Awesome People

Saturday, December 27, 2008

First Gay Teenager?





Sal Mineo's Hollywood heyday was well before I was born (yes, that long ago) but when I was fourteen a saw a picture in a book of him in the movie Dino and kind of fell in love. (In fact, it's the very first picture at the top of this post. Thank you Google.) What I didn't know was that by then he was already dead, knived in front of his home by a mugger. It has often been said that his character in Rebel Without A Cause was the first gay teenager in movies. I don't really think that's true, but it certainly is hard to deny the gay subtext in Plato's infatuation with Jim. When Sal Mineo went to Hollywood the studio system was still in force, although it was in its waning days. The studio arranged dates for him, manufactured romances for the gossip columns, planted articles in the movie magazines about his "perfect girl." Sal did what anyone in his position had to do if they wanted movie careers. He played along. His career was going well- He had been nominated for the academy award twice by the time he turned 21, his first nomination coming when he was only 16. When he began to live his life as a more-or-less openly gay man in the 1960s the choice film offers mysteriously began to disappear. Most of the roles offered to him were as psychos and weaklings. Coincidence? His last film role was as a chimp in a Planet of the Apes movie.

5 comments:

jaymcfly said...

I must say I did love Sal in Rebel Without a Cause , looking all doey eyed at james Dean . I quite felt that Natalie Wood was in the way at times . What a sad ending though to his life .

Mike Ellis, The Jolly Reprobate said...

I've always loved this guy, though his story makes me sad. And I know that Rebel was supposed to be about Jim Stark, but it was Plato that I identified with.

And I love that raquetball picture. That's the face I make when I play!

TOREADOR PRINCE said...

finally someone writes about sal, he was so cute in the the movies i saw him in. thank you for making my day hugs always

ShowBizBuff said...

He's one of the few men that the word "beauty" can actually be applied to correctly. Fell in love with the guy the first time I saw "Rebel Without a Cause" and have been smitten since. Did you read the biography that came out about him several years ago? It was nice finding out things about him I didn't know. Such a sad, tragic loss; I really feel he could have gone on to do some great things as an adult actor. Thanks for the amazing post, there were some photos here I'd never seen before ...

gaycultes said...

Oh, coïncidence : http://gaycultes.blogspot.com/2008/07/sal-mineo-acteur-assassin.html