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Griffith Observatory History: James Dean

July 12, 2017

Original Post by Deissy Flores

Nowadays, Hollywood celebrity status is given to almost anyone, ranging from Youtubers to reality TV stars. James Dean, however, is still one of the few that hasn’t been forgotten, and is remembered for his role in Rebel Without a Cause (1955).

Born in Marion, Indiana on February 8, 1931, Dean moved to New York City and studied under the legendary Lee Strasberg.  After acting in several television shows, Dean appeared in three major films which would cement his reputation as one of Hollywood’s great talents: East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. Sadly, however,  he died on September 30, 1955, at the age of twenty-four. Keeping up with his thrill for life, Dean was on his way to compete at a racing event, but lost control of his vehicle.

Rebel Without a Cause  is one of the most famous films shot at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California.  A famous fight scene from the film includes shots of the east side of the building and the planetarium.

In 2006, a James Dean statue was installed overlooking the Hollywood sign on the west terrace at Griffith Observatory, paying tribute to the actor.  He has become the quintessential Hollywood symbol, evoking the stories, aspirations and tragedies that have made Hollywood iconic.

At LA Tour1, you can take one of our hiking tours up to visit this famous history. Walk through Griffith Park and its surroundings, explore more of Hollywood’s history, reach the top of Griffith Observatory–which overlooks all of L.A.–and give old James Dean a visit. Join us!