11 March 2015

Taking care of James Dean's cat

In September 1955, as filming of "Giant" (1956) was coming to an end, James Dean got a Siamese kitten from co-star Elizabeth Taylor whom he had befriended during the film's shooting. He named the cat Marcus, after his cousin. When Dean went to Salinas, California, on 30 September 1955 to participate in a car racing competition, he needed somebody to look after Marcus. His friend, actress Jeanette Doty (whom Dean had formerly dated), had agreed to take him, and the night before he left Dean visited her to bring the cat over. Along with Marcus, Dean also gave Jeanette a note with instructions how to feed and care for him. Dean would never be back to pick up Marcus. On his way to Salinas he died after crashing his Porsche.

Jeanette Doty and James Dean (playing drunk) at the popular nightclub Ciro's. Photo by Dennis Stock.
Image: heritage auctions (reproduced with permission)


1 teaspoon white Karo
1 big can evaporated milk
equal part boiled water or
distilled water
1 egg yoke [sic]
mix and chill

Don't feed him meat or formula cold.

1 drop vitamen [sic] solution per day

Take Marcus to Dr. Cooper on Melrose for shots next week


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    1. The Siamese cat in the top photo did not belong to James Dean...this cat, named Louis, was owned by Beulah and Sanford Roth. The kitten in the second sequence of photos, named Marcus belonged to James Dean. Photos were taken by Sanford Roth on separate days (note different shirts worn by Dean) at the Roth's Hollywood residence, 1955. Lee Raskin, James Dean historian/author. James Dean: At Speed, 2005; and James Dean: On The Road To Salinas, 2015

  2. Clarissa Saunders...Wondering if Jeanette Doty referred to in the above blog..is actually Jeanette Miller? Jeanette Doty does not show up as an IMDb actress. Lee Raskin, author, James Dean: On The Road To Salinas.

    1. Yes, she was Jeanette Miller Doty. If you click on the Heritage Auctions link above (source of the image) you will also find a note by Ronald Martinetti, author of The James Dean Story,saying that Jeanette Miller Doty gave him James' cat formula, which was later auctioned at Heritage Auctions.