Sal Mineo - Early Life and Career

Early Life and Career

Mineo was born in The Bronx, the son of coffin makers Josephine (née Alvisi) and Salvatore Mineo, Sr. He was of Sicilian descent; his father was born in Italy and his mother had been born in the U.S. of Italian origin. His mother enrolled him in dancing and acting school at an early age. He had his first stage appearance in The Rose Tattoo (1951), a play by Tennessee Williams. He also played the young prince opposite Yul Brynner in the stage musical The King and I. Brynner took the opportunity to help Mineo better himself as an actor.

As a teenager, Mineo appeared on ABC's musical quiz program Jukebox Jury, which aired in the 1953-1954 season. Mineo made several television appearances before making his screen debut in 1955 in the Joseph Pevney film Six Bridges to Cross. He beat out Clint Eastwood to the role. Mineo had also successfully auditioned for a part in The Private War of Major Benson as a cadet colonel opposite Charlton Heston.

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