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October 1, 2014

Last Photographs of James Dean Taken Hours Before His Death in 1955

On September 30, 1955, James Dean was driving his new Porsche 550 Spyder to an auto rally in Salinas, California when the fatal accident occurred.

Originally planning to tow the Porsche to the rally, Dean changed his mind at the last minute and decided to drive the Porsche instead.

While Dean and Rolf Wuetherich (Dean's mechanic) rode in the Porsche, Dean had photographer Sanford Roth and friend Bill Hickman follow him in his Ford station wagon, which had a trailer for the Spyder attached.

En route to Salinas, Dean was pulled over by police officers near Bakersfield for speeding around 3:30 p.m. After being stopped, Dean and Wuetherich continued on their way. Two hours later, around 5:30 p.m., they were driving westbound on Highway 466 (now called State Route 46), when a 1950 Ford Tutor pulled out in front of them.

Twenty-three-year-old Donald Turnupseed, who was driving the Ford Tutor, has been traveling east on Highway 466 and was attempting to make a left turn onto Highway 41. Unfortunately, Turnupseed had already started to make his turn before he saw the roaring Porsche traveling quickly toward him. Without time to turn, the two cars smashed nearly head-on.

The injuries among the three involved in the crash varied greatly. Turnupseed, the driver of the Ford, only received minor injuries from the accident. Rolf Wuetherich, the passenger in the Porsche, was lucky to be thrown from the Porsche and thus suffered serious head injuries and a broken leg, but survived the crash.

James Dean, however, was killed in the accident. Dean was only 24-years-old when he died in the car accident.

This is the last official photograph of movie legend James Dean snapped on the morning of his fatal car crash on 30th Sept 1955. Dean is in the driving seat with mechanic Rolf Wutherich alongside him.

James Dean and Rolf Wuetherich drive through Sherman Oaks bound for Highway 99 and the trip north for a Salinas car race.

James Dean and Rolf Weutherich. One of his last pictures alive.

The actor gives the thumbs-up sign from the car while parked on Vine Street in Hollywood. Dean, who had taken up racing the year before, owned the car only nine days when he lost his life in the crash.

Some claim this photo of Dean at a petrol station with his Porsche is the last one taken of him before his death.

This image of the back of Dean's car as he was driving is also claimed by some to be the last picture taken of him before he died.

The wreck of Dean's car is removed from the scene of the crash in which the star was killed.

1 comment:

  1. Sharon Savage YildizOctober 1, 2014 at 3:05 AM

    I lived in Istanbul from 2007-2012, and the only thing that looks the slightest bit different now is the cars. Everything else is pretty much identical.




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