Anne Helen Petersen

Anne Helen Petersen is a staff writer at BuzzFeed. Her first book, Scandals of Classic Hollywood, was published by Plume/Penguin in September 2014. 

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Roundtable

Live Fast, Die Young, Leave a Hit

By Anne Helen Petersen

Everyone thinks they know the tragic story of James Dean: he died young and violently, he embodied the ennui and angst of the postwar generation, and his image lives on as a hollow signifier of youthful rebellion. But most don’t understand how the timing of his death, and the very specific timing of his films, turned a tragic death into a cultural crater—one that would be widened and exploited by the Hollywood publishing industry. More