James Dean

Quotations

I think there is only one form of greatness for man. If a man can bridge the gap between life and death. I mean, if he can live on after he has died, then maybe he was a great man. To me the only success, the only greatness, is immortality.

Attributed

Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.

To grasp the full significance of life is the actor’s duty; to interpret it his problem; and to express it his dedication. Being an actor is the loneliest thing in the world. You are all alone with your concentration and imagination, and that’s all you have. Being a good actor isn’t easy. Being a man is even harder. I want to be both before I’m done.

When an actor plays a scene exactly the way a director orders, it isn’t acting. It’s following instructions. Anyone with the physical qualifications can do that. So the director’s task is just that to direct, to point the way. Then the actor takes over. And he must be allowed the space, the freedom to express himself in the role. Without that space, an actor is no more than an unthinking robot with a chest-full of push-buttons.