The Last Thing James Dean Said Before His Infamous Car Crash

The famous American actor passed away at the young age of 24.

James Dean - 1955Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

September 30 will mark 63 years since James Dean passed away in a tragic car accident. On that heartbreaking day, the well-known American actor was traveling up the coast to Salinas, California, to participate in a car race with his mechanic, Rolf Wütherich.

The two took a long two-lane highway in Dean’s Porsche Spyder to get to their destination. As they were approaching the junction with Highway 41, a car entering the intersection came too far into his lane, and they collided.

Dean suffered from severe internal injuries and a broken neck. Before the crash, Wütherich heard him say, “That guy’s gotta stop…He’ll see us.” Sadly, the driver of the other car—23-year-old student Donald Turnupseed—did not.

After his death, Dean was most remembered for his successful acting career and his passion for speed. Many assumed the crash was caused because he was speeding, but it was later discovered that he was driving safely. Don’t miss these 11 unanswered questions about Grace Kelly’s death.

James Dean was only 24 years old when he was killed, but he is remembered on screen for his iconic roles in East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant. Next, read the famous final words of 17 more iconic people.

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Morgan Cutolo
Morgan is the Assistant Digital Managing Editor at Reader’s Digest. She graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2016 where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. When she’s not writing for rd.com or keeping the 650+ pieces of content our team produces every month organized, she likes watching HGTV, going on Target runs, and searching through Instagram to find new corgi accounts to follow.