Fifty years on, lost images of James Dean go on display

In his short life James Dean achieved immortality, not so much through his modest on-screen legacy but for the brooding and iconic photographic images that made him a pin-up for five decades of teenagers.

Now a series of lost images of the star, forever frozen in his early 20s, are to go on display as the Dean industry goes into overdrive, marking this year's 50th anniversary of his death. The shots were taken by Phil Stern, a leading photojournalist who struck up a relationship with the actor whose Hollywood career lasted only 18 months and yielded three starring roles - in Giant, East of Eden and his enduring classic, Rebel Without a Cause.

When they are exhibited at London's Sony Ericsson Proud Central Gallery from 29 April, it will be the first time the pictures have been seen together since they were taken at Goldwyn Studios and the Hollywood diner Googies in 1955.

Dean, who died at the age of 24 in a car crash, is one of the world's biggest stars to generate a posthumous fortune. In 2004 his name made around £2.6m, according to the annual list of dead celebrities' earning powers compiled by the magazine Forbes, thanks to shrewd marketing deals for the licensing of his image and product endorsement. The earnings were on a par with those of Frank Sinatra and Freddie Mercury.

That figure is expected to at least double this year as interest in his legacy reaches a peak withthe anniversary. It will be fuelled by a DVD box set of his movies and a documentary about his life that will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival next month.

More than 150,000 people are expected to flock to his hometown for a three-day event, the James Dean Fest, in Marion, Indiana. Among the licensed anniversary products are a limited-edition chopper motorcycle, costing more than £50,000.

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