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Sal Mineo: A Biography

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Sal Mineo is probably most well-known for his unforgettable, Academy Award–nominated turn opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and his tragic murder at the age of thirty-seven. Finally, in this riveting new biography filled with exclusive, candid interviews with both Mineo’s closest female and male lovers and never-before-published photographs, Michael Gregg Michau Sal Mineo is probably most well-known for his unforgettable, Academy Award–nominated turn opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and his tragic murder at the age of thirty-seven. Finally, in this riveting new biography filled with exclusive, candid interviews with both Mineo’s closest female and male lovers and never-before-published photographs, Michael Gregg Michaud tells the full story of this remarkable young actor’s life, charting his meteoric rise to fame and turbulent career and private life. One of the hottest stars of the 1950s, Mineo grew up as the son of Sicilian immigrants in a humble Bronx flat. But by age eleven, he appeared on Broadway in Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo, and then as Prince Chulalongkorn in the original Broadway production of The King and I starring Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence. This sultry-eyed, dark-haired male ingénue of sorts appeared on the cover of every major magazine, thousands of star-struck fans attended his premieres, and millions bought his records, which included several top-ten hits. His life offstage was just as exhilarating: full of sports cars, motor boats, famous friends, and some of the most beautiful young actresses in Hollywood. But it was fourteen-year-old Jill Haworth, his costar in Exodus—the film that delivered one of the greatest acting roles of his life and earned him another Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe win—with whom he fell in love and moved to the West Coast. But by the 1960s, a series of professional missteps and an increasingly tumultuous private life reversed his fortunes.  By the late sixties and early seventies, grappling with the repercussions of publicly admitting his homosexuality and struggling to reinvent himself from an aging teen idol, Mineo turned toward increasingly self-destructive behavior. Yet his creative impulses never foundered. He began directing and producing controversial off-Broadway plays that explored social and sexual taboos. He also found personal happiness in a relationship with male actor Courtney Burr. Tragically, on the cusp of turning a new page in his life, Mineo’s life was cut short in a botched robbery.             Revealing a charming, mischievous, creative, and often scandalous side of Mineo few have known before now, Sal Mineo is an intimate, moving biography of a distinctive Hollywood star.


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Sal Mineo is probably most well-known for his unforgettable, Academy Award–nominated turn opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and his tragic murder at the age of thirty-seven. Finally, in this riveting new biography filled with exclusive, candid interviews with both Mineo’s closest female and male lovers and never-before-published photographs, Michael Gregg Michau Sal Mineo is probably most well-known for his unforgettable, Academy Award–nominated turn opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and his tragic murder at the age of thirty-seven. Finally, in this riveting new biography filled with exclusive, candid interviews with both Mineo’s closest female and male lovers and never-before-published photographs, Michael Gregg Michaud tells the full story of this remarkable young actor’s life, charting his meteoric rise to fame and turbulent career and private life. One of the hottest stars of the 1950s, Mineo grew up as the son of Sicilian immigrants in a humble Bronx flat. But by age eleven, he appeared on Broadway in Tennessee Williams’s The Rose Tattoo, and then as Prince Chulalongkorn in the original Broadway production of The King and I starring Yul Brynner and Gertrude Lawrence. This sultry-eyed, dark-haired male ingénue of sorts appeared on the cover of every major magazine, thousands of star-struck fans attended his premieres, and millions bought his records, which included several top-ten hits. His life offstage was just as exhilarating: full of sports cars, motor boats, famous friends, and some of the most beautiful young actresses in Hollywood. But it was fourteen-year-old Jill Haworth, his costar in Exodus—the film that delivered one of the greatest acting roles of his life and earned him another Academy Award nomination and a Golden Globe win—with whom he fell in love and moved to the West Coast. But by the 1960s, a series of professional missteps and an increasingly tumultuous private life reversed his fortunes.  By the late sixties and early seventies, grappling with the repercussions of publicly admitting his homosexuality and struggling to reinvent himself from an aging teen idol, Mineo turned toward increasingly self-destructive behavior. Yet his creative impulses never foundered. He began directing and producing controversial off-Broadway plays that explored social and sexual taboos. He also found personal happiness in a relationship with male actor Courtney Burr. Tragically, on the cusp of turning a new page in his life, Mineo’s life was cut short in a botched robbery.             Revealing a charming, mischievous, creative, and often scandalous side of Mineo few have known before now, Sal Mineo is an intimate, moving biography of a distinctive Hollywood star.

30 review for Sal Mineo: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Scott

    Sal Mineo achieved a measure of stardom portraying sensitive teenager 'Plato' Crawford in the seminal 50's flick Rebel Without a Cause, which starred James Dean and Natalie Wood. The role snagged him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and from there his career went . . . sideways? Michaud's bio on Mineo details the actor's upbringing in a working-class New York City family, the early success as a teen star in a spate of delinquent- and/or music-oriented movies in the late 50's, and finally a Sal Mineo achieved a measure of stardom portraying sensitive teenager 'Plato' Crawford in the seminal 50's flick Rebel Without a Cause, which starred James Dean and Natalie Wood. The role snagged him a nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and from there his career went . . . sideways? Michaud's bio on Mineo details the actor's upbringing in a working-class New York City family, the early success as a teen star in a spate of delinquent- and/or music-oriented movies in the late 50's, and finally a breakthrough as an adult with another Best Supporting nod for his work in Exodus. However, from there Mineo's career (and this book) sort of went on life support. He found difficulty maintaining his status as an A-list actor, usually did not handle / manage his money very well, and had a reckless bisexual love life throughout the 1960's. Only in the early 70's did his life start rebounding - he headlined in some well-received plays, guest-starred as a 'villain of the week' on a number of popular TV crime dramas (Hawaii Five-O, S.W.A.T., Columbo, etc.), and found a good and steady boyfriend in stage actor Courtney Burr. But it all came to a shocking end when Mineo was senselessly and brutally murdered in a robbery gone wrong outside his L.A. apartment in early 1976. Michaud's book was interesting and sometimes overly detailed in certain areas but yet still lacked a certain pizzazz in the narrative to make it truly compelling reading. (Many of Mineo's co-stars or contemporaries have already passed on, so they can't be counted on for anecdotes. But that's not his or their fault.) It was a good-if-standard Hollywood 'rags-to-riches-to almost rags again' bio, though the final chapter ends abruptly and sort of awkwardly, as if the author just ran out of ideas.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kerstin

    Very good book. It follows Sal Mineo’s career and life from the late 40’s when he was a child in Bronx and started acting to when he was in his 20’s having difficoulty getting roles to the end of his life, when profesionally things got better. I like that the author talked to the loves of his life. The one thing I did not like was the way the author portraided his family. The mother was portraided as a stage mother and greedy, so does the siblings. I think there is a difference between being a st Very good book. It follows Sal Mineo’s career and life from the late 40’s when he was a child in Bronx and started acting to when he was in his 20’s having difficoulty getting roles to the end of his life, when profesionally things got better. I like that the author talked to the loves of his life. The one thing I did not like was the way the author portraided his family. The mother was portraided as a stage mother and greedy, so does the siblings. I think there is a difference between being a stage parent and a parent who encourage an interest in theatre If a child is already interested in it. And pherhaps Sal Mineo should have let professional managers taking car of his earnings. But I do not think Mrs Moneo wanted to profit from it. Often When it has been written about Sal Mineo’s life it has been focused whether he was gay or bisexual or the murder. This book is focused of all his life. As to Rebel without a cause, I think there was a romantic crush, since the character Plato was started of love and attention not so much about being gay. That is MY opnion.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia

    Not as interesting as I thought it would be as the author really only used two sources for the most of his information. Unfortunately, Sal gets caught in what seems to be typical of the Hollywood snares: bad management and type casting. His mother tries her best to manage his career early on, but fails. Sal can't seem to break free from teen roles. He tries his hand at the other end of the spectrum, directing. A word for Sal's career would be mediocre. Of course, his various relationships and se Not as interesting as I thought it would be as the author really only used two sources for the most of his information. Unfortunately, Sal gets caught in what seems to be typical of the Hollywood snares: bad management and type casting. His mother tries her best to manage his career early on, but fails. Sal can't seem to break free from teen roles. He tries his hand at the other end of the spectrum, directing. A word for Sal's career would be mediocre. Of course, his various relationships and sexuality are discussed. The book ends with the murder of Sal along with the conviction of the perp. The pictures sprinkled throughout the book lend a scholastic feel, but this just doesn't read well. There are plenty of facts here that you can find anywhere. If you like books about Hollywood stars, you will like this, but it just wasn't for me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I knew little of Mineo's life going into this bio, other than the standard info one can track down on Wikipedia or IMDB. The biographer does a poor job of detailing the aspects of a young man who lived by his own rules and could never really shake his "switchblade kid" persona. It was like reading a book report, padded down with unnecessary info that could've been concisely summarized. However, facts of Mineo's life were fascinating and daunting (he was often typecast; plagued by poor financial I knew little of Mineo's life going into this bio, other than the standard info one can track down on Wikipedia or IMDB. The biographer does a poor job of detailing the aspects of a young man who lived by his own rules and could never really shake his "switchblade kid" persona. It was like reading a book report, padded down with unnecessary info that could've been concisely summarized. However, facts of Mineo's life were fascinating and daunting (he was often typecast; plagued by poor financial decisions; and was quite the man-whore), but many of his ideas for films and theater productions were too ahead of his time. Murdered at the age of 37, Sal's performances and carefree disposition are what set him apart from other young actors of his time.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    *This review is based on a copy of the book I won through Goodreads FirstReads Giveaways.* Sal Mineo...a name that despite his immense talent is still not as well known as that of his Rebel Without a Cause co-star James Dean. Mineo, like Dean, was taken at a far too young age. Written with the aid of interviews with those closest to Sal--including former lovers Jill Haworth and Courtney Burr, Jr. and friends like Michael Anderson, Jr., Eric Williams and Perry Lopez--this book gives a pretty comple *This review is based on a copy of the book I won through Goodreads FirstReads Giveaways.* Sal Mineo...a name that despite his immense talent is still not as well known as that of his Rebel Without a Cause co-star James Dean. Mineo, like Dean, was taken at a far too young age. Written with the aid of interviews with those closest to Sal--including former lovers Jill Haworth and Courtney Burr, Jr. and friends like Michael Anderson, Jr., Eric Williams and Perry Lopez--this book gives a pretty complete picture of Mineo's life from his early beginnings, to all the furor around Rebel, to his later life as he struggled to recapture his fleeting fame. And just when it appeared he was on the cusp of a comeback, he was taken away all too soon in a senseless act of violence. The author does a fine job of showing the rather entangled aspects of Mineo's personal life without the book becoming titillating or salacious. You see a young man struggling with his sexuality in his youth to becoming more comfortable with who he was by the later years of his short life. But what you come away with is that this is a man who despite his talent was insecure (and at times certainly self-destructive), and simply wanted to be loved above all things. The author also does a fantastic job of telling Mineo's story without inflicting his own feelings into the story. What I mean is, he doesn't whitewash anything, nor does him condemn Mineo for anything. He simply lays it all before the reader allowing them to make up their own minds, and let's face it Mineo was not perfect--none of us are--and he wasn't always kind in everything he did. But you get the sense that he did his best, that he'd do anything for those he loved. One of the things I found most interesting was the effects of Sal's family--most notably his rather domineering mother--on the rest of his life. All in all, this is a rather complete look at Sal's life, comprehensive, yet easy to read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Denis

    Mineo is a mysterious, complex character, whose short-lived fame, and rather tumultuous life, make for a fascinating subject. As with many movie stars, his life was quite complicated, and often heartbreaking. There is something poignant about this man, born in the Bronx, who became a teen-idol before he was twenty, and ended up a complete has-been (despite his real talent and tenacious will to work and find projects) before he hit thirty. Michaud has certainly done a lot of research, and his bio Mineo is a mysterious, complex character, whose short-lived fame, and rather tumultuous life, make for a fascinating subject. As with many movie stars, his life was quite complicated, and often heartbreaking. There is something poignant about this man, born in the Bronx, who became a teen-idol before he was twenty, and ended up a complete has-been (despite his real talent and tenacious will to work and find projects) before he hit thirty. Michaud has certainly done a lot of research, and his biography is filled with facts, dates, events that do give us a an idea of what Mineo's life, in and off the limelights, may have been. His portrayal of the young, beautiful, and charismatic actor tries to be objective, but it is also very sympathetic to him, which is understandable: it's hard not to feel for the star, who fought so hard to prove his talent, and who dared live almost openly a gay life when few people dared do it. Yet, as is the case with many bios, something is missing: Michaud rarely takes a step back to analyze his subject and his trajectory , the movies he's done, the relevance of his career, what his failures say about Hollywood, the ambiguities of his sex life, or how emblematic Mineo is of his times. He sticks by the facts, but doesn't venture away from them in a way that would give scope and depth to his book. Thanks to some in-lentgh interviews he's conducted with some of Mineo's closest friends and lovers, his book remains riveting for anyone interested in movies. But it is frustrating at the same time, and one feels that the mystery of Mineo remains intact.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rick Wolff

    Far too detailed to be compelling or riveting reading. At times, this book reads like a narrativized resume; at other times, a review of Hollywood and Broadway history; at others, a rather dry, mundane retelling of vignettes from Sal's life. Sal's story should be gripping, but this author lacks the discipline to make it so. He also lacks a sense of dramatic structure; the story unfolds like a conglomeration of facts, presented with even importance, without contouring. There is a lot of research Far too detailed to be compelling or riveting reading. At times, this book reads like a narrativized resume; at other times, a review of Hollywood and Broadway history; at others, a rather dry, mundane retelling of vignettes from Sal's life. Sal's story should be gripping, but this author lacks the discipline to make it so. He also lacks a sense of dramatic structure; the story unfolds like a conglomeration of facts, presented with even importance, without contouring. There is a lot of research here - I'll give it that. But it seems as if the author threw everything in, whether it merited inclusion or not, and often parades these assembled facts rather unartfully. As a fan of Sal's work, I was rather disappointed with this autobiography, and frustrated that this overly cumbersome telling of Sal's story doesn't do justice to what should be a fascinating subject.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paul Jr.

    4.5 stars (or 8 out of 10). Today, if you say Rebel Without A Cause, chances are the first name that will cross anyone's lips is James Dean. If you're lucky, one might first say Natalie Wood, but without a doubt, it is Dean that everyone remembers. People tend not to remember Sal Mineo's name. But when you mention the character of Plato, people will generally go "Oh, yeah, that kid. He was great." But no one remembers the actor behind the performance. Hopefully, Michael Gregg Michaud's new biogra 4.5 stars (or 8 out of 10). Today, if you say Rebel Without A Cause, chances are the first name that will cross anyone's lips is James Dean. If you're lucky, one might first say Natalie Wood, but without a doubt, it is Dean that everyone remembers. People tend not to remember Sal Mineo's name. But when you mention the character of Plato, people will generally go "Oh, yeah, that kid. He was great." But no one remembers the actor behind the performance. Hopefully, Michael Gregg Michaud's new biography of Mineo (and James Franco's forthcoming bio-pic based upon it) will rectify that situation and put the spotlight back on an outstanding actor who died just as tragically as Dean and Wood, albeit, long after he had fallen from the spotlight. Now, far from perfect, Michaud's book is a first and foremost a loving tribute to Mineo, an amazing actor who was twice nominated for an Academy Award (Rebel Without a Cause and Exodus). Relying on vintage interviews, letters, and news reports, Michaud builds Mineo's early life, depicting a driven young kid from the Bronx who one day discovers acting. Michaud paints out the dynamics of Mineo's family life before his ascent to fame resulting in an almost stereotypical New York-Italian family: tight-knit, loving, poor. But as Mineo begins to experience some success on the stage (and later television), the book focuses primarily of Sal's relationship with his mother: of her initial protectiveness of Sal and his career, to her misguided attempt to make certain that Sal felt no more special than her other kids by spending Sal's money on them as well. It's an interesting dynamic and I have to give Michaud props for doing it well. As the book continues into "Mineo Mania" (after Rebel, fan reaction to Mineo was on a par with the later Beatles phenom), we slowly and subtly see the relationship morph into one which will clearly influence Sal's almost desperate need for control later in life. It would have been easy to paint Mrs. Mineo as a villain, a harpy stage mother who took advantage of her son's fame and finances. But Michaud doesn't do that. He doesn't paint her black or white. He lets her develop. With so much attention paid to Mrs. Mineo, the rest of Sal's family takes a major backseat. Although Michaud tells us how important Sal's father was to him, Mr. Mineo is hardly present in the book...almost a non-character; so it is really difficult to see how Sal's devotion and near reverence of him takes root. Other than occasional references to his brothers Mike (who gets the most attention) and Vic (who gets almost none) and sister, his siblings are likewise non-existent. The world of early Sal is clearly Sal and his mother. Now, whether this was a choice Michaud made to help explain Sal's later life or whether he simply didn't have the material available to flesh out the rest of the family is not clear and--in my opinion--a flaw. Now, one of the earliest criticisms I saw of this book was that the time spent on Sal's relationship with James Dean and the filming of Rebel is a relatively small part of the book. And this is true. Those going into this book expecting salacious details of that time or some implication that Dean and Mineo were lovers will be greatly disheartened. Yes, the Rebel section is fairly minor in the grand scheme of this book. But that's not a flaw here. Rebel was the beginning of Sal's career and I again have to give kudos to Michaud for not making it Rebel heavy to satisfy Dean fans. It is, after all, a biography of Mineo and while pivotal and important in Sal's life, it was just the beginning. And Michaud does this period of Sal's life proud. The time spent of Rebel is done so masterfully, the relationship between Dean and Mineo deftly drawn...as strong and as intensely homoerotic as the relationship between Jim Stark and Plato, their respective characters in the film. The mid-section of the book--where Sal's post-Rebel success propels him and his career forward--is where we first see Mineo struggling with control...the need to take charge of his own life and career. Immediately typecast as as juvie, Sal struggles to break free of that image even as his mother (acting as his manager) keeps selecting such roles for him, and producers can't seem to offer him any roles beyond what he had already played. He is awash in fame and adulation. Girls scream and chase him. His records sell like hot cakes. Yet, the roles he is offered just don't seem to correspond. It's an odd point in his life. Massive success without forward movement and Mineo gets lost in it. It is here where Mineo begins his relationship Jill Haworth, his 14 year old co-star in Exodus, and perhaps the greatest female love of his life. At first lovers (they even became engaged at one point), they would remain friends for the rest of Sal's life, and the later part of the book relies heavily on Haworth's recollections of those days. After losing the Oscar for Exodus, we see Mineo once again typecast, albeit in a different type. One would think the second Oscar nomination would have led to more opportunities, but Hollywood once again could not see him any other way. This is part testament to Mineo's talent and the curse of it. The descent of Sal's star is contrasted with the rising of Haworth's, who would go on to create the role of Sally Bowles in the Broadway production of Cabaret. There was clearly great love between the two, but the relationship between Mineo and Haworth is a complex one. In their meeting is perhaps the first sight of how Mineo begins to rely upon sex as a means of control and manipulation. Mineo begins to realize that his looks and his magnetism give him a measure of control in his personal life that he is so missing in his professional one. In that respect, Mineo uses Haworth as both beard and pawn. But, to Michaud's credit, you also never doubt his honest love for her. As Mineo's star falls even harder, we see him valiantly trying to create opportunities for himself. Yet, each attempt seems to fall apart in his hands, and we find him focusing on others, trying to help create new stars. But there is a darkness behind it, Mineo's use of sex almost disturbing and possessive. And, in fact, it is when Mineo fixates on a young Bobby Sherman that his and Haworth's relationship hits a rough patch that will take years to repair. The later part of the book also relies heavily on the recollections of the male love-of-his-life, Courtney Burr. Through Burr's eyes (and, through the eyes of Haworth with whom Mineo ultimately reconciled), we learn of the final years of Sal's life and his valiant efforts to rebuild something of a career for himself. It is also here that we get to see some of the less attractive sides of people who orbited the later years of Sal's life. Roddy McDowell comes off particularly heinous and Bobby Sherman fares no better. Though not as badly portrayed as the former two, Don Johnson comes off as a sycophantic opportunist. (David Cassidy, on the other hand, comes off extremely well). In this section of the book, it is Burr who seems to ground Mineo and who becomes not only his lover, but a sort of protector. His influence is a good one. But, on the cusp of resurrecting his career and embarking on an exciting new life with Burr, Mineo is cut down tragically outside of his apartment in West Hollywood. In the end, this biography is fascinating. Michaud shows us all sides of Mineo, the good and the petty and ugly side. But because he makes us love Sal in the beginning of the book, we tend to be more forgiving of him by the time we face the not-so-attractive side of him. Still, there are a few things it is hard to overlook about the man, in particular his apparent predilection for underage lovers. But even in that we see a man desperately searching for control and for the childhood he never seemed to have had. Michaud doesn't make us forgive him of that, but he does let us understand it a little bit. My major qualm with the book is that it relies so heavily on the recollections of Haworth and Burr, two people who clearly loved him deeply. In fact, no one, it seems, didn't like Sal. And that, frankly, calls into question the objectivity of the author. It comes off a bit one-sided. It would have been nice to have heard from people who didn't recall Mineo so fondly. And this also calls into question the biting remarks about McDowell, Johnson and Sherman. Granted, McDowell is gone and could not participate (even if he would have wanted to, which is doubtful given he remained closeted until the day he died), but Sherman and Johnson are still around. It would have been interesting to have heard their perspectives and, frankly, it would have been nice to give them a little rebuttal time given their portrayals in the book. Of course, the author might have pursued interviews, but this can't be known for certain. Still, the bio is incredibly entertaining. Michaud will make you fall in love with Mineo, painting a vivid portrait of fascinating man. And, perhaps more importantly, he will help to shine the light on an incredibly talented, powerful actor who is largely forgotten...but shouldn't be.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Neil Mudde

    Having see Sal Mineo in some of the movies, I was somewhat familiar with his body of work in movies, but never really knew too much about his personal life. Sal's background is Italian, his parents come to the US as a young couple and eventually settle in the Bronx, Sal is discovered as he is a very beautiful child,after some involvement in gang type behaviour by storing stolen goods he is given the opportunity to redeem himself. The family seems to be a close knit family, at least in the early y Having see Sal Mineo in some of the movies, I was somewhat familiar with his body of work in movies, but never really knew too much about his personal life. Sal's background is Italian, his parents come to the US as a young couple and eventually settle in the Bronx, Sal is discovered as he is a very beautiful child,after some involvement in gang type behaviour by storing stolen goods he is given the opportunity to redeem himself. The family seems to be a close knit family, at least in the early years, and as Sal becomes more successful and makes more money Momma takes over the management of his life, she decides what contracts he gets involved in, Sal simply follows her decisions, which I believe in hindsight are detrimental to his career toward's the end. Sal at times makes thousands of dollars only to be paid $20.00 per week out of this. Momma rules the household, Poppa has little to say, Poppa starts a casket company which is floundering in the beginning, so Sal;s earning go into the company, at the height of Sal'd earning power Momma decides they need to live in a larger house, and she buys a mansion, and lo and behold all relatives come out of the woodwork and move in, now this may sound like a caring Italian family it turns out not being the case at all. Momma as I said early has the final say over what work Sal acccepts, she can barely speak English, Sal learns nothing about how to handle money, this too factors in to the dreary end as he grows older. It is a story about a beautiful young man who is given the opportunity work in movies, Momma did not believe in the then popular "stars system" the major studios used hence losing out on some great movie opportunities. Sal gains popularity by being in the movie "Rebel without a cause" mainly due to the then most popular James Dean, they apparently have some interactions which may be construed as sexual, certainly for that era, were gay men simply were not to be known about, they guarded this secret with their lives, i.e. Rock Hudson, Liberace, etc, etc, I could not help but sense that Michaud's writing style resembled the movie "rags" of those days, lots of innuendo and talk about other real famous movies star, he told me very little about Sal Mineo, what did he think, how did he feel, no doubt the fact that he started in movies early in his life this contributed to his lack of education, at least when being on the set of major movie companies, he had to attend certain amounts of hours in school, which he did not like, he had little guidance as to how to prepare for the day that when he grew older and lose his popularity what trade to fall back on, he dabbled in singing, and being of that age, I was totally surprised as I do not recall ever hearing a song sung by Sal, now at least not knowingly, apparantly he did have some success in this field, but no major hits. He gets the role of Gene Krupa in that titled film, Sal is adapt at drums, and watching him play the drums I was impressed although I am no lover of drums, but for the movie he was good, although one cannot help and sense this boy is a very pretty boy,his looks distracted me from seeing him act, probably his role as Dove in "Exodus" is one of the more outstanding roles, he is paired up with Jill, who is sweet and pretty, that they are a sweet and pretty young couple, it appears that even though Jill was underage Sal and her had sex unbeknowst (so they say) to Preminger who directed the move, Exodus was a powerful story in its time, telling us about Isreal and setting the scene for good Israel, bad Arabs, etc which I will not go into. I you tubed a few interviews Sal and Jill had, they certainly come accross as children with little knowledge about the real politifcal background of the situation, althoughSal was given awards by Jewish orginization with very littel understanding as to what they were all about. His sexuality is very unclear throughout the book, was he gay?, I think if it was not for the fact that he "liked" James Dean and was encouraged to use that feeling for Dean in some of the scenes of Rebel that made it more realistic, but meanwhile Sal loves his hetero sex, and according to Maude has it rather frquently, and seems not to be able to be a one woman man, at one point Jill discovers him in bed, with one of his paramours, stomps out of there and goes back to her Momma, Sal then decides accroding to Maude to love men, There is no sens of time in which the story plays itself out. Stonewall happened, yet there is no mention of this Sal did not openly flaunt his gayness, well at least according to Michaud, but since Hollywood Hedda Hopper etc certainly knew what was going on in the lives of the stars, it was not talked about. At one point he decides Momma's got to go, and takes over or tries to manage his own financial affairs, he blows money like there is no tomorrow, he has several managers that seem to be constantly looking for moneys he has made on some of his projects. Reading the story I could not help but feel very sad, for a life that had so many great opportunities to be squandered by him screwing everything in site, not a care in the world for tomorrow, had he put a few bucks away the end of his life may have been different. I know he had been murdered, and got to a point in the book, that I felt enough of this crap already revivals of this, half assed attempts at reopening old shows, working and sleeping with Courtney whose only contribution (besides being a sexual partner) was to stop other freeloaders from having Sal pay for their meals in swanky restaurants Sal comes across as an un-educated rather no mind of his own, except for being pleased what he sees in the mirror, not realizing that outward beauty does not last forever, in any case I felt like bring on the murder, I was amazed that the murder was caused by someone trying to rob him, which is rather pathetic, for at that point Sal lived on borrowed money having blown all his own money, friends would sometimes pay his rent so sad, in any case he gets stabbed by some character for money, and dies, I always thought it was some sexual thing, perhaps some S & M scene, so rather disappointed how it actually happened, Off course the family whith whom he had disasociated himself for years, were right on his doorstep, they went through his personal papers, created a fire in the bathtub, and destroyed all his personal papers to make sure ( so they thought) no one would learn about his personal, and especially his sexual life. His body was flown back to N.Y. were he was buried with his father..Imagine a few weeks later Momma comes with a bill for his burial etc etc to be re-imbursed, I cannot imagine the audacity of this woman,her cash cow had long gone, but here is her attempt to squeeze a few more pennies out of her deceased son. The Author goes on infinitum about the killer, the search for, the circumstances, the verdict, like at that point I felt like "who cares" Over all I felt very sorry and extremely sad for a wasted life? The Author gave us very little about Sal himself, perhaps because Sal had never written too much, or talked about himself, it simply seemed like a story based on observations and using a lot of major star's name, Yul Brynner, Paul Newman, Natalie Wood, the list goes on, it talks about Sal working with them they say very little about Sal. Yul stuck with Sal the longest and no doubt in a community like Hollywood, he must have been aware of some of Sal.s personal interaction how unfortunate he was not allowed, or we did not get any comments from him about Sal. The author writes about some of the wellknown actors that are no doubt still alive today, and their sexual laisons with Sa. I need to stop at one point and will simply state, that hey Sal, you had a hell of a ride, and perhaps you did it your way, now rest in peace!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Terri

    Highly interesting read. I love biographies, especially ones on people that I find fascinating for one reason or another. I've been a Sal Mineo fan for many years, but have never found much information on him or his career. This book is it. Michaud has done a phenomenal job at researching his work here. As for the book itself, this is the story of an extremely talented, but very complex individual. Mineo's talents came to light in his childhood years and he (with the urging of his mother) embark Highly interesting read. I love biographies, especially ones on people that I find fascinating for one reason or another. I've been a Sal Mineo fan for many years, but have never found much information on him or his career. This book is it. Michaud has done a phenomenal job at researching his work here. As for the book itself, this is the story of an extremely talented, but very complex individual. Mineo's talents came to light in his childhood years and he (with the urging of his mother) embarked on what would become a very successful career on stage and screen. But unfortunately, he lacked the proper guidance and ability to transform to a successful adult career. He fell victim to people that, for lack of a better description, used and abused their authority over his career and he ended up for the better part of his entire life in debt and in a state of personal and emotional conflict. You will witness his family's abuse of his money and fame. Mineo's unbridled urge to spend, without reservation, the riches he briefly gained in his youth. But at the age of 21 and of the frame of mind of being disillusioned with his family's grip on his career, he chose to break from them all and attempt to manage what was left of his success, unfortunately to little avail. Add to all this the fact that as he aged, he became increasingly aware of his sexual identity and his problems grappling with how this was affecting him personally and with his career. Reading this book, you will witness Mineo's passion, his despair, his joys and his very dark side. There are instances that may leave you cringing on how he chose to dominate others for instant gratification. There are a couple of instances in which his conquests were obviously well below the age of consent. Some people may consider Mineo a pedophile by today's standards. This is a very sad story of a very troubled and spent individual who also happened to be one of the greatest talents of our times. It sounds like a book some may find a turn off, but this is a truly riveting story. I found it compelling and heart wrenching. I laughed, I cried, my jaw dropped.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Charisse

    Does Michael Gregg Michaud moonlight as a reporter for gossip rags? Is he a frequent contributer to The Daily Mail? Honestly, I wouldn‘t be surprised if the answer was yes. The beginning of the novel, before the „gossip“ and salacious tales take the front seat, I was genuinely enjoying hearing about Sal‘s life. And then came Jill Haworth and Michael Anderson, who both seemed more than willing (eager, almost) to spill every single detail about their lives with Sal, ignoring that this is a man lon Does Michael Gregg Michaud moonlight as a reporter for gossip rags? Is he a frequent contributer to The Daily Mail? Honestly, I wouldn‘t be surprised if the answer was yes. The beginning of the novel, before the „gossip“ and salacious tales take the front seat, I was genuinely enjoying hearing about Sal‘s life. And then came Jill Haworth and Michael Anderson, who both seemed more than willing (eager, almost) to spill every single detail about their lives with Sal, ignoring that this is a man long dead and unable to counter any of it. I‘m no shrinking violet (I read about outlaws and gangsters more than anything) but the idea of the people closest to someone having zero qualms about dishing the dirt on someone taken so soon from this world is...uncomfortable and, above all, disrespectful. Like...yikes, my dude.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jimmy

    Others here have given succinct reviews of this book but I disagree with those who thought Michaud was too matter-of-fact with listing the timeline of Sal Mineo's life without giving a more philosophical or psychological outlook of the whole thing. I suspect the author couldn't have done that, probably finding Mineo still to be a greatly mysterious subject, so.....why make up things ? Anyway, it's an easy-to-read, enjoyable book, even the minor tidbits: what a nice man Yul Brynner was; what a je Others here have given succinct reviews of this book but I disagree with those who thought Michaud was too matter-of-fact with listing the timeline of Sal Mineo's life without giving a more philosophical or psychological outlook of the whole thing. I suspect the author couldn't have done that, probably finding Mineo still to be a greatly mysterious subject, so.....why make up things ? Anyway, it's an easy-to-read, enjoyable book, even the minor tidbits: what a nice man Yul Brynner was; what a jerk Roddy McDowall could be; and Mineo smoking pot with Jon Provost-Timmy from Lassie (the jokes just write themselves). It's a story that takes you far beyond his Plato character gazing adoringly at James Dean. For those intrigued by MIneo who want more, I recommend reading this 1972 interview http://www.salmineo.com/newstand/inte... and watching this 1975 interview https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjilT...

  13. 4 out of 5

    Connie

    I mostly remember Sal Mineo from Rebel Without a Cause and Exodus. He however never managed to make the transition to an adult movie actor. Through the 60s and early 70s he did a lot of Television and it was quite good. There were also a few plays with quite good reviews. Sal was murdered in 1976. He was working on a play and hoping to make a success of it. This book kept my interest and I enjoyed reading it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    I've always been fascinated with Sal Mineo, but haven't read a great many books about him. This bio read like I was chatting with his friends. There was an ease to it that forced the reader to get to know the subject in a way that a number of bios don't. I always love learning new information about someone I thought I knew-good bad or indifferent. Sal would have been 80 this year and his indelible mark on the entertainment and pop culture landscape is still evident. A great read! I've always been fascinated with Sal Mineo, but haven't read a great many books about him. This bio read like I was chatting with his friends. There was an ease to it that forced the reader to get to know the subject in a way that a number of bios don't. I always love learning new information about someone I thought I knew-good bad or indifferent. Sal would have been 80 this year and his indelible mark on the entertainment and pop culture landscape is still evident. A great read!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stephen King

    A sad, intimate look into the life and tragic death of a screen legend, one that has always intrigued me. Michaud's book is a fascinating look into Mineo's history, career and private life. A sad, intimate look into the life and tragic death of a screen legend, one that has always intrigued me. Michaud's book is a fascinating look into Mineo's history, career and private life.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deborah Lane

    Straightforward rendition of Salad Mineos life, background and untimely death.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Interesting life, but the way it was written was very dry.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sy Snootles

    From my blog: http://garbolaughs.wordpress.com/2011... I had been anticipating Michaud’s book for several months prior to its release – half anticipating, and half dreading. You see, despite what Michaud likes to claim in interviews, this isn’t the first seemingly-legitimate biography of Sal Mineo to hit the shelves. I have treasured my copy of Sal Mineo: His Life, Murder, and Mystery by H. Paul Jeffers (2002, Running Press) ever since I bought it; in fact, I’ve read and referred to it so many ti From my blog: http://garbolaughs.wordpress.com/2011... I had been anticipating Michaud’s book for several months prior to its release – half anticipating, and half dreading. You see, despite what Michaud likes to claim in interviews, this isn’t the first seemingly-legitimate biography of Sal Mineo to hit the shelves. I have treasured my copy of Sal Mineo: His Life, Murder, and Mystery by H. Paul Jeffers (2002, Running Press) ever since I bought it; in fact, I’ve read and referred to it so many times there are actually pages falling out. I was apprehensive about having a new account of Sal’s life, partially because I felt like everything I knew about Sal came from that first book. However, Jeffers’ biography is far from a literary masterpiece; written by someone who knew Sal on a physical, if not intimate, level, much of it reads like hilarious Mary Sue fanfiction (“basking in the sight of his unruly black hair, the bedroom eyes, imperfect nose, muscled arms and torso, narrow hips, and bewitching smile”), and Jeffers relies a little too much on dubious Hollywood sources like Boze Hadleigh (although Michaud is guilty of this too). As the release of Michaud’s book grew closer, my apprehension turned to giddy eagerness. I bought the book the day it came out and finished it the day after. What I found in Michaud’s Sal Mineo is a serious, well-written, thoroughly-researched account of Mineo’s life that even I, who thought I knew everything about the subject, gleaned a lot of surprising new information from. The book contains a deftly-woven mix of facts and personal anecdotes derived from contemporary articles and interviews with the actor, as well as the accounts of Sal’s close personal friends and acquaintances whom Michaud took the time to locate and endear himself to. Best of all, it is not at all derivative of any previous work. Rather than expound upon or contradict Jeffers’ biography, Michaud instead presents us with an entirely new perspective through his use of previously-unpublished information and all-new anecdotes. Jeffers’ work is like the pulpy “unauthorized” paperback account; Michaud’s is a serious and dignified examination of the all-too-brief life of Sal Mineo and the people he loved. The two books compliment each other nicely. What’s especially remarkable about Michaud’s book is the unprecedented access he was granted to the recollections of two of Sal’s closest companions, who here collaborate for the first time with a Mineo biographer. Jill Haworth (who tragically passed away just a week ago) was the female love of Sal’s life from 1960 to 1964; Courtney Burr III was the male love of his life from 1970 until Sal’s death in 1976. It cannot be overstated how valuable the contributions of these two people were to this work, especially given that both of them have been very reluctant in the past to speak on the subject of Sal Mineo and incredibly wary of anyone who asked. While this does lend a loving, personal quality to the book, it also has its negatives. Later chapters become tedious as each movement of both Sal and Courtney Burr are recounted. Furthermore, while Michaud does a marvelous job of piecing together Sal’s life before he knew Jill Haworth, the book ends up very heavily biased against Sal’s family. Perhaps this was Michaud’s revenge against the Mineo clan for not answering his calls (assuming he made an attempt to contact them), or his reward to Burr for his cooperation. While I understand that the religious beliefs of the Mineo family caused them to disapprove strongly of Sal’s later life and his relationship with Burr, that’s their prerogative and their right, and I don’t feel it was fair or particularly professional of Michaud to condemn them for it. Sal’s sister Sarina and brother Victor have spoken lovingly of their brother in previous biographical pieces on Sal, and his niece Samantha (who never knew her uncle) has voluntarily spoken on behalf of the family in the past. Why were these people not consulted for the special point of view they could have offered? It left me feeling as though the book was missing an important chunk of information, and the nasty insinuations Michaud makes about Mineo’s mother Josephine at the very end left me with a sour taste in my mouth. Overall Michaud’s Sal Mineo is a rich and engaging look at a brilliant artist and sensitive soul who was taken from this earth much too soon. Any nit-picky gripes held by die-hard fans (of which, let’s admit, there are few) are far outweighed by the wealth of knowledge and insight into Mineo’s life and work Michaud has provided us, with the invaluable contributions of Haworth and Burr. No matter my personal qualms with some of his journalistic choices, I am grateful to Michael Michaud for giving this overlooked actor the serious biographical treatment he has so long deserved.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Steve Carter

    Just finished Michael Gregg Michaud's biography of Sal Mineo. I have long been a fan of the beautiful young Bronx born movie star and book tells his story in detail while still feeling like a straightforward brisk read. Michaud is a good storyteller. It is very much a sort of storybook shoebox story with young Sal being recruited while playing on the street by a man who ran a showbiz wannabe school business. It could have been that the only one to benefit from Sal’s enrollment was the talent sch Just finished Michael Gregg Michaud's biography of Sal Mineo. I have long been a fan of the beautiful young Bronx born movie star and book tells his story in detail while still feeling like a straightforward brisk read. Michaud is a good storyteller. It is very much a sort of storybook shoebox story with young Sal being recruited while playing on the street by a man who ran a showbiz wannabe school business. It could have been that the only one to benefit from Sal’s enrollment was the talent school business, but this time the child reached, rather quickly, the upper strata of what the business has to offer. Here we had a young actor of not only beauty, charm, but the skill to present the depth of his emotions in theatrical and moving picture performances. This we all know who have seen him in Rebel Without a Cause, one of the most significant, and, at least for teen culture, important movies of the 1950s. This was more than another movie acting job, it was a training lab for, under the guidance of radical director Nicholas Ray, an unusual method of working compared to the common treadmill of the movie industry. This included sessions of improv in character with the director and his three young charismatic stars where they all smoked pot while Ray also drank heavily which was one of his characteristics. The result being a real connection among the three that advanced the emotional impact of their scenes on screen. Ray also facilitated a relationship between the 16 year old Mineo and his older co-star James Dean that took their characters beyond Mineo’s Plato looking for a father figure, into the areas of love that included to hint of physical attraction, a bold presentation at the time of only recent opening of commercial movie content to more mature, adult human themes. If Sal was given the notion that this was what work in the movies was always going to be like, it was a false one and one never to be repeated in his 20 plus years of motion picture work in TV and theatrical films. It a way this was a sort of peak and perhaps the story of Sal Mineo is of an actor who peaked too soon.Yes, he had a few other good roles and notable performances but artistically it was kind of downhill after that in motion pictures. And being attached to something so closely associated with the 1950s so young made him a has been before his time. Indulging in reverie of what might have been, Dennis Hopper was also a player in Rebel Without a Cause and ended up peaking much later, allowing him to have a very successful career as director and actor. So much of the last third of the book is devoted to Sal relentlessly striving to the direct a movie, to becoming a successful movie director, a dream, finally never fulfilled. I don’t know why or how he totally missed out on the indie wave of the early 1970s, but he did, the Hopper, Mazursky, Rafelson type product where seemingly he would have felt much more at home. After Rebel, Mineo gets quite caught up in the star making machinery behind the popular song vocal recording with a few hit records as a singer. This included being mobbed by teen fans, the whole bit. it is a very odd chapter in his life story and one the significance of which was probably less than zero, that is to say that it all probably did more damage to his career as a sustainable serious movie actor than add anything other than going through a lot of meaningless commercial entertainment motions. He was never really interested in being a pop singer. Mismanaged at the outset by his mother and used by his family he ends up pretty much broke during the last 10 years of his short life. He is constantly trying to get something going, a film production that he can direct, but none of that happened. Broke, he keeps striving with a positive carefree attitude through it all. He does get to enjoy a free open-relationship bisexual lifestyle with an intimate partner, and creates a sensation on-stage directing and starring in a version of the prison drama Fortune in Men’s Eyes. But his acting was mostly confined to stuff for money, guest shots is various TV series episodes and a low point, the dinner-theater circuit. Being an early semi-out bisexual revolutionary didn’t help the situation in conservative, closeted Hollywood. But really, what else does the commercial showbiz world have to offer but variations on the same old junk entertainment while teasing hope of something significant just around the corner? The book clearly illustrates how fame does not always equal sustainable wealth, but can be a life of struggle to make ends meet while keeping up appearances. Michael Gregg Michaud's Sal Mineo is a good read, it feels true and is an honor to the memory of a fine young serious actor and beautiful immortal movie star.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Gerry Burnie

    Gerry B's Book Reviews - http://www.gerrycan.wordpress.com When I first came upon the title “Sal Mineo: A Biography” by Michael Gregg Michaud [Crown Archetype, 2010], I knew it was something I had to read. You see, in 1965 I spent an intimate evening with Sal Mineo in Toronto, and although this time was brief I can attest to some of the characteristics Michaud writes about; certainly Mineo’s disarming charm, his impetuousness, and his passion for life at whatever he happened to be doing at the ti Gerry B's Book Reviews - http://www.gerrycan.wordpress.com When I first came upon the title “Sal Mineo: A Biography” by Michael Gregg Michaud [Crown Archetype, 2010], I knew it was something I had to read. You see, in 1965 I spent an intimate evening with Sal Mineo in Toronto, and although this time was brief I can attest to some of the characteristics Michaud writes about; certainly Mineo’s disarming charm, his impetuousness, and his passion for life at whatever he happened to be doing at the time. Sal Mineo’s impoverished childhood in the Bronx is a testament to several things: i.e. if you stay true to your dreams they will come true (in some measure), and anything worthwhile is worth working for. Mineo did against formidable odds. Along the way luck also played a role when he was cast with Yul Brenner in “The King and I,” and Brenner became his inspiration as well as his mentor. Eventually Hollywood beckoned, and on the basis of his accomplishments, youthful good looks and luck, at the tender age of fifteen he was cast in a supporting role opposite the (now) legendary James Dean in “Rebel Without a Cause.” The female lead in this cinematic classic was Natalie Wood, and it is particularly interesting to note that all three of these individuals met an untimely and tragic end.[1] Mineo idolized Dean, who was known to be bi-sexual, and for the first time Sal began to realize how love between men could arise. Nothing ever transpired between these two, however, and eventually Dean’s brilliant career and unorthodox lifestyle was cut short by a tragic car accident—September 30, 1955. In the Halcyon days of his career, Mineo was managed by his well-intentioned but domineering mother—the quintessential stage mother—who spent his considerable income faster than he could earn it. Moreover, lacking the business acumen to realize this, and being a bit of a spendthrift himself, the plot was set for a financial crises. Also contributing to this downturn was Mineo’s inability to make the transition from a teen idol to more mature roles. Ironically, it was his baby face and stereotype casting as a juvenile delinquent—the very characteristics that had made him a famous—that worked against him in the eyes of the public. Consequently, he joined the ranks of childhood stars whose careers were short lived. Until this stage his sexual orientation had been strictly heterosexual, particularly with a British starlet by the name of Jill Haworth. That was until he met Bobby Sherman; a virtual unknown until Mineo used his influence to launch Sherman’s singing career in the 1960s. Following his fling with Sherman, the floodgates seemed to open to a variety of attractive, young men who ended up in Mineo’s bed—some with familiar names from the era, i.e. Jay North (Dennis the Menace), David Cassidy, and Jon Provost (Timmy of Lassie fame). Nevertheless, when he met a handsome actor by the name of Courtney Burr, he finally formed a love that lasted until Mineo’s death in 1976. Not surprisingly rumours of this began to circulate, and since Hollywood’s attitude about sex was oddly (and not just a little hypocritically) guarded, Sal lived his private life under the radar for fear and professional recriminations. “Sal knew that outing himself, declaring his sexuality, would destroy what little was left of his career. Though Sal never publicly came out in a conventional manner, there was a subliminal coming-out that began years before. He wanted his lifestyle and his choices to be accepted. He wanted a normalcy and legitimacy in his life.” Not an unreasonable wish in a town where almost anything goes, sexually, and sensuality is a packaged product. *** This exhaustive biography is not only a tribute to Sal Mineo, a talented and misunderstood individual who lived life to the fullest—no matter what he did—it is also a tribute to the author’s unrelenting dedication. For example, the writing of “Sal Mineo: A biography” took ten years and three-years of research to complete. Moreover, numerous interviews were conducted, most particularly with Jill Haworth and Courtney Burr, to give it a personal insight beyond the written record. Bravo! Full of details and previously undisclosed anecdotes, the biography captures a career of ups and downs and a private life of sexual impulses. Highly recommended. Five stars.

  21. 5 out of 5

    F.C. Schaefer

    I am a life long movie buff and a real fan of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, a film every bit as influential as CITIZEN KANE. So I didn't want to pass up a chance to read a bio of Sal Mineo, whose performance as the troubled teen, Plato, in REBEL is iconic. Along with his REBEL co-stars James Dean and Natalie Wood, Mineo played a prominent part in the creation the post war youth culture that has become such a part of the American fabric. Michael Gregg Michaud's bio does a very good job telling Mineo's ty I am a life long movie buff and a real fan of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, a film every bit as influential as CITIZEN KANE. So I didn't want to pass up a chance to read a bio of Sal Mineo, whose performance as the troubled teen, Plato, in REBEL is iconic. Along with his REBEL co-stars James Dean and Natalie Wood, Mineo played a prominent part in the creation the post war youth culture that has become such a part of the American fabric. Michael Gregg Michaud's bio does a very good job telling Mineo's typically American story: an Italian kid from The Bronx whose mother put him in dancing school to keep him from falling in with street gangs. This put Mineo on a path that eventually led to a part in the Broadway musical production of THE KING AND I with Yul Brynner, which then led to Hollywood and the big break with a role in REBEL. Mineo would go on other movie roles, most often as a juvenile delinquent, and a short lived, but surprisingly successful, singing career as a teen idol. But despite two Academy Award nominations, one for REBEL (for which he really should have won) and the other for EXODUS, his career waned as the '60's wore on, good movie roles dried up and the only steady work Mineo could get was in episodic television. It's a familiar trajectory for many talented actors who hit it big while young, but never find the one great part that would have have guaranteed them adult stardom. I always thought it was a shame he wasn't considered for the lead in WEST SIDE STORY, he certainly had the musical background for the part. The second half of Michaud's well researched book could be considered the story of a has been, only Sal Mineo never saw himself as one, he kept on working and looking for new challenges after freeing himself from the control of his family, which had taken full advantage of his early monetary success while still a minor. One of the big appeals of this book to some is the depiction of Sal Mineo's private life and bisexual exploits. Michaud talked extensively with Jill Haworth and Courtney Burr, the two great loves of his life and they paint a picture of an essentially nice, if sometimes volatile, man who might not have always exhibited the best judgement-he spent many years trying to interest the studios and investors in productions with extremely limited commercial appeal. He really wanted the part of Michael in THE GODFATHER, but they went with an unknown like Al Pacino, but Mineo benefited in an indirect way in the mid 70's when every cop show on prime time needed swarthy actors to play in shows featuring Mafia characters. In the later part of his career, Mineo wanted to direct on the stage and his choice of material, which often included nudity and homosexual relationships caused whispers about his life style and definitely lost him work on TV. His life was cut short by a brutal murder in 1976, denying Mineo the opportunity to have a great career third act like his REBEL co-star, Dennis Hopper. It does say something well about Mineo that unlike many other performers who hit it big early, he apparently never fell victim to drug and alcohol addiction. Michaud's book is a must for those who enjoy a behind the scenes look at Hollywood, although I would have liked a little more historical context on how the culture went from the squeaky clean 50's to the anything goes 60's in so short a time. A lot of names are dropped in this book (Bobby Sherman, Jon Provost, Jay North), with some surprising, though unverifiable, revelations. All three leads in REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE came to violent ends, it gives the movie a very poignant feel when watching it now; read Michael Gregg Michaud's SAL MINEO and learn the story of one of them; he does not deserve to be forgotten.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Sal Mineo was raised in a family who struggled to make ends meet. His father owned a casket factory in the Bronx, and his mother managed Sal’s early television and stage career. Sal appeared in a number of TV spots and big stage productions, including The King and I, staring Yul Brynner, before becoming one of the hottest teen stars of the fifties. His role opposite James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause made Sal into a teenaged heartthrob. Other notable movie roles were in Giant, The Gene Krupa St Sal Mineo was raised in a family who struggled to make ends meet. His father owned a casket factory in the Bronx, and his mother managed Sal’s early television and stage career. Sal appeared in a number of TV spots and big stage productions, including The King and I, staring Yul Brynner, before becoming one of the hottest teen stars of the fifties. His role opposite James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause made Sal into a teenaged heartthrob. Other notable movie roles were in Giant, The Gene Krupa Story, and Exodus. While still a teen, Sal was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Rebel and Exodus). In Rebel, Sal’s character, Plato, was the first gay character to ever be shown in a Hollywood film. Many young gay guys, myself included, didn’t even understand what the movie was trying to show with that role, but we connected with it in ways no other movie role had ever done. And of course, we fell in love with Sal. It made Sal a national sensation. But when Sal grew into his twenties, and was no longer suitable for teen roles, his career began a long, downhill slide. Many other child stars have had difficulty making the transition to adult roles, but Sal had two other career setbacks to overcome: 1) his mother, as manager, had spent all his money supporting his family, leaving him virtually penniless; 2) He was gay, and rumors of his private affairs began circulating around Hollywood and Broadway, and that was the kiss of death for this remarkably talented actor. Michaud does an excellent job of presenting Sal Mineo’s rise to stardom, his mother’s mismanagement of his career, and the wild life he unsuccessfully tried to keep under wraps. The book is extremely well written and paced, while still managing to include a great deal of detail of the actors life and untimely death. The book goes into excellent detail regarding Sal’s movies and the major television roles, as well as Sal’s failed attempts at producing/directing. It also gives the dirt on Sal’s private life, with accounts from several of his ex-lovers. Movie buffs will certainly enjoy this meticulous look into Sal Mineo’s highs and lows, his dreams and ghosts, but this book can be enjoyed by everyone, because it is not merely a presentation of Sal’s life, but also a peek into that elusive thing we call The Entertainment Business. I thought it was brilliant, with something noteworthy on every page.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I found that this biography struck a good balance between the professional and personal life of Sal Mineo. I have noticed that other reviewers have mentioned that it would have been more interesting to depict the "daily grind" on the set of his movies, but I feel that would have added very little to the biography as a whole. In fact, I think you can get a good feel for most of his performances by this book. I found it interesting that Sal Mineo never managed to be financially secure, even when h I found that this biography struck a good balance between the professional and personal life of Sal Mineo. I have noticed that other reviewers have mentioned that it would have been more interesting to depict the "daily grind" on the set of his movies, but I feel that would have added very little to the biography as a whole. In fact, I think you can get a good feel for most of his performances by this book. I found it interesting that Sal Mineo never managed to be financially secure, even when he was at the height of fame. Initially, this was due to the naïveté and / or entitlement of his family. This led to a lack of experience in handling his finances when he became independent. This question comes to mind at various points in the biography, but specifically for me at the end of the novel when his financial vulnerabilities leave him physically unprotected. Would it have been better to spend his days securely behind the walls of a mansion, or would he have maintained a bohemian lifestyle regardless of his finances? Despite this and other unanswerable questions, the reader is drawn into the experiences of the actor from his discovery on the street with his sister. He matures, battles typecasting, defines his own sexuality, comes to terms with the need to be type-casted and even appears on celebrity game shows when he needs the money. His artistic focus on roles that would still be considered edgy today reflected a natural desire to be on the vanguard. I would say that Sal Mineo was true to the visionary artist, director and producer that he wanted to be. Unfortunately, he was roped in by many other factors. Even when acting for cash, doing dinner theaters and guest star gigs on TV shows, Sal appears to have been fully dedicated to giving 100% to his craft. Michael Gregg Michaud does an excellent job capturing the times of the actor and the pop culture of the 50s, 60s and 70s. For example, the differences between 1970s Hollywood vs. Broadway are also informative. Sal Mineo found it easier to get work in California while his partner could only find work in NYC. This was partly due to Hollywood's silent disapproval of his relationship with Sal Mineo.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    I was fascinated to find out that Sal Mineo tried to option William Maxwell's The Folded Leaf as a film, and while in England trying to put together a film treatment for a pulp novel about hustlers, tried to get Edna O'Brien for the screenplay. Through their representatives, both Maxwell and O'Brien declined Mineo. I wanted to like this book more, as I've long been intrigued by Sal Mineo as a later day glbtq film icon and of his time screen idol that sunk into tragic mediocrity. This was forced I was fascinated to find out that Sal Mineo tried to option William Maxwell's The Folded Leaf as a film, and while in England trying to put together a film treatment for a pulp novel about hustlers, tried to get Edna O'Brien for the screenplay. Through their representatives, both Maxwell and O'Brien declined Mineo. I wanted to like this book more, as I've long been intrigued by Sal Mineo as a later day glbtq film icon and of his time screen idol that sunk into tragic mediocrity. This was forced by Hollywood typecasting/racism, financial incompetence, and Mineo's unwillingness to compromise his sexuality in certain aspects, but he had an unending drive to rise again and make what he saw as art. At varying times the biography was lacking the psychological theorizing depth that made Bosworth's Montgomery Clift great. Much of Mineo's earlier years is a rote listing of his life and film making. Only when Jill Haworth and then Courney Burr III enter with their personal recollections, as the two most prominent relationships in Sal Mineo's life (as I assume Mineo's surviving family did not contribute, as they are not depicted in an exceedingly great light in the later years of Sal's sexually open life), does the book pick up. The main difficulty may not quite be the author's fault alone, as Mineo was simultaneously a gregariously, casually open person on some things (acting craft, sex, filming experiences, sex) but still very guarded on his own inner emotions, encompassing his personal statements within a breezy, life is a thrill! sheen. With such a self guard up, we see a many facet portrait of Sal Mineo: a skilled young actor who took crap acting jobs in later years to maintain a ridiculously spendthrift life style, while remaining dedicated to personal projects of an artistic vision, that unfortunately often melded again and again with the limited theme of renegade sexuality that he loved exploring in his own life. The strangest sadness is if Sal Mineo had been born decades later, he would have been the same great actor/screen idol and heralded for his riskier projects and open sexuality.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    I finished this book a few days ago, but we went through a blizzard the middle of the week (lost power for over a day) & another big snow yesterday. So I've had some time to think about it. I was and still am a big fan of Sal Mineo's and loved his movies. The one I remember the most was Exodus which I plan to see again along with several others. He also appeared in many television roles so I was able to watch him frequently. I don't remember his music ... don't know why. I found the book quite g I finished this book a few days ago, but we went through a blizzard the middle of the week (lost power for over a day) & another big snow yesterday. So I've had some time to think about it. I was and still am a big fan of Sal Mineo's and loved his movies. The one I remember the most was Exodus which I plan to see again along with several others. He also appeared in many television roles so I was able to watch him frequently. I don't remember his music ... don't know why. I found the book quite good, well-researched and full of detail, at times the detail seemed to be overkill, but it's been a long time since I've read a biography of someone who lived so recently with so much information available for an author to draw on. The author did a wonderful job of talking with people in his life and researching magazines, newspaper reviews, etc. I do not like spoilers in reviews so I won't give any except to say that I was surprised at some of his relationships, both with family and with friends. Those of us who lived through the 60s & 70s can certainly identify with at least some of his choices. I grew up in the south which always seemed to me to be a bit slower than the rest of the nation with the behaviors & habits of those times. I never knew the actual tragic circumstances of his death and after chatting with a friend recently, realize that many still do not. I recommend this book. Just won this book in a Goodreads First Reads giveaway!! Can't wait to read it!! I'm such a fan of his.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Goose

    I didn't know much about Sal Mineo prior to reading this biography. I found this book to be interesting and informative especially in the early chapters. I felt the author did a good job of describing young Sal's family life and his parents and brothers and how they all reacted as Sal became more and more famous. As the reader, one can sense that Sal's mother is quickly out of her league as Sal's manager but she remains as such for many years to come. I did enjoy Sal's getting to know many famou I didn't know much about Sal Mineo prior to reading this biography. I found this book to be interesting and informative especially in the early chapters. I felt the author did a good job of describing young Sal's family life and his parents and brothers and how they all reacted as Sal became more and more famous. As the reader, one can sense that Sal's mother is quickly out of her league as Sal's manager but she remains as such for many years to come. I did enjoy Sal's getting to know many famous people and how he is described as slowly learing his craft and learning about many aspects of life at the same time. Where the book falters is in the later chapters, after Sal is relegated to guest starring on many television shows. I felt that we didn't really get a sens of the working actor. Much is made of his love life during his later years and it was very interesting to see who popped up to either have sex with Sal or have sex with one of Sals' friends while Sal watched. I would have to say this book is a good example of changing mores thru the decades and a nice illustration of sexual freedom before the time of AIDS. I just feel that the later chapters had too much flying here and there and guest starring on Columbo and Ellery Queen without enough detail on what it was like to pop into television for a week and then disappear again.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

    Most famous for his role as lost teen, Plato, in the classic film "Rebel Without A Cause", Sal Mineo's life mirrored the tragic lost soul of his most memorable character. A teen heartthrob and sought after actor in his youth, Sal experienced the cold back of Hollywood's hand as he aged. By his mid-20's he was already struggling for roles and by his 30's, he was a downright out-of-work actor, doing mostly dinner theatre at Holiday Inns across the US. Despite this, Sal never wavered or took solace Most famous for his role as lost teen, Plato, in the classic film "Rebel Without A Cause", Sal Mineo's life mirrored the tragic lost soul of his most memorable character. A teen heartthrob and sought after actor in his youth, Sal experienced the cold back of Hollywood's hand as he aged. By his mid-20's he was already struggling for roles and by his 30's, he was a downright out-of-work actor, doing mostly dinner theatre at Holiday Inns across the US. Despite this, Sal never wavered or took solace in the predictable drugs and alcohol. Instead, he continued to seek artistic expression and fought hard to champion projects and roles in edgy material that touched on(at the time: taboo) gay subject matter. With first-hand accounts from Sal's old colleagues, friends, girlfriends and long-time boyfriend, Michael Gregg Michaud had access to some of the most important people in Sal's life - and it shows in his work here. He does a fine job of reporting the known and contradictory facts surrounding Sal's mysterious murder and leaves you to draw your own conclusion. That being said, there is one conclusion we can all agree on: he was taken away much too soon.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    As some of you may know, I gave up Hollywood biographies last year after reading Star: the Life of Warren Beaty. Unlike writers, artists, historical figures, actors are pretty boring--what's interesting about them is on screen. But when I read that James Franco had optioned this biography of Sal Mineo, I thought I'd check it out from the library. Also, I had an interest in the mystery of who killed Sal Mineo, which turns out to be not such a mystery anymore. But for me it was like in the Indian As some of you may know, I gave up Hollywood biographies last year after reading Star: the Life of Warren Beaty. Unlike writers, artists, historical figures, actors are pretty boring--what's interesting about them is on screen. But when I read that James Franco had optioned this biography of Sal Mineo, I thought I'd check it out from the library. Also, I had an interest in the mystery of who killed Sal Mineo, which turns out to be not such a mystery anymore. But for me it was like in the Indian takeover of Alcatraz. I thought it was still going on because nobody ever told me the occupation action had ended. I remember my mom telling me about Sal Mineo, and that no one ever found out who had killed him. And that stayed stuck in my memory for 35 years. This is a fairly well-written book and does give a full picture of an actor who never really made it beyond a few luminous roles. There's not much about the making of Rebel Without a Cause than I hadn't read before, and James Dean is a ghostly character even before he dies. But it was a quick read and I enjoyed it.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    I received this book via the Goodreads First Reads program - Thank you to everyone involved with the giveaway. Until I read this book I knew very little about Sal Mineo. I probably saw "Rebel without a cause" in the very late 70's when in my early teens (on TV), so it suprised me how quickly I was drawn into this biography. It is a frank,honest and sympathetic account of this talented man's life. The author certainly did a lot of research, but the fact that direct quotes and input were available f I received this book via the Goodreads First Reads program - Thank you to everyone involved with the giveaway. Until I read this book I knew very little about Sal Mineo. I probably saw "Rebel without a cause" in the very late 70's when in my early teens (on TV), so it suprised me how quickly I was drawn into this biography. It is a frank,honest and sympathetic account of this talented man's life. The author certainly did a lot of research, but the fact that direct quotes and input were available from those who knew Sal Mineo certainly enhanced the reading experience. At times I felt I wouldn't have liked Sal Mineo and yet, other times I felt the exact opposite, clearly a complex and very human individual, the author did an excellent job of portraying Sal Mineo in as geniune a light as possible. With the benefit of the interenet is was possible for me to use youtube to pull up snippets of his performances which I would recommend, it helped bring another dimension to understanding of his work Well Done Mr Michaud!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    This biography is intimately thorough and well written. As a fan of Rebel Without a Cause, I was vaguely aware of Sal Mineo. After reading this, I was surprised and saddened by the struggles he faced. His energy and passion were brought to life in these pages. There are certain bits that seem obligatory, as if to show the complete story and not leave anything out. These are the one-sentence mentions of Sal Mineo's appearance on a television show that don't relate to the main storyline. Otherwise This biography is intimately thorough and well written. As a fan of Rebel Without a Cause, I was vaguely aware of Sal Mineo. After reading this, I was surprised and saddened by the struggles he faced. His energy and passion were brought to life in these pages. There are certain bits that seem obligatory, as if to show the complete story and not leave anything out. These are the one-sentence mentions of Sal Mineo's appearance on a television show that don't relate to the main storyline. Otherwise, the story flows well, piecing his life from friends' anecdotes and newspaper/magazine articles. Obviously, the author worked hard on his research. It is a testament to him that Sal Mineo's closest friends were so open about their relationships. The author did an exceptional job handling sensitive and intimate details. I won this from Goodreads First Reads. If not for that, I might have missed this book, but I'm so glad to have read it.

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