cause and Giant followed, but Dean died in a car accident before their premieres. No movie critic, Alexander ( Rough Magic ) instead has written a graphic sexual biography that's likely to shock Dean fans. Photos not seen by PW. (July)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780452278400
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1997
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.07(w) x 8.97(h) x 0.89(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Paul Alexander has published two books about Sylvia Plath and regularly contributes to The New York Times Magazine, New York magazine, The Nation, Cosmopolitan, Premiere, The Village Voice, ARTnews, and The Guardian. He lives in New York City.

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