Sal Mineo: One Of Hollywood’s First Openly Gay Actors Featured In James Franco Biopic

Sal Mineo has a life story that plays out like a Hollywood movie.

The actor starred opposite James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause and earned two Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor. He later became one of the first openly gay actors in Hollywood, but saw his comeback attempt meet a violent end, dying in an alley in West Hollywood after being stabbed several times.

Now his life is literally a Hollywood movie. Actor James Franco made a film about Mineo’s final hours, and though it was actually made a couple of years ago the movie is just coming out later this month. The film, Sal, is set to appear on VOD and iTunes starting October 22.

This week the first trailer for Sal was released.

Though Sal will focus on the end of his life, Mineo has quite the intriguing story leading up to that point. He was born in the Bronx and enrolled in dancing and acting school at a young age. He started his career working on the stage, appearing opposite Yul Brynner in The King and I.

Brynner took Sal Mineo under his wing, helping out the young actor as he transitioned to television, where he appeared in the musical quiz program Jukebox Jury.

Mineo then moved into movies in a big way, beating out Clint Eastwood for his first role playing a cadet in the 1955 Joseph Pevney film Six Bridges to Cross.

But his big breakthrough came later that year, when he appeared as John “Plato” Crawford in Rebel Without a Cause. Mineo played a sensitive teenager smitten with James Dean’s character. Though at the time he received thousands of letters from female admirers and claimed he dated the most beautiful women in Hollywood, Sal Mineo would later be one of the first big Hollywood stars to acknowledge that he was gay.

The Sal Mineo biopic focuses on his later Hollywood career, after he had been marginalized and shut out from playing leading roles.