This week the BBC did a program about the death of legendary actor James Dean, which occurred late in the afternoon on 30 September 1955 when the Hollywood actor crashed his car and died. Interestingly, he had received a speeding ticket a couple of hours before the crash. The BBC report commented that racing cars had been a passion of the young actor since childhood. I immediately thought of Mars, the planet of action, and speculated that the red planet and Mars-ruled Aries must be quite prominent in his chart.
According to a BBC news report from 1955: “The 24-year-old actor was behind the wheel of his German-made Porsche sports car when it was involved in a head-on collision with another car 30 miles (48 km) east of Paso Robles this evening. Mr Dean’s mechanic, Rolph Wutherich, who was a passenger in the car, was taken to hospital with serious injuries. The driver of the other car was also injured. Medics said Mr Dean, who was dead on arrival at hospital, suffered a broken neck and numerous broken bones. At the time of the accident the road racing enthusiast was on his way to a race meeting at Salinas, California.”
According the the Death Certificate, James Dean died at 5:45 pm PST in Cholame, California, 35N43, 120W18. His birth information from his birth certificate is 9 a.m. CST on 8 February 1931 in Marion, Indiana. Here is his natal chart with Placidus houses.
As expected in a birth chart of someone who loves speed and racing, Mars is quite prominent. Mars-ruled Aries rises. Mars lies in the fire-sign Leo, making it quite powerful and dramatic. Mars in Leo lies in a close square with the Moon in Mars-ruled Scorpio, suggesting an impatient person with strong passions and an emotional need for adrenalin rushes.
Uranus in Aries lies almost exactly on the Ascendant, suggesting a fondness for thrills and quick action. Mercury rules his Gemini-3rd house of automobiles and opposes ASC-ruler Mars in the 5th house of fun and recreation.
His Solar Return for 1931, the year of his fatal car crash, is quite telling. Here is the return chart superimposed on his natal chart.
Note that Solar Return Mars, which rules the 8th house of death, rises in his natal chart. In 1955, SR Mars conjoins natal Uranus and squares natal Pluto. SR Mars also squares SR Jupiter and SR Uranus. SR Mercury, which rules his natal 3rd of local travel, conjoins the natal 12th house cusp (self-undoing) and opposes SR Pluto on the cusp of the 6th of illness. SR Saturn, a traditional symbol of death (Father Time, the Grim Reaper) lies almost exactly on the natal 8th cusp of death. At the same time SR Mars, ruler of the 8th, squares natal Saturn which by transit lies on the cusp of the 8th. All-in-all the astrological symbolism is quite apt.