By Matthew Rettenmund. Jim was two seats down, having chosen the spot due to macular degeneration and hearing impairment. He was a tall, silver-haired gent who immediately placed his hand on my knee for emphasis as we chatted — not to emphasize any point he was making, but to ensure I knew he was not a sexless antique in spite of being 94 years old. After a few years at NBC as a page boy and tour guide, he had worked in radio and had segued into advertising and TV. He worked for almost exactly 40 years as a TV director, retiring to travel the world on what was at the time a generous Directors Guild pension.
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Even so, for decades, there have been rumors that James Dean was bisexual and maybe quite possibly gay. Tab Hunter , a former s matinee idol and friend of the Rebel Without a Cause star who publicly came out of the closet in , weighed in on the gossip when I sat down with him at South by Southwest to talk about his new Jeffrey Schwarz -directed documentary, Tab Hunter Confidential. Hunter, now 83, said he knew "Jimmy pretty well" because his friend Dick Clayton was his agent. He and Angeli apparently wanted to marry but never did because her mother was against it. As far as I know [about] Jimmy, no," Hunter said.
He is remembered as a cultural icon of teenage disillusionment and social estrangement, as expressed in the title of his most celebrated film, Rebel Without a Cause , in which he starred as troubled teenager Jim Stark. After his death in a car crash ,  Dean became the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor , and remains the only actor to have had two posthumous acting nominations. He also claimed that his mother was partly Native American, and that his father belonged to a "line of original settlers that could be traced back to the Mayflower ".
All of his movies became Hollywood classics, but he only saw one, East of Eden , completed. He was only 24 years old on September 30, , when he was driving down Route in his Porsche Spyder and a car collided with his, killing him almost instantly. The young star's life and career was cut short, but his premature death contributed to the legend he would become.