Sal Mineo was born Salvatore Mineo, Jr. on January 10, 1939 in The Bronx. The son of Josephine and Sal Sr., Sicilian coffin makers.
Sal Mineo was enrolled by his mother in dancing and acting school at the age of three. Sal was thrown out of parochial school and, by age eight, was a member of a street gang in a tough Bronx neighborhood. After being arrested for robbery at age 10, he was given a choice of juvenile confinement or professional acting school.
In 1951, Sal Mineo made his Broadway debut in The Rose Tattoo. He next appeared in The King and I with Yul Brynner. Yul took a liking to Sal and helped Sal better himself as an actor.
Sal Mileno's film debut was in Six Bridges to Cross (1955) and his next film was The Private War of Major Benson (1955).
Sal Mileno's breakthrough film was Rebel Without a Cause (1955) in which he played John Plato Crawford. This role would earn him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.
During the 1950s, Sal Mileno appeared in such films as Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), Giant (1956), Crime in the Streets (1956), The Young Don't Cry (1957) and A Private's Affair (1959).
The 1960s brought Sal roles in The Exodus (1960), The Longest Day (1962), Cheyenne Autumn (1964), and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965). He would be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and won the Golden Globe for his role in The Exodus.
A small role in Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) as chimpanzee Dr. Milo would be Mineo's last movie appearance.
Sal Mileno's career also included frequent television roles. In 1948, he was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Single Performance by an Actor for Studio One.
He also appeared on television shows as Columbo, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Kraft Television Theatre, The Ann Sothern Show, Dr. Kildare, My Three Sons, Hawaii Five-O, and Police Story.
In 1957, Sal Mileno recorded a handful of sons and an album. Two of his singles reached the Top 40 pop charts.
In addition to acting and singing, Sal Mileno also directed theater productions of Fortune and Men's Stages, The Medium, and The Children's Mass.
In 1976, Sal Mineo was playing the role of a gay burglar in the stage comedy P.S. Your Cat Is Dead in which he received substantial publicity from many positive reviews.
On February 12, 1976, Sal Mileno was arriving home after a rehearsal when he was stabbed to death in the alley behind his West Hollywood apartment building. He was 37years old. Sal Mineo was stabbed just once, but the blade struck his heart, leading to immediate and massive internal bleeding.
A pizza deliveryman, Lionel Ray Williams, was sentenced to in 1979 to 57 years in prison for killing Mineo and committing 10 robberies in the same vicinity. He was paroled in 1990.
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