From Publishers Weekly
Artist and photographer Michaud delivers a prismatic portrait of actor Mineo, who made 21 films before his brutal 1976 murder. In a childhood leap from the Bronx to Broadway, the 11-year-old Mineo was cast in The Rose Tattoo in 1951 and got acting tips and inspiration from Yul Brynner during The King and I. He made the move to Hollywood and found success at a time when studios were reaching toward the new teen market: Sal fit the bill perfectly. His tough yet sensitive image appealed to both girls and boys. After his memorable scenes with James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, he became the youngest performer ever nominated for a Best Supporting Oscar. By age 35, however, his film career was over, and he turned his attention to directing theater; it was during this career change that he was stabbed and killed during a robbery attempt. Michaud captures the actor' s passionate, freewheeling lifestyle, and his narrative is dotted with those who worked with him: Dennis Hopper, Janet Leigh, Eva Marie Saint, and James Whitmore. Especially revealing are the intimate insights of Mineo' s fiancée, Jill Haworth, and his male lover Courtney Burr. Detailed coverage of the arrest, trial, and conviction of Mineo' s murderer brings this authoritative biography to a compelling conclusion.
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Sal Mineo, the exotic-looking actor who rose to fame in the 1950s, is probably most well known for his performance in Rebel without a Cause and his tragic murder at the age of 37. In this fascinating biography, Michaud outlines the actor’s life, telling how he was born to Sicilian coffin makers in the Bronx and how at the age of 10 he was enrolled by his mother in acting school. In his teens, he rose to stardom with a breakthrough Broadway role opposite Yul Brynner in the The King and I. He soon made the transition to screen, appearing in Rebel, for which he became the youngest person ever to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His looks and talent soon led to more film roles and also television success, and at the height of his career, Mineo was a major celebrity. As the 1950s and early 1960s waned, the actor found roles hard to come by, although he was starring in a successful play when he was murdered in a botched robbery in 1976. Michaud provides an insider look at Mineo’s life and career. --Kathleen Hughes