Gay Questions Over James Dean’s Last Moments
Mothership Blog correspondent John Hartley exclusively reveals inside information regarding James Dean’s last moments, and a gay sex act which may have contributed to his fatal car accident.
James dean’s wonderfully photogenic images and influence are inescapable. The inspiring young actor who made just three movies before dying in a car accident on his way to Salinas, California on September 30, 1955, has defined “cool” for succeeding generations. Despite relationship claims by various women, notably actress Pier Angeli and dancer and singer Liz Sheridan, there is much more reliable evidence of Dean’s gay lovers such as William Bast ( his first biographer) , Rogers Brackett (by way of the casting couch), and Methodist minister, the Reverend James De Weerd (who paid for his first trip to New York).
On London’s gay scene in the 1980s I briefly knew someone who told me a startling gay secret about James Dean which he believed on good authority to be true. In all the years since, despite the enormous amount of books published and words written about Dean, I’ve never seen this alleged secret mentioned, even to be refuted. So later in this article, I’m going to reveal what I was told all those years ago.
William Bast’s 2006 memoir, Surviving James Dean, released much new material, along with the interesting speculation that Dean, the often difficult and unpredictable friend and sometime sexual partner, who he still misses deeply, was bipolar. Fans trying to get closer to Dean, who has assumed a kind of gay sainthood, he explains, would occasionally succeed in bedding him. Bast relates humourously instances in which a shag nearing orgasm would cry out yes, yes Jimmy, instead of Bill, which was deflating to say the least!
The day Dean died, he was driving his new silver Porche 550 Spider, bearing its painted nickname, the Little Bastard. On his way to take part in a race, it was Dean’s last minute decision to take along another driver and speed freak, the expert German mechanic, Rolf Wutherich. Before setting off, they were photographed holding raised hands in a victory salute. The facts are well known of how Dean’s car was hit by that of another driver, student Donald Turnipseed, killing the star and badly injuring Wutherich. The latter suffered from depression, suicide attempts, and had electro shock therapy, blaming himself for cutting short Dean’s life; his daredevil tactics caused Wutherich to have many more accidents after he recovered, until another car smash ended his own life in 1981.
So what was the gay secret divulged to me? According to someone my acquaintance had talked to who was involved either in the medical team that had attended the tragic accident, or the examination of the bodies of Dean and Wutherich, there was evidence that the mechanic, friend and fellow traveller had been having oral sex with Dean just prior to the crash; both men had been participating in a gay sex act which is otherwise known as road head.
There has been much made of the low-slung Spider, the dimming light, and the peculiarities of the landscape at the point where the cars hit, but nothing could be more distracting than getting a blow-job while at the wheel of a very fast vehicle.
There are several reported last words of James Dean, which were dredged up from the barely coherent and heavily traumatised Wutherich. One is Dean saying something along the lines of “surely he’s gonna see us”, with reference to Turnipseed’s ability to steer clear of them; the second is Dean exclaiming “Motherfucker!”; and the last, and perhaps most interesting for this revelation, is Dean saying, “the fun’s over now.”
By John Hartley
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