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From the vault: Sal. A tribute by James Franco

Sal Mineo would have turned 79 today. Instead he died in 1976, murdered when he was 37 years old. Not nearly as young as James Dean, the iconic actor he starred alongside in Rebel Without a Cause, roles that would come to define both men in ways they couldn’t have imagined.

For Sal Mineo, James Dean was the man for whom his conflicted feelings probably made him understand his bisexual or homosexual nature. Apparently the label is arguable, while Mineo slept with both men and women, many believe he was  homosexual, pure and simple. I would think only Mineo knows for sure and he ain’t saying.

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.

Sal Mineo was the subject of the film Sal directed by James Franco in 2011, the drama focuses on the last day of Sal Mineo’s life. The movie was culled from material in the biography by Michael Gregg Michaud. 

Sal Mineo is played by Val Lauren while Franco—who famously played James Dean back in 2001—is acting coach Milton Katselas. The film is available to stream on iTunes, GooglePlay, Amazon, Vudu, etc but to be honest Sal isn’t a critically acclaimed film. Roger Ebert gave it 1.5 out of 4 stars, it has a 44% on rotten tomatoes and 4 out of 10 on imdb. But you can’t blame Franco for trying. I don’t know what’s going on in his personal life right now but one thing is certain. James Franco who just won the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his work in The Disaster Artist—which he also directedis the very definition of prolific.