SAL MINEO, American actor died (b. 1939); A Golden Globe-winning American singer, film and theatre actor, best known for his Academy award-nominated performance opposite James Dean in the film Rebel Without A Cause but after a period of playing to ethnic stereotype, his career flagged. By 1976 Mineo’s career seemed to be turning around again. Playing the role of a Gay burglar in a San Francisco run of the stage comedy P.S. Your Cat is Dead, he received substantial publicity from many positive reviews and moved on to Los Angeles with the play.
Arriving home after a rehearsal on February 12, 1976, Mineo was stabbed to death in the alley behind a West Hollywood apartment building. He was 37 years old. He was stabbed just once, not repeatedly as first reported, but the blade struck his heart, leading to immediate and massive internal bleeding. A career criminal named Lionel Ray Williams was later sentenced to life in prison for killing Mineo. Although there was considerable confusion relating to what witnesses had seen in the darkness the night Mineo was murdered, Williams was reported to have boasted of the crime, which turned out to be a botched mugging. At the time of the murder, Williams had no idea who Mineo was.