As the circle of life goes, planning is sometimes impossible. Every day, people are faced with unexpected tragedies and unforeseen circumstances that could suddenly end it all.
Despite our perceptions, celebrities and movie stars are not bulletproof or an exception. Natalie Wood, River Phoenix, and Heath Ledger were just a few actors from Hollywood who suddenly died while actively working on films. Amongst the list of talent-involved tragedies was the rising movie star, James Dean.
The details behind James Dean’s tragic death
Dean had a reputation for racing, and ultimately, it seemed like the star’s fast and furious ways got the best of him. Driving his Porsche that he fondly nicknamed “Little Bastard” on September 30th, 1955, Dean crashed the Little Bastard and died. Dean died at the age of 24, and the tragic news shocked Hollywood and the world.
James Dean’s best friend voiced one scene in ‘Giant’ after his tragic death
At the time of Dean‘s death, he had just finished filming for the movie Giant, but the production wasn’t yet complete.
In Ferber: Edna Ferber and Her Circle, a Biography, Julie Goldsmith Gilbert wrote about Giant writer Edna Ferber, and explained the unusual circumstance:
“Dean never completed his work on Giant. His scenes on camera were in the can, but since one of them, in particular, was inaudible, he was scheduled to come back for looping — a post-production technique that involves dubbing in clarified dialogue to match the picture … Dean was not available to do this for one of his key scenes. It was the banquet speech … George Stevens and William Hornbeck, the film editor, recruited Dean’s former roommate and best friend, a young actor named Nick Adams, to complete the vocal role of Jett Rink (Dean’s character).”
Though it was far from ideal, it was likely a meaningful touch to be able to find someone who was close to Dean to help finish the production and his part.
A closer look at Nick Adams’ career
A Pennsylvania native, Nick Adams’ path to stardom was a unique one. The actor’s debut role came in the 1952 film Somebody Loves Me. In his earlier acting days, Adams admitted to having trouble finding consistent opportunities.
To help him gain some momentum, he joined an actors workshop that was being run by Arthur Kennedy, but in 1952, Adams enlisted in the coast guard. Ironically enough, this led to his 1955 role in Mr. Roberts. With the help of his agent, at the age of 23, Warner Brothers offered him a contract.
The actor was given a small part in the 1955 film Rebel Without a Cause. Oddly enough, in 1959, he was cast in a recurring role on a television show titled The Rebel.
Throughout the 1960s, Adams continued to land role after role. Young Dillinger and The Killing Bottle were two films he appeared in during this period. However, unfortunately, similarly to his good friend Dean, Adams’ life was also cut short.
In February of 1968, Adams was found dead in his Beverly Hills home. Unfortunately, a lot of mystery and unanswered questions still surround the star’s death. The autopsy listed Adams’ cause of death as a result of a mixture of “paraldehyde and promazine intoxication.”
The information surrounding these drugs and warnings involving their interactions was not nearly as prevalent as it is today. With that being said, on Adams’ death certificate there was also a note indicating “accident suicide undetermined.” The exact cause of his death is still a mystery. Some of Adams’ loved ones even speculated the possibility of murder, according to HuffPost.
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