CHOLAME, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – 67-years-ago on Sept. 30, 1955, 24-year-old actor James Dean was killed in Cholame, California.
The iconic actor was driving his 550 Porsche Spyder convertible he’d nicknamed “The Little Bastard” with his German Porsche mechanic Rolf Wütherich. They were on their way to a race in Salinas.
Dean, who starred in “Rebel Without a Cause,” crashed and died around 5:45 p.m. near Highway 41 and Highway 466, now known as Highway 46, southwest of Avenal.
The California Highway Patrol said a 1950 Ford Tudor heading east on Highway 466 just west of the junction was driven by 23-year-old Donald Turnupseed from Tulare.
Turnupseed’s Ford made a left turn onto Highway 41 from Highway 466, right into the path of Dean’s Porsche. Dean apparently tried to avoid the crash, but the two cars collided almost head-on.
Dean was taken to a local hospital where he died.
In the late 1970s, a memorial to Dean was erected near the crash site in Cholame by a fan.
Every year, fans from around the world come to the crash site to pay their respect to the movie legend.