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Will Robert Pattinson Film Explore James Dean's Secret Gay Life?

Relationship with Life Magazine Photographer Will Be Focus

James Dean in one of his iconic photos on a motorcycle with a cigarette and leather jacket.

James Dean in one of his iconic photographers on a motorcycle with a cigarette and leather jacket.

Robert Pattinson’s new movie about the relationship between ’50s film icon James Dean and celebrity photographer Dennis Stock would be remiss if it didn’t explore Dean’s homosexuality. But so far no word on whether that topic will be included.

Dean personally kept his sexuality clouded during his short Hollywood career. He even had a high profile romance with actress Pier Angeli.

But privately, especially before he became famous, Dean was linked to affairs with a number of men, including the actors Marlon Brando and Clifton Webb as well as advertising executive and producer Rodgers Brackett.

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Brackett took Dean in when he was a starving actor in Los Angeles. They lived together and Brackett helped him throughout his career. When asked, once, if he knew Brackett was gay, Dean only replied “I have my own room.”

It was a career death sentence for actors to opening admit they were gay in the 1950s, especially if they were leading men. Gay actors like Rock Hudson even engaged in sham marriages to conceal their sexuality.

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In fact, Noreen Nash, one of Dean’s co-stars on his last movie “Giant,” once said that Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson bet who would bed Dean first. Hudson won, according to the actress.

“Rebel without a Cause” director Nicholas Ray and the movie’s screenwriter Gavin Lambert both later said Dean was gay, but the young actor, who died at 24, never said as much.

“No, I am not a homosexual,” he once replied when asked. “But, I’m also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.”

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Stack met Dean in 1953 at a party thrown by Ray before “East of Eden,” the 1955 film that made Dean famous, was released. After watching Dean in the movie, Stack knew the young actor had a unique star quality.

He proposed doing a photo essay of the young actor for Life magazine, then one of the most influential publications in the United States. The magazine approved, and Stack came away with iconic shots of the actor that defined his career as much as his films, according to Life magazine.

Dean, who epitomized the “mystery and torment of adolescence,” was “introspective, intensely self-analyzing and occasionally self-absorbed,” according to the magazine. “At times, he was also self-deprecating almost to the point of parody.”

The two spent weeks together over the course of three months as they traveled to Dean’s hometown in Fairmount, Indiana, and later to New York City and back to Hollywood. It’s hard to believe Dean’s sexuality didn’t come up.

But there is no evidence that Stack was gay or bisexual. When he died at 81 in 2010, he was survived by a wife and two children, according to his obituary.

Still, will the film be doing Dean justice, if it doesn’t explore his sexuality? Let us know your thoughts and follow TheImproper on Twitter for the latest Robert Pattinson updates you can trust.

  • Peter Petropolis

    who is “Stack”?

  • Muse96

    Rock Hudson and James Dean didn’t get along, so I doubt that story is true. Elizabeth Taylor spent most of her time with Rock Hudson when they were shooting Giant, and she’s the one who said that.

  • zflynn

    Patterson may be a lot of things, frankly I don’t know-never watched him-but he clearly cannot pull off Dean’s appeal. Even from still photos Dean jumps out at you, even stronger than the young Brando, who also lit up the photo and screen in unmatchable fashion.

  • Carl

    In Darwin Porters book, ‘Steve McQueen, King of Cool, Tales of a lurid Life,’ it indicates that Dean was very attracted to McQueen and was fu*ked by him on more than one occasion. Rogers Brackett, the TV producer who was Deans mentor for a time in California and who had a sexual relationship with Dean noted that the boy shared details with Brackett about his sexual relationship with McQueen and other movie personalities of the time – Paul Newman, Montgomery Clift, Rock Hudson, who apparently won after he and Elizabeth Taylor made a bet as to who would lay Dean first during the filming of ‘Giant.’

  • Rodolfo Valentino

    This individual Pattinson is like most of James Dean critics. They were nobody before, now or ever. A lot of men with good looks, always were pursued by gay men and beautiful women. However, gay men paid them the money and if they were powerful in the movie industry, guys like Dean took advantage of the situation by performing on them and not the other way around. Dean had Pier Angeli, Ursula Andress and other “cuchicus”. When I visited a then famous Italian restaurant in Hollywood named Villa Capri in 1959, there were rumors by employees, that Dean perforated some good looking chicks in the employee’s, rest room! Take that to the casino collecting cage. Do some real research before you accuse, without prove, the sexuality of a brilliant actor!

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  • natalie

    The part Pattinson plays is not a gay man. There were many facets to James Dean, not everything is about sex.

    • Muse96

      Why bring that rumor up? James Dean never came out and said he was gay. He was in a relationship with Pier Angeli. Her mother didn’t like him because he was the opposite of her, and kind of wild. They ended up breaking up. They said when she got married he waited outside the church on his motorcycle and sped away when they came out. They said he never got over it even though he dated other women, and then died so young.

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