Friday, July 18, 2008
Six Degrees of Separation
I recently discovered some old photographs of my great-grandmother, the super great Mary Astor, cuddling on set with James Dean.
James Dean's young death catapulted him to eternal fame and iconoclasm, despite the fact his career was quite short and debatably unexciting. I haven't ever actually seen a movie with Jimmy Dean, although when after I saw these photos I found myself looking through more galleries set up by his fanatics-- and can definitely understand the allure. He is so brooding and sensual! Bad boyishly charming! Sigh...
They co-starred as mother and son in a made for TV movie in 1955 for "The US STEEL HOUR" and hour long LIVE television drama. The segment was called "The Thief." I wish television was still live - and I mean dramatic television - not the bloody Miss Universe Pageant. It's like free theater from your living room.
It was this particular role that secured James Dean his part in Rebel Without a Cause, which in turn, secured his immortality.
I particularly love the way my great-grandmother looked in this part of her career- although it is harder to find pictures of her during this time because she was mostly pioneering the actor's art form in the then new media of television. She is a little older, and reminds me a little more of my beloved Grammy and Moms.