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

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.

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