- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Running Press; 1st Carroll & Graf ed edition (October 12, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0786707771
- ISBN-13: 978-0786707775
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 42 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,268,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
Sal Mineo: His Life, Murder, and Mystery Hardcover – October 12, 2000
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
Small, sinuous and sensuous, Mineo is best remembered for his Academy Award- nominated performance as Plato, the troubled gay teen in love with James Dean in the famed 1955 cult film Rebel Without a Cause, though Mineo's career was far more extensive. His life, which ended in a mysterious street stabbing in 1976 when he was 37, is an emblematic story of early childhood success and a faltering later career. Born in 1939 to immigrant Italian parents in the Bronx, Mineo possessed extraordinary star quality. At age 11, he landed a Broadway role with one line in Tennessee's William's The Rose Tattoo; two years later, he was the understudy for the part of the Crown Prince of Siam in The King and I. After just two films, he was catapulted into stardom in Rebel. But except for an Academy Award nomination for his performance in Exodus in 1960, Mineo's film career was spotty and didn't build momentum. With an easy style and sound reporting, Jeffers (a personal friend of Mineo's and author of numerous books including An Honest President: The Life and Presidencies of Grover Cleveland) has recreated the performer's life with verve and insight. He also provides delicious, though sometimes extraneous, gossip (16-year-old Mineo most probably had affairs with both James Dean and director Nicholas Ray on the set of Rebel). Jeffers's insights into the complicated Hollywood politics that controlled Mineo's up-and-down career will appeal to older film buffs and Rebel fans who will recognize him in the movie still on the jacket, while gay (and straight) readers will be wholly absorbed by his account of how homophobia impeded the search for Mineo's murderer. Targeted marketing to gay readers should boost sales (as it will the title reviewed directly below.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Sal Mineo was gay and initially unhappy about it, Jeffers says. Although his family never accepted it, he eventually embraced his homosexuality, which allowed him to understand his feelings for James Dean during the filming of Rebel without a Cause , which even included a scene, cut before release, in which the two men kissed. At his death in 1976, Mineo was best remembered for that film. Some fans may have known he had come out, but few knew he had become a successful stage director of the gay-themed play Fortune and Men's Eyes , which New York gays rallied round as a kind of liberation statement. Jeffers was closely associated with Mineo, and his warmth toward the one-time "Switchblade Kid" is patent. Mineo's late night murder behind his LA apartment gave the tabloids something to scream about, and it remains unsolved. By that time, the former teenage movie star was, at 37, almost destitute. Its violent end just then made Mineo's story a sad one, told with feeling by an author who cared about him. Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
What I disliked most about this book is how the author gives the impression that Sal Mineo came from a loving, close-knit Italian-American family who was very support of him. He downplays the fact that Sal Mineo had to support his family and that his money was being spent faster than he could make it. The author makes it sound as if it was Sal Mineo’s fault that he chose his mother to be his manager instead of hiring a professional. The author downplays it that as his manager, she was responsible for the financial consequences he suffered with the IRS. If a professional manager had done what his mother had done to him, the manager would have gone to prison for embezzlement. He also doesn’t note that his mother’s mismanagement of his finances and his family's leeching off of him are the main reasons that Sal Mineo split from his family. It wasn’t just because he was gay. The biggest overstatement in the book was when the author wrote “No son was loved more by, or owed more to his mother. “ If anything his mother owed him. The author depicted her as a saint, but she was really a gold digger who thought she was financially savvy but wasn't.
H. Paul Jeffers knew Sal Mineo for seven years before he died, but they communicated intermittently over that time. How much could he have known about him? If you’re a Sal Mineo fan, I’d say get this book, but also get the biography by Michael Gregg Michaud. Make the comparison; you’ll see which book is better.
First of all, is the biography well written? Yes and no. It is well written, but I believe that had the author not had something of a "thing" for Mineo he might have been able to provide us with a bit more insight into the life of Sal Mineo than he really does. Apparently he and Mineo had an ongoing tryst, one that was sporadic at best, but lasted for many years.
I got the distinct impression that Jeffries knew more than he was telling us. I suspect that he spoke less of Mineo's dark side than he might have because he had promised Mineo's family he would do so - or merely out of respect for Mineo's memory. Yet, it seems a bit misplaced as Mineo seems to have come to terms with his life - at least so the biographer states.
For me, Mineo will forever be an innocent young boy: Plato. I'm not the only one who feels this way. So what of it? Jeffries refers only in passing to this and doesn't delve deeper into Mineo's psyche. This affected Mineo, but there's no real meat in what about it affected him. Why didn't Jeffries ask Mineo's friends about how Mineo dealt with his inability to shake his youthful image - what about the studio personnel? Were they all deceased or unwilling to speak?
Jeffries repeatedly references the way in which Mineo banked on James Dean's name and his short association with James Dean, but he doesn't really dig deep enough in that area. Had I been this close to Mineo and had the ability to speak to him about J.D. I sure would have spent a great deal of time learning all I could about their time together and what it meant to Mineo, how he felt about Dean's death, and how Mineo felt when he learned that Dean's sex life might have offered them a chance to be more than friendly. Mineo claims not to have known about Dean when they shot Rebel Without A Cause, but he knew later - and surely put two and two together. He even says, "I could have had him," but it seems flippant and more akin to someone who knows otherwise, yet wishes it could have been. Where is the interview with psychologists or psychiatrists who could shed some light on who Mineo was and why he did the things he did?
Jeffries missed a great opportunity to let us all know what Sal Mineo was really like - deep down, rather than as superficially as he has done. We don't really know what drove Mineo, though I can read between the lines and see that Mineo was driven by the need for acceptance and love, which manifested itself in his need for fame. But we don't get enough information in the book to really learn about all that. I'm certain that Mr. Jeffries knew Sal Mineo and that he spoke with him and interviewed him in order to write this book, but its publication was years after Mineo's death. Jeffries would have done well to interview friends and acquaintances with an ear for more detail about who Mineo was.
I don't want "dirt" on Mineo or Dean. Rather, what I'm hoping for when I read a biography is information not only about the person's walk a day life, but what drove him/her. I'm afraid that just isn't sufficiently there in this biography.
A caveat: Since there are no other Sal Mineo biographies out there, I might as well be raging against the wind, because Mr. Jeffries has given us the one and only complete Sal Mineo biography to date.