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Интервью с Джоном Гилмором, 1 часть (англ.)

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PW: What prompted you to do a second book on James Dean, and how long from conception to fruition?  JG: Donald Spoto interviewed me at length for his book, REBEL, which prompted me, after so many book interviews (from Joe Hyams to Paul Alexander, etc., and of course, Val Holley, a friend I met through James Sheldon) to write a second book on Dean.My first book, 1976, was short and "safe," so to speak, my intention had been to write about the person that he was, not about the movies or Indiana (the typical bio fluff), but to attempt, from what I knew first-hand, to give a more rounded-out and truthful picture of who he was, rather than simply pumping out more fodder for movie magazine-minded myth-makers. 

PW: Both books appear to have a number of pseudonyms. Has enough time passed that any of them can be revealed now? JG: They contain a few pseudonyms, but you'd have to ask about someone in particular. 

PW: Karen Davis, the aspiring actress who was believed to be pregnant by Dean at the time of his death. At the end of Live Fast, she talks about moving to Toronto. JG: She moved to Canada years ago. Saw someone I knew in New York and they said she was married. Jimmy had a brief thing as described and she was pregnant but I no longer know if it was his child, or if she had it successfully or whatever happened. Since no exploiting of a kid, and perhaps fearing a DNA test, I don't have an answer to it. I know she got $ from Warner Brothers. Her name was altered in the book. Has to stay that way.

PW: At Dean's death site, she was looking for remnants of the Spyder with other people. 
JG: She was with a UK writer/journalist at that time. 


PW: Sharon Kingsley, the chick from a NY party who practically undressed for you and Dean in the back of a taxi cab. Was she the same one involved in the threesome? JG: That was her name.

PW: Elbers, the Warner Brothers studio troubleshooter who had to deal with the Dean/Stevens  rivalry and other issues. JG: Like Rosen, I had to alter the names of these guys. That was the deal.

PW: Emory Miller, real name of a psychologist that Dean saw? JG: Can't give shrinks real name because his evaluation was 'Off the record'.

PW: Sol Rosen, studio relations guy (?) who took care of actors and had to sort out what to do about the Karen Davis affair. JG: This was the name he asked me to use. Not too far off, but a changed name.

PW: Carlton Hale, the real name of a (Rogers) Brackett associate who gave the real story on Brackett's twisted pining over Dean?
JG: That was his name, or what he called himself. An ex-friend (?) of Brackett's. Also knew writer Speed Lampkin.

PW: Miriam Conley, a NY girl whom Dean and yourself more or less shared briefly.
JG: Real name was Miriam. She was a very pretty girl.


PW: Alfredo de la Vega, artist who put the make on you and Dean. 
JG: Real name. 

PW: Don Manfredi. I may have him mixed up with the above. JG: No, Don Manfredi was his real name. Artist and Broadway set designer. 

PW: Bill Smith, an actor you mentioned early on who tried to put the make on you. He went on to star in a Clint Eastwood movie. Dean laughed at Smith's handshake grip, i.e., something about Smith jacking off with the same grip. JG: Bill Smith is his real name (billed as William Smith). Check IMDB for him: lots of pictures. Eastwood movie was "Any Which Way You Can". Bill starred with Eastwood. Was a friend for many, many years. Has had a hard time of it - substance abuse. Last we talked was ten or so years ago. He had a son in prison on drugs (son was pals with Brando's kid in the jug). 

PW: You concluded chapter 8 in Live Fast, Die Young with a vignette of Jimmy hanging out at a Third Avenue gay bar in NY and telling you about the leather and bondage scene he'd learned about through a waiter at the same bar. It has been rumored for decades, as you well know, that Dean did experiment in that scene in NY, and later in Hollywood. Nothing else is said about the matter in your book; should readers take that to mean that you did not check out the leather gay scene with him? JG: He didn't get into that scene; brushing through it was typical of him: getting as much experience and "view of life" as he could; so much interested him. I have never known someone who was so fascinated by so many different things, almost like he had no roots or stability of his own so that he easily teetered into many diverse areas. We both liked motorcycles, so the leather jackets went with that; secondary to the bikes, not a thing in itself as was the guys on Third Avenue. The waiter I mentioned dressed elaborately in motorcycle gear but wouldn't have gone near a bike. JD and I went a couple places in that kind of attire, just to blow minds before mind-blowing was "in", and back then I look at it as more of his perverse nature - to shock or stir up. Most of the leather and S&M crap about Jimmy was invented and initiated by the nutty Kenneth Anger, now almost homeless and a lost cause. One of Hollywood's hit-the-skids characters. 

PW: There are quotes from Stewart Stern throughout your Dean writings. When did you meet him and will you agree that he was probably closer to Dean than most people? JG: I met Stewart through Jimmy during the making of REBEL. Stewart and I became friends later, after Jimmy's death, ran around quite a bit together and talked about Jimmy a lot. I can't say he was so close to Jimmy apart from the REBEL making; even then Stewart wasn't like on the set as it were. But Stewart had friends that Jimmy became friends with, meeting through Stewart. I liked Stewart very much and haven't seen him in years. Last time we talked was in the early '80's, and he'd married the dancer and moved to Seattle

PW: In your Hollywood memoir Laid Bare,  Janis Joplin asked you if Jimmy was 'queer'. When did speculation about Dean's sexuality by the general public begin? I did not think that kicked in until after Joplin's time. JG: Oh, no, people in the business always wanted to know if someone's queer or not; good god, that goes back to the '40's. Being bi-sexual was cool in San Francisco, cool to be Beat and bi-sexual. Janis said she'd want to fuck Jimmy if he wasn't 'queer', and she'd fuck him even if he was. The "general public" as you put it, read movie magazines and had little knowledge of who was what or why or how. They weren't in touch with what WAS, only with the different ("newspeak", as in Orwell) language of the media. National Enquirer was ALWAYS on the queer trail and that was a publication for the general public. 

PW: William Bast will be publishing a second book on Dean in a few months. He promises to tell all that "the law and his faint heart wouldn't permit" him to reveal in 1956. Any thoughts on his first Dean bio and what he plans to publish this time? JG: Bast and I have been at odds for personal reasons dating back to the mid 1960's. I had no interest in his first book nor will I for whatever he's drumming up now. In my opinion, Bast has one interest: how much to squeeze out of something (as he did with the dreary, make-believe TV movie about Dean he did). I am sure it will be exploitive, critical, self-serving and a make-believe hodge podge of rehashed fact. 

PW: In Holley's superb bio of Dean, you are quoted about a relationship you believed Jimmy had with a Hollywood high school boy, an actor and dancer, whom you and Dean were both very taken with. You said, with certainty, that something had to have happened between them during the summer of '55.  Comment? JG: OK, real personal stuff. The boy's name was Hooper Dunbar. He attended Hollywood High at the time. He was into poetry and art and music, and studied modern dance. We'd had an exploratory relationship over which he felt very guilty and troubled. He was Sally Kellerman's young cousin, and I'd already had a fling with Sally (and again later in '60) and she gave me a really bad time about having "ruined" her cousins life. Earlier, he'd wanted to meet Jimmy and so I took him on the bike I had to Jack Simmons place off Sunset, and after a short time Jack showed up with Jimmy (they were driving the hearse Jack used to tote Vampira back and forth to the TV station). I introduced Hooper to Jimmy, and Jack later told me Jimmy said the boy was like a "tomboy Jimmy Dean". The boy later told me he'd met Jimmy again because he'd gone to Warner's and then Jimmy took him to dinner. At that time, Jimmy was spending a lot of time at Jacks as he didn't want people going to his place up off the Strip. I can't give details about what might have gone on between them, and you haven't asked for details about what happened between the boy and myself.

PW: What did you think of the various attempts, since 1976, by actors and writers to bring Dean's story to television, i.e., the Dean biopics Portrait of a Friend, Race with Destiny, and, most recently, the TNT film starring James Franco? JG: Do you want an honest answer? They are all garbage.

PW: Do you still own personal items of Dean's, such as the leather jacket you're pictured with in a news  photo in your first Dean bio, The Real James Dean? JG: No. After a divorce from my first wife, in '77 (I think), I purged and sold many things I owned. I have been mobile so much of my life (LA to NY, and NY to LA), I just haven't kept things - or people. I do have an original poem he wrote, typed out, but I don't have anything else. Most all gone like the three wives, three lives. I do have the pictures Jimmy took of me. A couple have been published a few times, but one has never been used anywhere. 

PW: David Dalton said recently that, during his research for The Mutant King in the early '70's, he encountered numerous gay-oriented stories about Dean, but declined to either attempt corroborating them or include any of it in his book. Basically, he expressed sincere doubt as to their validity. He also believed that to acknowledge that aspect would completely undermine the book and turn it into a homosexual perspective or study. Any thoughts on his approach in The Mutant King? JG: Yes. As an early Dean book, Dalton's would have been stoned by the fans he's pandered to if he'd suggested Jimmy sucked cock or fucked boys as well as girls. Ever since the mild mention in my first Dean book, I've been the black sheep in the Midwest crowd. Thirty years now. Do I give a shit? Absolutely not. An advanced PR sheet on Dalton's book spurred me to do the first book on Jimmy. Dalton's was so full of nonsense and non-fact that I told my agent (lit agent in Hollywood) that I was going to do an article on Jimmy. He said "Why not a book?" I said I didn't want to do a book on him. I was one in a handful of people (along with Jack Simmons), who hadn't talked about Jimmy for twenty years. Two days later my agent said he had a book deal. Pyramid Books was doing one by Ronald Martinetti, but they'd throw his out in favor of mine - from one who actually knew Dean. I was pressed to answer, and after scanning finances (debts!) with my then - first wife, I decided to do it. Pyramid threw out Martinetti's book and contracted me to write one.

PW: Were you able to interview Rolf Wuetherich, or did you use the 1960 Frankenberg interview? JG: I knew Rolf. Jimmy, Jack, Rolf and myself went to Hamburger Hamlet's on the Strip (the first one, a small place), a few times. He was a nice guy. I liked him. We connected once or twice after the accident. He was very broken up about it, and he told me a few of the details. I also did use stuff from the other interview because Rolf hadn't opened up about it.
PW: Donald Turnupseed died in 1995. For your first book on Dean, did you ever consider trying to contact him? 
JG: I talked to someone else who'd talked to him; but I always felt...what could he have to say? 

PW: Have you read any recent works on James Dean, such as books by Liz Sheridan, George Perry, Wes Gehring, etc.? JG: I knew Dizzy, (Liz) from New York - from way back after Jimmy broke off with her and with Bast. She wanted to interview me for her book and we did. Then her agent/co-author, last name Englund, talked to me about those old days for Dizzy's book. Dizzy sent me the picture of herself which appears in Live Fast. I still have the envelope and her letter. However, l wasn't mentioned in her book which pissed me off as I'd spent time giving the interview. I don't know the other people you mentioned. I do not keep abreast of what others do or are doing. I have come to realize that I live on a different planet than most of them...

PW: Of the three films, and the TV work you are familiar with, what performance by Dean, in your mind, comes closest to the Jimmy you knew? JG: I'd have to say REBEL, because there are moments in the film when as he was comes right across, like steps out of the role in the movie and there he is. Also, a documentary about him racing and he's talking as they walk. That's what Jimmy was like.

PW: Roy Schatt once said that he felt that Dean was "always on", and that only once did the 'mask' slip to reveal the vulnerable soul underneath. Do you believe that this may have been more true about Dean, in your presence, than with others? JG: Well, it gets back to a point I've discussed on other documentaries, etc.: I was not judgemental of him. I didn't tell him, "Man, that's not cool", or whatever. But most important, we had similar 'issues', like things and residues of past wounds. If he had something bothering him, he knew he could bounce it off me. He knew I wouldn't "betray" him which was a major factor Jimmy carried. Few realize this. It is that part of his soul that Schatt was exposed to for that brief time; circumstances and chemistry; just a ripe moment, bingo! The doors opened if only a crack.

PW: Would you say, given your disposition at the time, of being years younger than Dean, similarly photogenic and a struggling actor, Jimmy's behavior was specifically geared toward machismo and bravado that he intended to impress you with? In other words, one misanthropic rebel trying to impress another? JG: There was a part of that involved, yes. But it wasn't so much that I was younger because by experiences and having-been-around raise the ante in the game. Born in L.A., a life in Hollywood, Sunset Strip nightclubs at age sixteen - well, we came from different places but the personalities merged, but yeah, there was a kind of mutual gathering of impressions, though he jockeyed the stunts we'd pull, the tricks and jokes he liked to play.

PW: Did you have much contact with Jack Simmons over the years following Dean's death? 
JG: I'd see Jack on and off, like at the Hollywood Ranch Market (We Never Close). But Jack managed to get involved in some shady situations and he was bad news. As you know, I knew Jack long before Jimmy; (same with Dick Clayton - he'd been my agent when he was handling Tab Hunter; before Jimmy), way back before Jack had the nose-job and changed his looks so he'd be more like Jimmy. Before Jimmy, he'd earned the dubious fame of being one of Hollywood's most flaming queens! We'd been friendly on and off before Jimmy, but in all honesty, Jimmy became the golden door prize in the pecking order. It's important to know there weren't very many in this 'order'. Many like to claim having had friendships with Jimmy - some of them have written books, etc., but Jimmy had few people close to him because he backed away from them. There was this social thing - the Hollywood thing. People were a part of that and if Jimmy hadn't made a couple of pictures and was being touted by Life magazine as the hottest star since Brando, he would have been placed on the middle rung - working actor with a possible future (like Jack Nicholson). In other words, things were moving faster than Jimmy could get them all in his grip, so he didn't trust many people. He was rude or rejective and refused to be "crowded" or a part of the giggly scene. When he grabbed hold of someone he believed he trusted, his personality would proceed to exhaust them. He drained people and the minute they showed a lack of interest, or that he wasn't vital to them, Jimmy pulled back. He'd go into his box - his loneliness, he'd sink and moan and desperately seek people like Jack or myself or Eartha Kitt who wouldn't turn our backs on him by indicating there wasn't enough time for Jimmy's indulgences. Jimmy was like that famous drawing/cartoon of the guy in a box, looking out and saying, "People are no damned good!" 

PW: Was writing The Real James Dean and Live Fast, Die Young a sort of sporadic, twenty year therapy, that, in the end, put your whole relationship with Dean in the proper perspective? JG: Wow. You've got some good questions.  After I wrote the first book - which sold 160,000 copies, I never intended to write another one about Jimmy. However, the world changed, and as I said, I was doing lots of interviews for books and documentaries, and I finally said they're missing the point. They're writing books-for-bucks like toys-for-tots, and how do you eat the orange without peeling the skin? How do you get at the pearl without busting the shell? I knew if I died suddenly there'd be things nobody'd ever know; small things about a human being that are deep in that being - the seeds, as it were, within the orange; the endocarp within the peach. My concern was always to go to the heart of the matter, doing that without even knowing that's what I was doing - far back like when I started Hollywood High School. So I decided to write another book - Live Fast, Die Young; go for the heart of the matter. All during the period between the first and the second book, I explored what it had been like, every moment I could recall, every face I remembered; searching them out, coaxing those usually - forgotten moments. It would be safe to say that the investment evolved into the mapping out of a "proper perspective", which I am still dusting off, as it were, and trying to polish to a clear picture, though it is difficult because it pulls at the self.

PW:  The revised edition of Live Fast, Die Young will have a different title due to your belief that the original was stolen. Any advance word on what the new title will be, and how was
Live Fast Die Young stolen? 
JG:  No final decision yet on the new title. They are looking at a summer publication, so far. My previous title, Live Fast, Die Young was simply lifted verbatim by a recent book baring the same title. The authors claim they were worried about this fact, but obviously not concerned enough to use their imaginations for a title apart from a book well-known in the James Dean field of literature. Also a movie made months after my book was published made their title James Dean: Live Fast, Die Young. I don't know if any of these people know that those words were said to me by Dean himself, so it was a personal thing in my using that as a title. But, as they say,‘That's Hollywood!'

PW:  Joe Hyams claimed in his Little Boy Lost book that the Rev. James DeWeerd revealed  that Dean and DeWeerd had a sexual relationship beginning while Jimmy was still in high school, continuing off and on for several years. Needless to say, that was the biggest bombshell to hit Dean circles in years, causing a huge uproar, and a total rejection of Hyams claims by most fans and, of course, 'The family'. You mentioned DeWeerd in a compassionate light early in Live Fast, implying that recent biographers had somehow victimized and misrepresented him. Those detractors who dismiss your Dean works as sensationalism are overlooking the fact that you did not jump on the DeWeerd/Dean sexual bandwagon. Could you comment on the differences in your handling of that aspect and how Hyams dealt with it? JG:  Everyone is always climbing all over one another looking for a ‘bombshell'. Reminds me of a bushel of rats grabbing at cheese. The differences in Hyams approach to the subject of DeWeerd and my take, is that I was concerned about the human elements involved in DeWeerd's understanding of the ‘gaps' in Jimmy's life and in some way attempting to give Jimmy the support he so seriously needed.. People look at pictures of Jimmy and see the smiling country boy but fail to even glimpse the pending storm brewing in a troubled soul. It was this area that DeWeerd attempted to focus upon; if it came to a point of offering physical support, then that's what happened. Joe Hyams made lots of claims in his book -- lots and lots of claims, Paul.

PW: Alexander's book on Dean has been completely crucified by the conservative right of the Dean scene, as well as deified by some of the gay community. It is referred to by many as The Gay James Dean Book. Would you agree that ‘Boulevard' has a glaringly biased approach that illustrates an obvious gay agenda, in other words, Alexander's main thesis was to MAKE DEAN GAY once and for all? Please comment on Alexander's gay anecdotes as well as your belief that you were seriously misquoted in his book. JG:  Alexander's book was rightfully crucified by the right as well as most of the left, except as you point out, the gay community. His ‘gay' anecdotes are without merit, are offensive, and clearly manufactured without the least attribution. Alexander did the same thing with the Sylvia Plath book; just jumped right off the pier into fantasy. I know that Alexander was in the process of getting a divorce when he interviewed me, and he was most interested in all the homoerotic aspects which I did not divulge in the details which he  added to his book. I won't get into specifics. I think Alexander's own sexuality crept into his book and, like much of Ellroy's writing, he seems to have gotten off on it. He made scenes that were intense and erotic into ‘smut' and ‘dirt' which is in line with much of Alexander's ‘gay anecdotes'.

PW:  What became of Dean's belongings that were stolen from the Sherman Oaks house by Jack Simmons on the night of 9/30/55? The last you wrote about that was Simmons stashing the loot in an abandoned store front that was subsequently flooded when a water pipe exploded. JG:  Simmons had rented a narrow storefront next to a secondhand store on Santa Monica Blvd. The level of the floor was low, concrete, and when a serious leak erupted, the water flooded the floor and remained, rotting everything that was stored in cardboard boxes; damaging other things not in boxes. By this time, Simmons had gotten involved in a number shady activities, with a group of others who I shall not name. I was told he promised to sell Nick Adams some of Dean's belongings but as far as I was informed, things never changed hands. Most of the damaged items were trashed by the owners of the building, not aware that the items had belonged to Dean. 

PW: Leonard Rosenmann has said that Jimmy was violent and uncontrollable when he (Dean) drank. There are other anecdotes in recent bios, from some of Dean's classmates at UCLA, that he was a mean drunk and would actually beat his girlfriends when loaded. Live Fast contains one such episode where Dean knocked a girl out cold outside a club. Rosenmann contends that Pier broke it off with Jimmy because she had simply had enough of being beaten up when Dean drank. Any comments about Dean's drinking?Dean once crashed a party at the Rosenmann's and, very loudly in front of mixed company pointed out that Lenny had been having an affair with Lois Smith, an actress on East of Eden. Although Lenny's wife, Adele, had already found out about the affair, I believe this scene set the stage for Rosenmann's later claims of Dean being "drunk and disorderly, and I (Lenny) guess I had just outgrown that sort of thing". omment? JG: Dean did a lot for Lenny Rosenmann. It is my personal belief that Jimmy put Lenny on the map. Jimmy wanted more out of the friendship -- wanted to run around, fart around with a basketball (play ping- pong as we did a couple times); wanted more than Lenny was willing to give. Lenny has or had the attitude that Dean clung to him, wanted attention, thus annoying Lenny who said, "I'm not your father! Go play basketball with your father!" I know Rosenmann hurt Jimmy's feelings and if the story is true about Dean blabbing about screwing Lois, then it is because Jimmy was jealous of the attentions Lenny was paying to Lois, 'Miss Nobody' at the time, and one of Kazan's brilliant casting moments (that maybe few realize). Jimmy couldn't hold much liquor. I didn't see him getting violent; more like sloppy and falling around. Skip E. Lowe, who had a TV show, was together two or so times with Jimmy, myself, and once with Shelly Winters in a bar in New York. Skip could tell you about it; that's when I first met Skip -- way back). Jimmy'd drink but he'd get high fast and sometimes peed in the corner of a place rather than making it to the john. Jimmy was the ticket to the success for a lot of people. What they did after Dean's death is they became turn-coats pointing to Jimmy's recklessness" as the cause of his death, and "Oh, my!" I could've been killed with him!" Which is not the case since he didn't invite others to go with him. Sounds so fucking romantic of these people (as Bill Bast portrayed in his awful movie), to have been invited by Jimmy to accompany him on the "Death Drive". Fact: it was a two-seater and there was never a question that Rolf wouldn't be alongside. He was a built-in deal. Jimmy MAY have invited others to come up and see the race -- a big deal, right? But he never said, "Oh, ride with me."  Another fact: you don't know when you start out for the store or a hot date that you're on a ‘ Death Drive'. Others know that after the fact, never before, unless you write a suicide note. Jimmy had plans for his life that didn't include getting wasted on a fucking boring- ass road the other side of Bakersfield!

PW:  Do you think Jimmy had the potential to be a violent spouse, i.e. a wife beater? In Live Fast, you wrote that Karen Davis had confided to you or someone else that Jimmy had gotten angry and hit her a few times. JG:  He did hit her. I saw the bruises. I can't answer what he hypothetically might have become. If he'd drank a lot and used drugs he might've been nasty -- punched people around. I didn't see a VIOLENT temper in him; people get that from the movies he made; like so-and-so's a tough guy when actually a midget could kick his ass. Jimmy had a streak and become very depressed, very anxious -- disturbed. I think if you rubbed him the wrong way at one of those times or CROWDED him, he might've knocked you out of the way. I know he did with someone else -- a mutually involved person, and that was the end of the relationship. Jimmy didn't know all the shit he had going on inside of himself, and as is the case with so many ‘stars' the fame can only seem to compound the disturbances at times. (This is what happened to Marilyn Monroe ALWAYS!) Jimmy's sense of being couldn't handle rejection.

PW: This is kind of an extension of the earlier question about Dean and Rosenmann, and the affair that the latter had with extra, Lois Smith.  It's been speculated that Dean felt strongly about the sanctity and concept of marriage, and therefore blew the whistle on Lenny and Lois because he strongly disapproved of their liaison.  Did Jimmy ever comment to you on his views regarding marriage? JG: Jimmy's feelings about marriage were basic with what we all had been conditioned to feel: it was a sanctity- the ultimate; love, kids, the little or big house with the two cars and insurance policies and live in the roses.  One thing I have to say and this is very clear in my head because we talked about it once: you didn't fuck someone else's wife.  If you did, you were a worm- you weren't a man. 

PW: What do you remember about Dean's friend, actor and artist Billy Gunn? Is there a story behind the paintings Jimmy did of him? JG: I knew Billy Gunn via Jimmy and Marty (Landau), and was friendly with Billy in ‘56-’57 etc. in New York.  The painting in Dalton's book supposedly by Jimmy of a black sax player was, I believe, actually painted by Billy, who was a good artist/actor, and a neat guy.  Jimmy didn't paint like that.  Billy did another painting very close to that one, of a guy with a trumpet.  He was a good artist , wanted to paint for real, but got the acting bug, then into the writing bug.  He was pals with Marty Landau and Ben Carruthers.  I knew both.  Ben was a year younger than me, but died 23 years ago (I'd seen him a few times in L.A. in the early ‘80's.)  Seems those I knew are now dead.  We all used to hang out in Pandora's Box on West 4th street, above Louie's Tavern. 

PW: We previously talked about Liz Sheridan and her memoir on Dean.  You commented that after Liz herself did several lengthy interviews with you, another person, named Englund, contacted you on Sheridan's behalf and did another interview.  Do you believe that afterwards the publisher concluded that the sidebar of you and Jimmy distracted too much from the traditional bohemian showbiz romance they were trying to portray, and your reminiscences were cut for that reason?  The Rogers Brackett angle couldn't be ignored, evidently, but your presence and experiences with Dean, at close to the same time that Sheridan was seeing him wasn't a sidebar Liz and the publisher wanted.   Comment? JG: I was disappointed that she didn't include me, and then pissed (slow-reacting), since she spent several hours with me on the phone.  A sidebar dealing with the relationship of Jimmy and me would've detracted from the TV sitcom overview Dizzy decided upon.  Also, rather simply, I think they felt it would have directed readers to my book (more sales!) Which WOULD have detracted from Dizzy's text sitcom.  I think my book was due to come out very quickly when we were talking, and we did agree to create a "balance"; she'd scratch my back, I'd scratch her's.  It didn't work out that way, which, by the way, is just as cool by me. 

PW:  In Wes Gehring's new bio, Rebel with a Cause (read correctly), his central thesis is that Dean was a calculated, hard-working actor who was almost continually doing publicity for an "image". In other words, Dean was NOT the troubled, desperate, angst-ridden loner that he portrayed to perfection in his films and most of the TV work. The troubled rebel was an image he worked hard to cultivate, according to Gehring, and was mostly a provocatively colorful POSEUR, with a clear agenda for success. Most of this is based on sources like Sheridan's memoir and a few vague anecdotes wherein Dean supposedly ‘plays' to his image. How do you feel about this attempted "revision" by the conservative right at the 11th hour? My feeling is ALL THESE OTHER BOOKS ON DEAN CAN"T BE WRONG, and essentially, that's what Wes Gehring is asking us to believe. Can you comment on the angst ridden poseur vs. authentic angst? JG: Jimmy was a "poseur" only in his wanting to be acknowledged in the image of Brando. One has to understand the impact Brando had on the New York and Hollywood scene. Unless you were there it is hard to grasp with the spirit. He shook the world by its roots. Everybody (males) wanted to be like Brando. Females wanted to be the "Female Brando." Jimmy was no different. He deliberately imitated Brando, as did a dozen others I could name. Except that Jimmy had something else. He was a STAR. It's not something that you learn or adopt or turn into overnight. It's something you possess in your spirit and nature that only the fusion of film and lights and the camera can see so blatantly and nakedly. You see it in the screening room or movie house. You cannot see it in the person unless you know exactly what you are looking for with a highly trained eye, such as Kazan's. Kazan knew what he was after and knew what he was buying: a powerhouse of angst and tortured psyche. He was buying a large, difficult child. 

PW:  In The Real James Dean, you recounted a vignette about yourself and Jimmy sitting through A PLACE IN THE SUN several times and then hitting an all-night cafeteria for a bite. The two of you first hit the can and noticed some holes that had obviously been drilled by hand through the toilet partition. You wrote that Jimmy was fascinated with that and he speculated that some pervert had sat on the toilet faking it, all the while drilling those holes. Your observation was "there was pain there.....but it took me (you) years to face that...". Was that referring to a painful flashback in your own past or your sensing a painful flashback having been experienced by Jimmy, at that moment, pertaining to his own past? JG:  No, no, just a subjective feeling, an observation of seeing pain in Jimmy; even joking, he was showing pain; pain of disclosure, of exposure, of having his guts wrenched in moments of terrible loss. So very, very few know the depth of anguish visited upon him by the death of his beloved mother and the brow-beating, head-pounding rejection by his rotten father. Can you imagine being kicked out, as a child, by your father and shipped with your mother's coffin from everything you held dear? It was a PAIN that ran in Jimmy's fiber as a human being, pain, laced-like, wound around every nerve, never to leave, never to let up. Pain as the endless visitor. 

PW:  One of Jimmy's friends in Hollywood, Lew Bracker, stated recently that there is no question in his mind that Vic Damone's son, Perry, was actually fathered by Dean. Bracker was adamant about this to a crowd of Dean fans at the 50th anniversary memorial service for Jimmy in Indiana. There is the possibility Jimmy may have fathered more than one illegitimate child. Comment? JG:  "Bracker was adamant about this to a crowd,"  you say, and I say, yes, to a ‘crowd'. Bracker, who was a cousin of Rosenmann as far as I know, who sold insurance and rode on Jimmy's coattails into infinity (I suppose) is taking his place in the Media Sunshine. Oh, to be quoted! Oh, to be acknowledged! Absolute Bullshit about Damone's kid. Jimmy told me Pier jacked him off in his on-stage trailer and he fucked her on the floor "like she was a dog," he said. Then he said he cried afterwards. He said, "Oh, man, I cried like a fucking baby because I'd hurt her." I didn't know what he meant by that. The world out there will never accept the truth that there was no "romance" between him and Pier. In Hollywood, we fuck people but it doesn't mean we're in LOVE. We fuck people for a lot of fucking reasons but we don't do it because we hear Wedding Bells in the Chapel! We fuck each other because it's a language we understand. It's a way we relate inside the glass bubble. The money machine pressing for bucks via media balloons we blow up to sky high proportions, shapes the minds of the masses to accept certain pictures as Gospel truths. Ain't no way to change those painted-on leopard spots without skinning the sucker bald and that can't be done. Pier wanted to fuck me years later when she was totally out of it, after telling me about her secret yearnings to have been "married" to Jimmy. I had my daughter with me and Pier said, "Well, you can put her in the other room and lock the door."

PW:  Both end papers to the hardback edition of Live Fast feature a unique drawing of yourself with Dean, in leather jackets, next to a bike in front of Googies(?). The image of you in the drawing was based on a photo taken by your friend Hooper Dunbar, but the original photo did not include Dean .The image of Dean's face seems to have been culled from a Phil Stern photograph that also included Dennis Stock and others. Many of your detractors latched on to this detail as "evidence" that you have (they believe) faked your entire relationship with Dean, many going as far as to say you did not know him at all. One certain old friend of Dean's has repeatedly endeared herself to the fans by attending fan-gatherings, and saying among other things, that you never knew Jimmy. The star struck superficial types take every word as gospel because they're so smitten with the presence of this person WHO KNEW JIMMY! What are your thoughts on the debate regarding your truthfulness and being the" black sheep of the Midwest", as you put it, since the release of The Real James Dean in 1975? JG:  The picture was almost a total washout: overexposed. Right into the sun. I don't care about the picture. I don't care about the detractors. I KNOW WHAT I KNOW. I'VE LIVED THE LIFE I'VE LIVED. Thunder's Mouth wanted to redo the shot, and two or more artists worked on it. That's what I understood. Now they can't find the picture and tell me, "Have another one made from the neg." Right. I didn't even own the camera (a Brownie). Maybe you're talking about Vampira? I could tell you about her and her imagined fantasy world about Jimmy who only laughed at her the two or three times she was around. Are you talking about Christine White? She had her day. She did her thing. She has made a mountain out of a molehill and I say, hey, go, Christine, do your thing. There are others who claim having close friendships with Jimmy who didn't know him. Why does she bother bitching about me? Is she jealous that Jimmy found her a "disarmed blockbuster" which is what he said. 

PW:  There are some rare photos of Dean and others on the revised Dean reminiscence section of your website. One shows Jimmy with a brunette who resembles Barbara Glenn, probably the most serious of his New York girlfriends. Is that her, and what are your thoughts about her in general? JG:  I liked Barbara but she was disturbed (as were others) about Jimmy's friendship with me because I was so much prettier than she was. And after all, I had a "brain" I was Rimbaud, as Jimmy'd say. They hated that. HATED it. 

PW:  Stewart Stern recently said that Jimmy believed he (Dean) would have been "queer" if his mother had not died when she did. As painful and dislocating as her loss was for him, especially as a young boy, toward the end of his life, according to Stern, Jimmy was coming to grips with her early death. The implication is that, as much as Jimmy loved and missed her, he felt she would have continued to over indulge him, making him, in his mind, gay. Comment? JG:  I knew Stewart very well. If Jimmy told him such a story, he was being "intellectual" with Stewart who fancied himself an intellectual. I know a great deal about Stewart, about his life, etc., and I knew Jimmy well enough to know that's some of Jimmy's "intellectualizing" to be accepted by Stewart as another intellectual, like Stewart. Brando, a close a friend of Stewart's, did the same thing with Stewart. 

PW:  At the 50th anniversary events in Indiana, an alleged letter from Dean's old friend, Perry Lopez, was read aloud, in which Lopez wrote that Jimmy really dug Elvis Presley. It reminded me of the myriad nostalgic images of Dean hanging out with other dead icons, as if they were all good buddies in life and in the afterlife. People love to believe, based on our own love for legendary, bygone stars, that they all loved each other. I've heard that Marilyn Monroe met Dean only once at a party and that they took an instant dislike to one another. Did Dean ever mention Elvis to you at all?  Presley was only a regional act in the deep South and still on the Sun label when Dean was alive, although Jimmy could have heard some of the Sun records on a juke box or the radio while on location in Texas for GIANT. Comment? JG:  I can't recall any mention of Elvis. I think after all these years, Perry is trying to get in on the act. I don't know that Perry Lopez was ever an "old friend" of Dean's. Everyone runs into everyone else in the glass bubble. You fuck or shake hands.The brief time Jimmy was in Hollywood hardly allowed for all the "old friends" who step forward to have occupied that much time he spent alive. 

PW:  James Dean's death has been referred to as suicide by inadvertence. Deep down, do you believe he had a death wish? Some of what you've written on him seems to reinforce the idea that he was sort of in love with the idea of challenging death, if not possessing an out and out death wish. JG:  You said it. Challenging death, whatever that meant to him. It might've meant challenging the idea that his mother had been snatched and he'd never reconcile that fact. During the 50's we in that "other realm" did a lot of shit we'd never do as grownups. It was being wild and reckless and pushing at the limits. It was never a wish to die, even if the pain became unbearable. 

PW:  There is a photo of Dean in Live Fast, in leather jacket, leaning against a wall, looking away from the camera.  It is uncredited . Where did this photo come from? Did you take it? JG:  No comment. They'll throw more bricks. 

PW:  Was there more of a backlash over Live Fast than The Real James Dean? In terms of intimate scenarios and details, Live Fast goes far beyond what you wrote in 1975. JG:  No backlash on Live Fast, except my old friend Sheldon says it was "tacky". You should hear what I could say about Sheldon's behaviors in Hollywood, but I'd be breaking a code we have here. I'm sorry he said it, as he meant it in a nasty way. We were very close in NY way back and in Hollywood

PW:  Dizzy Sheridan told Val Holley that she still gets hate mail from fans who don't appreciate her claim on Dean. One gay man wrote to her saying, "how dare you claim Jimmy! He belongs to us!" Have you had any experiences with hate mail, say, from the nostalgia junkies and conservatives? JG:  No. I get letters telling me how deeply my book affected people, how they feel they've suffered the same pangs as Jimmy and how I brought to them some cknowledgment that they weren't alone in their "genuine angst". 

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Категория: ИНТЕРВЬЮ | Добавил: karla-marx (25.11.2009)
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Всего комментариев: 3
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1
Вообще-то, если это ирония, тут лежит первоисточник, с которого сделан перевод  http://jamesdean.ucoz.ru/publ....1-0-101 поскольку по указанной ссылке этот материал убрали, первоисточник остался здесь, и удалять его мы не будем. А в группе Контакта имелись в виду фрагменты книги Гилмора, а не интервью с ним. Причем опять-таки, перевод, а не оригиналы на инглише, которые тоже тут присутствуют
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2
Для тех, кто не владеет английским, специально встроен гугл-переводчик, в боковом контейнере справа, сверху. К тому же интервью переведено. На главной странице раздела все материалы идут с сопроводительной подписью, в оригинале они или с переводом.
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3
Было бы и ясно и понятно, если бы вы потрудились просмотреть контент
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