- James Dean, Rebel Without A Cause, 1955.
Back from WW1, the ex-child actor (one of Broadway’s original Dead End kjds), Lumet replaced a 19-year-old Marlon Brando in Ben Hecht’s play, A Flag Is Born and, although he hated screen acting, he instructed his agent to get him a Warner Bros test (like Brando had ) for one of many scripts inspired by Dr Robert M Lindner’s thesis on juvenile delinquency: Rebel Without a Cause: The Hypnoanalysis of a Criminal Psychopath. The the role was a sociopath named Harold Kemper … before being churned into Dean’s Jim Stark in a totally different script. Lumet was obviously relieved to be passed over. He’d made his one and only film as an actor, One Third of a Nation, in 1939! “A lousy experience… The third eye. It’s going to see something you don’t want seen.” Lumet trained as the Actors’ Workshop with, among others, Yul Brynner, who persuaded him to try directing TV drama. And he always found roles for all his favourites: John Cassavetes, Tab Hunter, Grace Kelly, Walter Matthau, Anthony Perkins, Rod Steiger, Joanne Woodward and… Jimmy Dean, Sal Mineo and Paul Newman (another Jim Stark candidate).
Birth year: Death year: Other name: Usual occupation: Film director Casting Calls: 1