James Dean’s Estate Approves CGI Resurrection 65 Years After Death

Almost 65 years after his death in a car crash, actor James Dean will appear back on the big screen through the magic of CGI. Magic City Films announced that Dean’s image will be digitally recreated in their Vietnam War drama “Finding Jack”, causing mixed reactions from the star’s friends and fans. Many have speculated whether the actor would have wanted this, but Dean passed away without a will, leaving his family with the ultimate decision-making power.

Dean’s situation is not uncommon, as the last thing on any 24-year-old’s mind is their mortality. His entire estate ended up being left to his father, the default heir determined by interstate law. Considering he barely spoke to his dad, Dean most likely would have wanted the majority of his fortune to go to the aunt and uncle who raised him. As a famous actor, it is also important to realize that his assets included much more than money and physical possessions.

The actor’s image and likeness became the property of his heirs, leaving them to decide its usage in any future films, ads, and other media. Magic City Films did get consent from Dean’s estate, but people question whether he really would have wanted to be digitally recreated or if he would have wanted to play this specific role. Although some believe this would be against Dean’s wishes, without them in writing, there is no way to determine this for sure.

Dean is not alone, as Aretha Franklin, Prince, and Kurt Cobain also passed away without a will in place. It’s hard to believe that with all of the attorneys, accountants, and managers in a celebrity’s inner circle, no one thought about estate planning until it was too late. In total, an estimated 55% of American adults have not planned for their estate. While most people do not have multi-million-dollar empires, they do have loved ones that they want to provide for. Having a will can protect families and give loved ones a roadmap to carry out any last wishes. While we’d like to think we’ll always be around, there is no amount of CGI that can make us live forever.

Though your options are virtually limitless, proper estate planning, deciding on the “who, what, when, and how”, and executing this with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees and court costs possible can be a challenging and emotional affair to wrestle with alone. For more information, contact Talley LLP today.  

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