Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Was the Last Photograph of James Dean taken by Sanford Roth?

According to Wikipedia, Sanford Roth first met James Dean on the set of Giant and they immediately became friends. Roth would often tell James Dean stories of he and his wife's travels all over Europe. Dean often visited the home of Sandy and Beulah and there are published photographs of Dean playing with their cat. Dean treated the Roths as adoptive parents. Poignantly, Sanford Roth was in James Dean's Ford station wagon driving behind Dean's new Porsche Spyder on the way to the Salinas Road Races on September 30, 1955, when Dean died in a late afternoon traffic accident. Roth took the now famous post-accident photographs.

James Dean and Rolf Wüetherich on September 30, 1955. Photo by Sanford Roth, courtesy of Julien’s Auctions.

Many peole believe that the photograph above was taken on September 30, 1955 is the 'last official photograph' of James Dean and was taken by Sanford Roth, who was following Dean to do a photo feature on a race he was attending. But in a comment on FlatSixes, the blog about Porsche, author Lee Raskin who wrote James Dean: At Speed pointed out that Sanford Roth did not shoot the photo and offered very valuable insight into the authenticity of this photo, who took it and where.
"Someone who knows little about James Dean, the Porsche 550 Spyder… and the events of 9-30-55! Sanford Roth was the photographer accompanying James Dean’s group to Salinas on 9-30-55… but he DID NOT shot either of these photos shown above (in front of Competition Motors at 1219 N. Vine St. and at the Mobil station at Beverly Glen and Ventura Blvd.) Actually… you can see Sanford Roth (alleged photog) riding shot gun next to driver, Bill Hickman in the Ford Station wagon behind the Porsche Spyder!!! Both of these photos were taken from James Dean’s own Leica 35mm camera. This B&W photo (the original is in Kodak color) at Competition Motors was taken by Carl von Delius, the PR man for Johnny von Neumann at Competition Motors at 1:45 pm 9-30-55. The second photo also in color was taken at the Mobil Station on Ventura Blvd. by Rolf Wutherich, (the mechanic) at approximately 2:15 pm on 9-30-55 just before the group headed onto Sepulveda Blvd and Rt. 99 North. Both photos have been in the public domain for decades…"
Here's the second photo also in color was taken at the Mobil Station on Ventura Blvd. that Raskin said in the comment.

Did you ever see these photographs above, and what do you think about Raskin's comment? Just leave your comments below.

(via FlatSixes)

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7 comments :

  1. Fast Forward...two years to the 60th Commemoration of James Dean's death 9-30-15. The two above mentioned photos were actually taken with Rolf Wutherich's 35mm camera (not James Dean's) as verified in a new definitive bio by Lee Raskin..where no bolt has been left un-turned. James Dean: On The Road To Salinas. Published by www.stanceandspeed.com

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  2. 5/8/16. The former Mobilgas station at Ventura/Beverly Glen Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA -- where James Dean's last photo was taken alive on 9-30-55, now has a construction fence around the property--awaiting its demolition. Lee Raskin, author James Dran: On The Road To Salinas (www.Stanceandspeed.com, Amazon.com, Ebay.com. - signedby the author)

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  3. 5/8/16. The former Mobilgas station at Ventura/Beverly Glen Blvd in Sherman Oaks, CA -- where James Dean's last photo was taken alive on 9-30-55, now has a construction fence around the property--awaiting its demolition. Lee Raskin, author James Dran: On The Road To Salinas (www.Stanceandspeed.com, Amazon.com, Ebay.com. - signedby the author)

    ReplyDelete

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