James Dean’s close friend Lew Bracker recalls a haunting moment when the actor turned to him and said, “We ought to get married.”

“I made a joke and said ‘To each other?'” Lew tells ‘Closer.’ “James said, ‘No, we’ll find wives, and our children will grow up as best friends,’ He was thinking of the future, and he had this whole scenario, like a Hollywood movie, mapped out,” Lew added.

But when James died in a car crash in 1955 at the age of 24, those dreams were shattered, along with the hearts of his many adoring fans.

james dean

James in January 1955.

Now, nearly 60 years later, his loved ones share some of their most intimate memories of the icon, including the truth about the love of his life, Pier Angeli, and what might have happened if James hadn’t lost his life on that fateful day.

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As his affinity for acting grew, James headed to Hollywood in search of stardom. It was there that he met Pier, a gorgeous Italian actress who has shooting another movie on the Warner Bros. lot while James filmed his 1955 debut, ‘East of Eden.’

james dean and pier angeli

James and Pier in January 1954.

“She doesn’t have to be all gussied up,” he raved about her. “She’s wonderful just as she is.”

But Pier’s strict Italian mother didn’t approve of her daughter dating a non-Catholic, and James said, “I wouldn’t marry her unless I could take care of her properly. And I don’t think I’m emotionally stable enough to do so right now.”

She soon wed singer Vic Damone, and a heartbroken James was seen outside the church on his motorcycle on their wedding day. “He couldn’t believe it was going to happen,” Lew says. “He needed to see it with his own eyes.”

To read the full story on James, pick up the new copy of ‘Closer Weekly,’ on newsstands now!