How James Dean Predicted His Death

On September 30, 1955, James Dean was cruising down California State Route 46 when his brand-new Porsche 550 Spyder collided with a Ford sedan at an intersection, per the Seattle Times. Dean, who was 24 years old at the time, died from the impact.

Dean's death contributed to making the actor a Hollywood legend. According to History, "East of Eden" was Dean's only film role to have already been released at the time of his death, while "Rebel Without A Cause" and "Giant" came out shortly afterward. With the context of Dean's untimely death behind them, these movies immortalized Dean as Hollywood's original bad boy, an eternal embodiment of cool, and an icon of the "live fast, die young" ethos.

The circumstances of Dean's death have also become the stuff of legend. According to The Tribune, the Route 46 intersection where it happened has a long history of deadly crashes. According to My San Antonio, Dean's car, nicknamed "Little B*****d," is said to be cursed. There have been mixed reports of the car's whereabouts: Some say it disappeared, while others claim it was sold for parts.

Another mystifying element of the tragedy was its sense of foreboding. Both Dean himself and another Old Hollywood actor seemed to predict — or, at least, identify the possibility of — the event before it happened.

Fellow actor Sir Alec Guinness warned James Dean about his deadly new car

Sir Alec Guinness — who is perhaps best known today for playing Obi-Wan Kenobi in "Star Wars" — issued a warning to James Dean just one week before the latter's death. During a 1977 interview on the BBC's "Parkinson Talk Show," Guinness recalled a conversation he'd had with Dean on September 23, 1955.

That night, Guinness was turned away from two restaurants in Hollywood. James Dean, who was eating in one of the restaurants, recognized the actor and invited him to join his table. On their way back into the restaurant, Dean insisted on showing Guinness his new car. "[It] was a little, silver, very smart thing all done up in cellophane with a bunch of roses tied to its bonnet," Guinness recalled. "I said, 'How fast can you drive in this thing?' And he said, 'Oh, I can do 150 in it.'" At that time, Dean had yet to drive the brand-new Porsche.

"Some strange thing came over me, some almost different voice, and I said ... 'I must say something: Please do not get into that car, because if you do' — and I looked at my watch — and I said, 'If you get into that car at all, it's now Thursday' — whatever the date was — '10 o'clock at night, and by 10 o'clock at night next Thursday you'll be dead' ... and he was dead the following Thursday afternoon."

James Dean warned kids about highway safety shortly before his crash

Thirteen days before his death, James Dean filmed an interview for "Warner Bros. Presents" to promote his forthcoming movie "Rebel Without A Cause." In the clip, actor Gig Young asked Dean about how fast his car could go (Dean's answer: 106 or 107 miles per hour). They also discussed Dean's car racing in Palm Springs and Bakersfield, California. (When Dean died, he had been on the way to a sports car race in Salinas, according to My San Antonio.) Then, Young asked Dean for his opinion about "fast driving on the highway."

"I used to fly around quite a bit, you know, I took a lot of unnecessary chances on the highways," Dean replied. "And I started racing, and now I drive on the highways and I'm extra-cautious ... I don't have the urge to speed on the highway. People say racing is dangerous, but I'll take my chances on the track any day [rather] than on a highway."

As Dean got up to leave, Young asked him one final question: "Do you have any special advice for the young people who drive?" Riffing on the phrase, "The life you save may be your own," Dean replied: "Take it easy driving. The life you save might be mine." If only he had taken his own advice.