After starting his career in a three-year stint in the Broadway musical "The King and I," actor Sal Mineo was propelled into teen idol stardom thanks to his portrayal of the damaged, love-starved best friend of James Dean in "Rebel Without a Cause" (1955). The role turned the young Mineo into a major star and helped make a career for the actor playing troubled, violence-prone youths throughout the remainder of the decade. Though he disappointed fans with his small part in "Giant" (1956), Mineo earned considerable acclaim - as well as the nickname "The Switchblade Kid" - for his role in "Crime in the Streets" (1956). He went on to earn critical kudos for leading roles in "Dino" (1957) and "The Gene Krupa Story" (1958), before reaching the pinnacle of his young career with his Golden Globe-winning performance as a militant Zionist in "Exodus" (1960). But almost immediately following that success, Mineo's career went off a cliff, as the actor struggled to transition from teen idol into more adult roles, leading to being cast as stereotypical hoods or in ethnic parts belying his Sicilian heritage. He was lost amidst all-star casts in epics like "The Longest Day" (1962) and "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (1965), while losing fans over his stalker role in the low-budget thriller "Who Killed Teddy Bear?" (1964). Mineo was barely recognizable beneath mountains of ape makeup in "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" (1971), which in retrospect turned out to be his final film role. Mineo had made several small screen appearances and returned to the stage, seemingly poised for a comeback following good notices for "P.S. Your Cat Is Dead," when the actor was stabbed to death in a robbery gone bad. Despite his career bottoming out in the 1960s, Mineo had nonetheless cemented his reputation as a teen idol worthy of remembrance.