TLS, two pages, 8.5 x 11, April 7, 1954. Letter to Warner Bros. Pictures, in part: "This is to acknowledge that I have received from you this day the sum of Seven Hundred ($700.00) Dollars as a loan and I have given you my promissory notes…In the event that I am not allowed to continue to render my services in the role of 'Cal' in the motion picture tentatively entitled 'East of Eden' and you are required to compensate me for the minimum ten (10) weeks of employment…you are hereby authorized to deduct from such payment any sums due and unpaid." He also agrees to repay the costs of first-class transportation to Los Angeles should he not be able to fulfill the role. Boldly signed at the conclusion in fountain pen by James Dean. In fine condition, with staple holes to the upper left corner. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from JSA.
Dean had just been chosen to play loner Cal Trask in Elia Kazan's screen adaptation of John Steinbeck's great novel East of Eden—his first major role. On the very next day, April 8, Dean left New York and headed for Los Angeles to begin shooting. Warner Bros. issued Dean a $700 advance for the film, which he agreed to pay back $100 at a time on a weekly basis. Dean embraced the part and turned in one of cinema's great emotional performances to earn an Oscar nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
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