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Sal Mineo: A Biography

3.67  ·  Rating Details ·  223 Ratings  ·  62 Reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 384 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Crown Archetype (first published January 1st 2010)
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Oct 26, 2010 Cynthia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of Hollywood Bios
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 ...more
*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
Jul 23, 2011 Denis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Paul Jr.
Jan 11, 2011 Paul Jr. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Neil Mudde
Sep 04, 2011 Neil Mudde rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sy Snootles
Nov 02, 2010 Sy Snootles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From my blog:

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
Steve Carter
Dec 30, 2015 Steve Carter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Gerry Burnie
Jan 23, 2011 Gerry Burnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gerry B's Book Reviews -

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
F.C. Schaefer
Apr 28, 2015 F.C. Schaefer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 13, 2012 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Nov 01, 2013 Robert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 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 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 qui ...more
Feb 20, 2011 Goose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Feb 24, 2012 Morgan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Oct 11, 2011 Mandy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
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
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 ...more
Dec 09, 2010 Jen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 03, 2013 Rick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Abby Nixon
Nov 14, 2013 Abby Nixon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Behind the scenes view of a fast rising star that fell faster and burned quicker. Sals' decline as a star and his homosexuality aligned to a fractured life. Typical of non financial interest as the problem with many entertainers expedited the waste of his life. Arrogance and a diluted mindset of his actual situation primed Sals' life to end in the tragic way it did. His life and demise is not too different from other stars I've read about. Too self centered to make an accurate evaluation of self ...more
Dec 06, 2013 Jenna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My knowledge of Sal Mineo going into this biography was limited to memories of watching Rebel Without a Cause (a favourite of mine,) with my grandmother who kept saying, "I always thought there was something about that Sal Mineo boy. Don't you think there was something about him?" Little did I know what she was getting at.

This exhaustive Bio features information and interviews from many of Mineo's closest friends, as well as many of his lovers, (of both genders,) and business acquaintances to re
Oct 03, 2011 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed with this book for several reasons. When it first came out - it was on my 'to read' least for sometime until I finally purchased it...had been looking forward to it. But - it did not live up to my hopes. First - it's just not written very well. It's another book of so many that think they need to get EVERY boring detail in and none of the heart or storytelling. The book has very little feeling..just stale reporting. And on top of's hard to realize someone you li ...more
Jennifer Ware
I received this book from for free. 387 pages. About the last couple dozen were dedicated to his murder and the trial of his killer. About 200 pages were dedicated to his sad sex life. I was extremely disappointed and disgusted. My mom loved Sal Mineo. I wanted to win this book for her. I am so glad I didn't pick it up at the store and wrap it up for Christmas. There was no reason for all the detail into his sex life. I suppose some people enjoy that, but not me. I would never have ...more
Beth Anne
goodreads first read giveaway.

this book was fascinating. it was an outstanding story told beautifully by the author. i learned a lot about old hollywood, and the challenges of a young actor trying to make a living.

it amazes me the tragic figure that sal mineo really was....he was so tortured by his sexuality, his looks, his talent. hitting it big with one of his first films, then trying to fit into a man's world as he grew up, but looking so young. the stereotypes that he got because of his look
Liza Reid
Oct 26, 2010 Liza Reid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an excellent book! I really didn't know much about Sal Mineo before reading this one. Most of my background came from the usual "Rebel Without a Cause" and hearing how he died at such a young age. It was interesting to find though, even then, the typical story of a young actor being estranged from his parents over financial matters, and continuing to struggle with such matters for the rest of his life. It's a familiar story, as we often hear similar ones in the tabloids today. The author de ...more
If you thought not much more could be written about the nineteen-fifties star-making machine, guess again. Sal Mineo's life is interesting largely because he was an iconoclast, but the early part of the book, focusing on his rise to stardom, is quite interesting because it shows how dependent on chance a star's rise can be. The middle and later parts of the book show Mineo simultaneously falling apart and asserting himself. The author, Michael Gregg Michaud, does not comment on Mineo's behavior, ...more
Jessica (booneybear)
Years ago my mother got me into watching a ton of classic movies from the 30's, 40's, 50's and 60's. When she suggested that I watch 'Rebel Without a Cause' she told me to keep my eyes not on James Dean but to really watch Sal Mineo. I was captivated by Sal's performace in the movie. I can see why my mom told me to watch him.

I never really had an opportunity to follow Sal's career and am glad I got the opportunity to read this biography to get better acquainted with a very talented actor. While
James Clark
May 25, 2012 James Clark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sals story is fascinating. Only really mentioned in relation to his brief contact with Jimmy Dean. Sal was and is an icon, his strength of character and determination were something to behold.

From his childhood in the Bronx with his family, to becoming the provider and later the loser of his mothers determination.

Sal went from being a box office draw to theatrical producer, controversial, deviant, loving and yet cruel. Sal becomes a human monster with all the frailties and eccentricities that
Aug 06, 2013 Constance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I'm consumed by a tremendous, driving desire to prove myself, without knowing how to prove myself. I've got to know who I am and where I'm going." Sal Mineo

If you remember Sal Mineo, you will remember him as mesmerizing, soulful, and magnetic. This story was written with similar feelings. I applaud Mr. Michaud for what was endless research, however some of the pages were repetitive and boring. One doesn't need to know the dates & times of every thing Sal did in an average day. The book is l
If you want just the facts about Mineo, this is the book for you. If you want interpretation/analysis of Mineo's life and times, don't look for it here. Mineo was a gay star of movies and the stage, where he pushed boundaries in such plays as "Fortune and Men's Eyes," yet he never came out in public. Michaud says very little about this. He suggests the police were initially blindsided by homophobia in their investigation of Mineo's murder, but doesn't dwell on that or provide other examples. As ...more
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