Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 7 July 2015

James Dean letters to be auctioned

Published 12/09/2011 | 10:02

Letters sent by James Dean to his girlfriend are to be auctioned
Letters sent by James Dean to his girlfriend are to be auctioned

Private letters from movie heart-throb James Dean to his then girlfriend in which he criticises his latest Broadway show and speaks of being homesick as he films a box office hit are to be sold at auction.

The hand-written notes to Barbara Glenn, whom he dated for two years, come from her family archive and have never been sold before.

Dean died in a car accident in 1955 as he was poised for major stardom, but continues to be a posterboy for Hollywood glamour.

The three letters are to be sold separately but are estimated to fetch a total of £16,000 when they are sold at Christie's in South Kensington, London, on November 23.

In one letter, dated January 10 1954, he tells Glenn about rehearsals for a Broadway adaptation of The Immoralist which he calls "a piece of s***".

But the letter, sent from the St James Hotel in Philadelphia, and illustrated with doodles of buildings, also predicts that the play will "probably be a monster success". His positive reviews led to an early exit and a move to Los Angeles within weeks.

Another letter was sent on May 7 that year, a month into filming his first starring role, East Of Eden. In the letter he responds angrily to a letter she wrote informing him she was doing a swimsuit photo-shoot, telling her: "Boy, that's selling out cheap."

Glenn's son, filmmaker Keith Gordon who is selling the letters, said: "She never discussed their romance in great detail, but I did know Jimmy was her first serious, grown-up relationship.

"I hope that a fan or collector can gain as much pleasure from owning these letters as my mother clearly did from receiving them, and as I did in learning more about my mother's history."

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