Paying tribute to James Dean, Justin Bieber uploaded an Instagram photo that recreates an iconic moment in “Rebel Without a Cause.” The black and white photo shows a scowling Bieber wearing a white t-shirt with a cigarette dangling from his mouth.
So people wouldn’t think he smokes, Bieber added the caption: “This is James Dean inspired. Don’t ask me if I smoke cigs cuz I don’t.” Bieber also uploaded a picture of Dean so younger fans would get the tribute. Why is he comparing himself to James Dean? Possibly Bieber recognizes how much they’re alike, and that’s why he identifies with him.
Who was James Dean?
Knowing a little about James Dean might help explain why Bieber sees himself as Dean. Before dying in a tragic car accident at the age of 24, Dean starred in only 3 movies.However, his roles in “East of Eden,” “Rebel Without a Cause,” and “Giant” are all iconic and made him a matinee idol. His untimely death catapulted him from movie star to legend.
Fame at a young age
Both James Dean and Justin Bieber achieved fame at a very young age. Although many of today’s hottest actors are young like Dean, most of the male matinee idols of his time were older. Gregory Peck, Cary Grant, and Montgomery Clift were all 10 to 20 years his senior.
Like Dean, Bieber achieved fame at a much younger age than his contemporaries. Signed to a record deal with a major label at age 14, Bieber is one of the youngest pop music stars ever.
Like Bieber at the start of his career, Dean enjoyed critical as well as commercial success. He earned two Academy Awards for Best Actor nominations. Both came after his death, so he’s the only actor ever to receive two posthumous nominations.
When Justin Bieber launched his career, he earned two Grammy nominations. One was for Best New Artist, which he was favored to win. However, Esperanza Spalding surprisingly took home the Grammy. His other Grammy nomination was for Best Pop Vocal Album for his debut album “My World 2.0.”
Sexual misbehavior rumors
Rumors of sexual misbehavior swirl around both stars. Over the years, several claims that James Dean had sexual relationships with both men and women have surfaced. Today, society is much more accepting of gay actors. In the 1950’s, homosexuality was scandalous and a career ender.
The debate about Dean’s sexual orientation stems from his sensitive portrayal of how his character in “Rebel Without a Cause” responds to the attraction of another male character. Once asked whether he was gay, Dean supposedly answered, “No, I am not a homosexual. But I’m also not going to go through life with one hand tied behind my back.”
Sex scandals have tarnished Bieber’s reputation among “Beliebers,” his mostly pre-teen and early teen fan base. Two paternity suits, both false, were the first two hits against his boy-next-door image. More recently reports have surfaced about Bieber’s exploits at an Australian strip club. A night club owner claims to have a security camera tape showing him in some very bad behavior with two strippers.
Passion for racing
James Dean loved fast cars and racing. He died preparing his Porsche Spyder 550 for a race in which he was supposed to compete the day after his death. Driving at a speed of 85 mph, Dean smashed head on into a car that swerved into his lane. Justin Bieber also enjoys fast cars and street racing too.
In January, Bieber was arrested on a DUI charge after police pulled him over for street racing in his yellow Lamborghini. Possibly their shared passion for racing sports cars is what inspired Bieber’s identification with Dean.
However, Beliebers hope that Dean’s prophetic quote, “Live fast, die young, and have a good-looking corpse,” won’t apply to Bieber as well.