Sal Mineo biography tracks meteoric rise and tragic fall of teen idol
Show business has always had its male Cinderella stories – those of photogenic young talents who enjoyed meteoric early success and teen idol status. But as a cautionary tale, the red- hot young Justins of this era (Bieber, Timberlake and so on) might be wise to heed the tragic career arc of Sal Mineo.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the dark-eyed, curly-haired Mineo was everywhere on the entertainment scene – gracing the covers of fan magazines, scoring top-40 radio hits, stepping out to chic nightspots, acting on film opposite Hollywood’s youthful elite (James Dean, Natalie Wood, Dennis Hopper). Starting as a child actor on Broadway in original productions of “The Rose Tattoo” and “The King and I,” this Bronx-born son of an Italian casket maker quickly went on to earn Oscar nominations for “Rebel Without a Cause” and “Exodus.”
But the dark side of this Cinderella story emerges in vivid detail in the fascinating new biography, “Sal Mineo” (Crown Archetype, $25.99), by Michael Gregg Michaud.
Drawing on exclusive interviews with friends and colleagues –as well as never-before published photographs and candid revelations by the actor’s lovers, both male and female – the book tracks Mineo’s rapid rise to fame, his up-and-down career and his glamorous, scandalous and ultimately heartbreaking personal life.
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