Did boomers care when James Dean died?

The New York Times Week in Review section today had an article on “When Icons Die Young,” spinning off the death of actor Heath Ledger. I wondered, though, about one sentence — “In 1955, Baby Boomers grieved the passing of the 24-year-old James Dean, who received two posthumous Academy Award nominations on his way to the pantheon.”

Is that true? In 1955, the oldest boomer was all of 9 years old. We were barely halfway into the boom. Perhaps a little loose writing there.

My guess is our generation’s iconic deaths might start with Buddy Holly in 1959, Marilyn Monroe (1962), run (obviously) through John Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. (although this article is talking more celebrity deaths) through Elvis and John Lennon. The last two might fit closer to the Ledger death, through neither was a young as Ledger. But the youngest boomers were teens when Elvis and Lennon died and maybe of us were just into our 20s.

I’m sure I’m missing better examples, but then this is a depressing topic.