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January 14, 2024

Candid Photographs of James Dean Playing With His Nephew Marcus Winslow at Home in Fairmount, Indiana in 1955

Photographer Dennis Stock met James Dean in 1955, a few months before the latter’s sudden death. These pictures were taken during James’ last trip back to Fairmount, Indiana. The photographer who came with him believed something eerie registered with James at the time because the only character he had played so far was Cal Trask in East of Eden, supposedly James did not know at the time that the grave was that of his great grandfather and felt odd about the situation.

“If you want to get to your roots, you go into a graveyard, especially in a small town,” Dennis Stock said. “One morning Jimmy, Markie, and I wandered through Fairmount’s Park Cemetery, which was filled with many Dean ancestors, and suddenly happened on the gravestone of Cal Dean, who was his great-grandfather. Both Jimmy and I were struck by the odd coincidence of the name, for Jimmy, of course, had just finished portraying Cal Trask in East of Eden.”

“Jimmy slid into a very simple and uncomplicated relationship with Markie-somewhat as an older brother might. While he was in Fairmount he helped Markie build a model Jaguar and repair his bicycle, and on occasion played with him in his improvised Soap Box Derby racer. I think Jimmy was seeing himself as a young boy: Markie’s childhood was so much like his own, so intimately involved with the movement and power of tractors. And from that you move on the bikes and motorcycles and racing cars: the mechanical life. It was very easy for Jimmy to adapt almost immediately to that facet and, in that regard, to identify with his cousin.”

(Photos by © Dennis Stock/Magnum Photos)

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