James Dean's short life and three-film career inspired countless actors and rebellious teenagers, but his untimely death in a 1955 car crash has been an inspiration of a different kind. The ensuing decades have seen a continuing fascination with Dean's life, and have also fostered legions of devotees fascinated by his death. W ith the expected (death site pilgrims, alternative theorists, reports of Dean's ghost hitchhiking along that fated highway), there are the odd, the unbelievable and the downright wacky: lingering love affairs with Dean's ghost, visions of his disembodied head and, of course, reports that he's alive and well, raising chickens and drinking rum with buddies in South America. The ongoing, growing fascination, folklore and legend surrounding the life and death of James Dean is testament that the cult of celebrity death is alive and well. This encyclopedia of James Dean-related subjects includes entries on such topics as associates, locales, books, and ephemera associated with his life. It focuses intensely on the events and people linked to his fatal crash, and on the body of myth, mystery and folklore surrounding Dean's tragic death.