“The trouble with me is that I’m just dog tired. Everybody hates me and thinks I’m a heel. They say I’ve gone to Hollywood, but honestly I’m just the same as when I didn’t have a dime. I’m tired. I went into “Giant” immediately after a long hard schedule in “Rebel”. Maybe I’d better just go away.” – James Dean
As soon as Giant was wrapped up, James Dean was anxious to get back to one of his greatest loves, racing. His “Giant” contract kept him from race tracks – so the minute he was free and clear, he set off for the race track in Salinas.
He gave “Marcus” (a cat who was a gift from Elizabeth Taylor) to an ex-girlfriend to watch for him until he returned.
Tragically, he never did.
“You know what a crazy life I lead. I just figured, you never know….I might never come home. Then what would happen to Marcus?” – James Dean
On September 30, 1955, James and Rolf Wutherich (a friend and mechanic), took off for Salinas in Dean’s 170 mph Porsche, while Sandy Roth and another friend came along behind in Jimmy’s station wagon.
Near Bakersfield, he was given a speeding ticket. The officer claims to have told him to slow down or he’d never reach Salinas alive.
Toward sunset, James Dean’s car collided at an intersection with a 23 year old college student’s. No one knows exactly whose fault the accident was – but most agree that Dean was probably driving too fast. The other driver, due to the failing light of sunset as well as Dean’s speed apparently never saw the Porsche until it was too late.
Rolf Wutherich was thrown clear, the other driver suffered no injuries, but James Dean, who’s neck had been broken, was dead within minutes.
“That guy’s GOT to see us.” – James Dean’s last words