Date of Birth 10 January 1939, The Bronx, New York, USA Date of Death 12 February 1976, West Hollywood, California, USA (homicide) Birth Name Salvatore Mineo Jr. Height 5' 8" (1.73 m) Mini Biography Salvatore Mineo Jr. was born to Josephine and Sal Sr. (a casket maker), who emigrated to the U.S. from Sicily. Sal's siblings were Michael, Victor and Sarina. Sal was thrown out of parochial school and, by age eight, was a member of a street gang in a tough Bronx neighborhood. His mother enrolled him in dancing school and, after being arrested for robbery at age ten, he was given a choice of juvenile confinement or professional acting school. He soon appeared in the theatrical production "The Rose Tattoo" with Maureen Stapleton and Eli Wallach, and as the young prince in "The King and I" with Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner. At age 16 he played a much younger boy in Six Bridges to Cross (1955) with Tony Curtis and later that same year played Plato in James Dean's Rebel Without a Cause (1955). He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in this film and again for his role as Dov Landau in Exodus (1960). Expanding his repertoire, Mineo returned to the theatre to direct and star in the play "Fortune and Men's Eyes" with successful runs in both New York and Los Angeles. In the late 1960s and 1970s he continued to work steadily in supporting roles on TV and in film, including Dr. Milo in Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971) and _Harry O: Such Dust As Dreams Are Made On (1973)_. In 1975 he returned to the stage in the San Francisco hit production of "P.S. Your Cat Is Dead". Preparing to open the play in Los Angeles in 1976 with Keir Dullea, he returned home from rehearsal the evening of February 12th when he was attacked and stabbed to death by a stranger. A drifter named Lionel Ray Williams was arrested for the crime and, after trial in 1979, convicted and sentenced to life in prison for the murder. Although taken away far too soon, the memory of Sal Mineo continues to live on through the large body of TV and film work that he left behind. IMDb Mini Biography By: Anthony Wynn Trivia Brother of actor Michael Mineo. In 1957 he tried to start a career as a rock-and-roll singer. He released two singles. The first was "Start Movin' (In My Direction)", which stayed in the US top 40 for 13 weeks and reached the #9 position. The second was "Lasting Love", which stayed on the charts for three weeks and reached #27. The singles were followed up by an album on the Epic label. In the UK the records were released on the Philips label. Grew up on East 213th Street in the Olinville section of the Bronx. Once hung out with the Hell's Angels motorcycle group. In 1957, at the height of his fame, Bob Hope announced on a TV special that all public schools in Brooklyn would be closed the following day in honor of Sal Mineo's birthday. Hope meant this as a joke, but many youngsters in Brooklyn took it seriously, and there was record absenteeism in the borough's public schools the following day. Hope ultimately issued a public retraction and urged kids to stay in school. Donated the drum he used in The Gene Krupa Story (1959) to another teen idol, David Cassidy, the day after a dinner with David and his father, Jack Cassidy. David was 13 at the time. In the mid-1960s, he was engaged to British actress Jill Haworth. Many bizarre rumors floated around about his murder, but when his killer, Lionel Ray Williams, was caught, he turned out to be a drug-addled 17-year-old who had no idea who Mineo was and was only interested in the money he had on him. He was frequently cast as humorless, jittery youth whose loneliness turns violent when cornered, but in reality, he was known for his easy-going, extroverted ways and his ability to see the positive and the humor in almost any situation. John Lennon once put up the reward money to find Mineo's killer. Lionel Ray Williams was convicted of his murder in 1979 and sentenced to life in prison. He was paroled in 1990. Portrayed by Felix Quinonez in James Dean: Race with Destiny (1997) (TV) and by Paul Pantano in The Mystery of Natalie Wood (2004) (TV). Was mentioned in the movie/play "Grease" during the song "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee." The lyric goes: "Oh, no, no, Sal Mineo, I would never stoop so low.". Personal Quotes "I'll never be mistaken for Pat Boone" (1975) "I lost because I had appeared in a pro-Jewish picture, played a sympathetic Jewish boy, and shot four Arabs." -- Explaining why he believed he lost an important role in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) (which filmed in Jordan), after completing work on Exodus (1960). No one ever said movies are for developing your range. Hardly anyone gets that opportunity. Which is why I think the stage is so good. It's less bread, but you can play different types, and you can initiate your own projects. [on James Dean] We never became lovers, but we could have -- like that. On his father's death: "Being in the same room with him and looking at him, I realized that one day I would be in the same position as he, facing death. Before it happens I mean to do the things I want to do. I will not end up saying, 'I wish I had.'" It's a situation I've never been able to fathom. One minute it seemed I had more movie offers than I could handle, the next - no one wanted me. If I'd understood back then that a guy could be in love with another one, it would have happened. But I didn't come to that realization for a few more years and then it was too late for Jimmy and me.