MADMAN IN THE SHADOWS
The violent deaths of the three stars of the iconic rebellious teen movie of the 1950s, Rebel Without a Cause.
On the night of February 12, 1976, Sal Mineo was stabbed to death as he walked to his West Hollywood apartment after a play rehearsal. A man jumped out of the shadows and plunged a knife into the actor’s heart. Sal Mineo was 37.
The murder was said to be as bungled robbery attempt by a mugger who didn’t even know the actor and who fled the scene. Three years later, a loser by the name of Lionel Williams was sentenced to 57 years in prison for killing Sal Mineo and for committing 10 robberies in the same area.
On September 30, 1955, James Dean was killed when a 23-year-old college student named Donald Turnupseed made an illegal left turn in front of Dean’s speeding Porsche on a country road in southern California. James Dean was 24.
James Dean and his mechanic Rolf Wütherich were heading for a sports car race meet in Salinas. Wütherich was seriously injured in the crash but survived. Turnupseed was only slightly injured. He refused to speak publicly about the accident and ended up running a successful family business in Tulare. He died in 1995 of lung cancer at the age of 63.
Only one of James Dean’s movies, East of Eden, had been released at the time of his death — Rebel Without a Cause and Giant opened shortly afterwards.
On November 29, 1981, Natalie Wood mysteriously drowned in the water off Santa Catalina Island at the age of 43. She had been partying on a boat with husband Robert Wagner and fellow actor Christopher Walken.
Her body was found next morning a mile from the boat, with a small inflatable dinghy beached nearby. Wagner said that she was not with him when he went to bed that night. The autopsy report revealed that she had bruises on her body and arms, as well as an abrasion on her left cheek but no indication as to how or when they occurred.
Natalie Wood’s death has been the subject of many documentaries and books and still remains unresolved.
THREE SCREEN LEGENDS WILL NEVER DIE