Inside James Dean's Relationship With Pier Angeli

James Dean was famously a bachelor. The American actor died tragically young, when he was only 24 years old, in a 1955 car accident (via Biography.) Dean was unmarried at the time of the accident, and his career had only just begun to take off, with his films East of Eden (1955) and Rebel Without a Cause (1955) both coming out that year. For each role, Dean received a posthumous Oscar nomination, making him the only actor to ever receive two such nods.

But though Dean died a bachelor, he had previously considered getting married. In fact, he considered it very seriously. According to his friend Lew Bracker, Dean had once proposed they both get married, so they could live near each other and raise their children together (via Closer Weekly). But who did Dean have in mind for his wife in that scenario? Maybe one Pier Angeli, an Italian actress who Dean's friends and family members now remember as the love of his life.

Dean's romance with Pier Angeli

Dean first met Angeli while he was shooting East of Eden. Angeli, who was an actress herself, was filming on a nearby lot. Dean saw her and was immediately smitten, according to Closer Weekly. And Angeli reciprocated those feelings. Where Dean was passionate and outgoing, she was calm and steady, according to Medium, and their infatuation quickly bloomed into real romance. But their happy relationship was doomed to fail. Despite the couple's love for each other, Angeli's mother wanted her to be with a Catholic man, and banned Angeli from continuing to date Dean. Angeli resisted, and she and Dean kept seeing each other for some time, but eventually, the romance fizzled.

Soon, Angeli found a new beau: singer Vic Damone, who she would go on to marry in 1954. Dean, apparently heartbroken by their nuptials, reportedly waited outside the church on his motorcycle during their wedding. In the following year before his death, he would date other women, but nothing, it seems, that ever compared to his love with Angeli.