James Dean's final photo to see strong bids at Julien's

The last official picture of James Dean, taken a few hourse before his fatal crash, will sell at Julien's Auctions later today (April 5).

James Dean final photograph
Dean made just three movies before his tragic early death

The shot sees Dean about to depart from Los Angeles with his mechanic and friend, Rolf Wutherich, in Dean's Porsche 550 Spyder. Taken by Sandford Roth, who was accompanying the movie star to the races at Salinas to shoot a photo article, it is estimated at $400-600.

Dean would never make it to the races on September 30, 1955, as he was killed in a crash on Route 466 near Pasa Robles, with Wutherich seriously injured.

Dean had decided to drive the Porsche to the race as it didn't have enough "break-in" miles. He was stopped for speeding along the way, and later collided with a 1950 Ford Custom at high speed. Dean took the brunt of the crash, and suffered a broken neck and several internal injuries.

The crash led to Dean being immortalised as a symbol of a fast-paced, yet short-lived life, and gave rise to what is known as The James Dean Effect.  

The photograph at auction was printed later from Roth's original contact sheet and is mounted to foam core. It measures 11 by 14 inches.

Paul Fraser Collectibles has an even rarer shot of the film star. This yearbook page, signed in 1949, shows the young James Dean and his classmates. It is signed "Jim" and a caption underneath his picture reads, "our regular basketball guy, and when you're around him - time will fly".

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