dizzy & jimmy – my life with James Dean a love story by Liz Sheridan

Liz Sheridan, or Dizzy as she was known to her friends, is probably best known for playing Jerry Seinfeld’s mother on Seinfeld and also Mrs. Ochmonek on Alf. But long before that, she had a love affair with Jimmy Dean for over a year and a half before he was James Dean the icon. Once I found out Sheridan had written a book about her relationship with James Dean, I had to have it! I found a copy that was inscribed and signed by Liz herself. I started it the evening I received it and finished it the next day. It was such an entertaining and easy read. This is the only book to my knowledge written from one of James Dean’s loves. Pretty sure Pier Angeli and Ursula Andress didn’t write one.

I knew Dizzy and Jimmy had a relationship back in New York before he was famous. It is in all the documentaries and books, but I never knew the depths of it. Their story broke my heart. Like any great love story, I found myself pleading, “Why couldn’t they stay together?” Because their love never ended, but they did not end up together. No one did anything bad to the other to cause them to split, it was just life that got in their way.

Dizzy and Jimmy met in New York City in the Fall of 1951 and were immediately inseparable. They were like two sides of the same coin and were like that until right before Jimmy left for California to star in East of Eden. Actually, Jimmy’s first Broadway play was the beginning of the end for he and Dizzy. He pulled away because he was concentrating on his role. As a result, Dizzy decided she needed a life of her own and moved away. Jimmy starred in another Broadway play and a few tv shows before getting the movie deal and moving to California. Jimmy and Dizzy saw each other one last time, coincidentally they were both in New York City, after the filming East of Eden. They declared they would love each other forever then went their separate ways, in different countries, with promises of staying in touch through letters and phone calls. A year later Jimmy was dead.

What really got me is at their last meeting, Jimmy asked Dizzy if she wanted to come out to California and he would help her with her career. Dizzy wanted him to ask her to live with him and be his love again etc – but maybe that is what Jimmy wanted to but did not specifically say it. So Dizzy declined saying she had to give her new life a try. If Dizzy had just went to California with Jimmy, maybe theirs would have been a different ending.

Thanks to Liz Sheridan for finally writing her love story with James Dean almost 50 years later. I absolutely loved this book! This is a must-have for any James Dean fan!

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