In tiny Marfa, Texas, the buildings across the skyline don’t get too tall. The comfortable little town is about as far away from glitzy New York City or Los Angeles as you can get in most respects. But, in one way, the hamlet shares a little bit of history with those international metropolises. In 1955, maybe the most famous trio in Hollywood history graced the dusty streets of Marfa to make a movie.
It was summertime when movie production began for Giant, a Western film starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean. Between shooting the movie’s love scenes and drag-em-out fights, the cast took up residence in Marfa’s swanky, 25-year-old Hotel Paisano, which, at the time, billed itself as the most elegant stop between El Paso and San Antonio.
With charming Southwest architecture, which includes multicolored tiles and curving archways, the Hotel Paisano has 41 rooms, including the three rooms previously occupied by the giant stars of Giant. “Welcome to the Rock Hudson suite,” a helpful hotel attendant might offer when showing you to the historic room, which has since been refurbished. Or maybe you’ll stay in Taylor’s room across the hall or Dean’s down a little ways—a room that has remained virtually untouched from its original, modest design.
Giant, unfortunately, was the last film that Dean acted in before he died later that year on September 30, 1955. But before the actor passed away, he shot one of his most iconic roles in quirky Marfa, Texas, home to his home at the time, the cherished Hotel Paisano.