With his “devil may care” attitude, James Dean epitomized teenage rebellion. His short career of only three films (in which he had a lead role) immortalized him as a legend long after his death. Dean was known for his rebellious and nonconformist characters. In his personal life, Dean liked fast cars. He even had a short car racing career.
While filming Giants, Dean appeared in a Public Service Announcement about the dangers of driving fast. The PSA was part of the Warner Brothers Presents series that aired 45 minutes of programming followed by about 15 minutes of “Behind the Camera” insights with various actors. Dean filmed his safe driving segment with actor Gig Young for the National Safety Council. In the short “Behind the Camera” segment, Dean was dressed as Jett Rink – his Giants character. At the end of the PSA, instead of saying “The life you save may be your own,” Dean ad-libbed with “The life you might save might be mine.”
Only a few weeks later, on September 30, 1955, Dean was killed in a car crash while driving his 1955 Porsche Super Speedster. It was determined that he was driving too fast. Because of his sudden death, Dean’s safe driving PSA was never aired.