SHOW BUSINESS: Byron Meets Billy Budd

James Dean was a sexy, stammering poet who died young. Now he is put on the rack again, in a gossipy new biography.

In Fairmount, Indiana, in the early 1940s, James Dean would "dream out loud about getting in the movies." Ortense Winslow, the aunt who raised him after his mother died of cervical cancer at 29, thought it an odd ambition for a farm boy. "I mean," she says, "there wasn't anything very different about him -- except he had this strange ability to take you along with his feelings."

In just three films, Dean took America along with him. He walked into Hollywood and with East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant created a trilogy of youthful alienation. Then, at...

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