Sal Mineo grew up cough and moved fast -from the Bronx to Broadway to Hollywood, from street crimes to stage plays to an Oscar nomination, at the age of sixteen, for his portrayal of the doomed teenager in the 1955 James Dean film Rebel Without a Cause. His role in Exodus won him 3 second Academy Award nomination in 1961, but ten years later he was a movie has-been. As this carefully and caringly researched biography shows, Sal Mineo talents far exceeded the limits typecasting imposed upon a career that saddled him with the nickname, the Switchblade Kid. It also demonstrates that, Clineo's decline had less to do with the loss of the baby-face good looks that quickened the heartbeat of teenage girls than it did with his unwillingness to deny his homosexuality. Still tough, though, Mineo refashioned his career, as a stage actor and director, but he was not tough enough to survive the shocking encounter with the man who nabbed him to death. Investigating the mystery that continues to surround Sal Mineo's tragic death and sifting the facts from the fictions that shroud his private life, this long-overdue serious study of the man and the star sympathetically chronicles the thirty-seven years that made an "erotic politician" and gay icon of 3 street kid and teen idol.