Jimmy is mentioned in two classic songs, "Jack and Diane" by John Mellencamp and "American Pie" by Don McLean. "Jack and Diane": "Scratches his head and does his best James Dean." "American Pie": "In a coat he borrowed from James Dean."
“I can’t think of another actor who acquired stardom so quickly, who held it for such a short time, and then kept it for such a long time. James Dean became a star in one calendar year, and then he left us. But he’s still being talked about, he’s still being revered, he’s still being iconized forty years later. I don’t think there’s another example like it in the entire history of movies.” -Leonard Maltin, movie critic