Live Fast, Die Young: Remembering the Short Life of James Dean

John Gilmore

John Gilmore, the dysfunctional spawn turned actor of an LAPD cop dad, long ago abandoned the fictions of the silver screen to delve into the darker dementia of true-crime writing, authoring books on Charles Schmid (Cold Blooded), Charles Manson and the Family (The Garbage People) and the Black Dahlia Murder (Severed) that have become widely regarded as classics of the genre. Marked by a rare kind of up-close intensity and subjective intimacy that persistently rejected the obvious and easy histrionic vitriol and posturing that is the common province of mass media moralisms in favor of more empathetic, humanistic insights into the savage side of desire, need and compulsion, Gilmore has now focused his tremendous skills as an investigative reporter and acuity as a chronicler of events onto the far more personal topography of his own experiences. The results come in a most startling new volume of recollections on his old friend, the gloriously and gorily deceased teen icon James Dean.
Long tapped as an inside source on Dean’s private life and obsessions by myriad biographers over the years, Gilmore finally reveals the most sordid secrets left for nearly a half-century to the idle speculations of insider gossip. Enriched not only by a keen understanding of the art and personality that made young Jimmie so memorable but a wealth of anecdotal contributions from the various lovers, friends, colleagues and cohorts left in his tragic wake, Live Fast, Die Young paints a full and lurid picture of the actor and the animal thrashing about within that superbly beautiful physique. By understanding Dean’s immense need for greatness and recognition, Gilmore provides a deeper comprehension of the failures and frustrations that engendered his death fixation and ultimately brought about his untimely end.
But the book’s real payoff is the true dirt it delivers on the unimaginably perverse nature of Gilmore and Dean’s association. We find out how they shared the same woman and compared notes, and most amazingly about the ongoing series of eroticized escapades the two of them enjoyed. If you like to hear about how two essentially heterosexual men can have truly unfulfilling bad sex attempts—hey that hurts!—this is definitely the book for you. Hopefully, some Hollywood degenerate will get the movie rights to this most prurient text, if for no other reason than for audiences to see some pretty boys enact the classic scene contained therein where Jimmie has John put on a pair of funky panties he’s recently taken off some anonymous female sweetheart. CM

Publisher: Thunder's Mouth
Hardback: 256 pages