Julie Harris on James Dean: So Terribly Afraid
|James Dean, shaving in his trailer on the set of East of Eden.|
Interview with Julie Harris
Conducted by James Grissom
New York City
I loved him [James Dean] so much. I was not in love with him--I never felt a romantic attraction toward him--but I loved him terribly: He was so sweet, even when he was frightened, which was when he could be ill-tempered. He was so terribly afraid--of everyone, really. He was most afraid of not being true in his work, and so he worried and fretted and over-analyzed things. I felt that one of my goals in that film [East of Eden] was to calm him down, to let him know how good he was.
He was a beautiful but small man, and he seemed always to make himself smaller: He would hunch his shoulders and squeeze into tight places--like a cat--to avoid detection. I think he was spying on us, and I think he liked to be invisible.
I wish now we had become closer. I would have liked to have been one of those friends who was with him--in person and in spirit--as he took on all of the challenges that were ahead of him, and which he so wanted.
© 2014 James Grissom