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On November 7, 1980, the actor Steve McQueen, one of Hollywood’s leading men of the 1960s and 1970s and the star of such action thrillers as Bullitt and The Towering Inferno, dies at the age of 50 in Mexico, where he was undergoing an experimental treatment for cancer. In 1979, McQueen had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer often related to asbestos exposure. It was later believed that the ruggedly handsome actor, who had an affinity for fast cars and motorcycles, might have been exposed to asbestos by wearing racing suits.
Terrence Steven McQueen was born on March 24, 1930, in Beech Grove, Indiana. After a troubled youth that included time in reform school, McQueen served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1940s. He then studied acting and began competing in motorcycle races. He made his big-screen debut with a tiny role in 1956’s Somebody Up There Likes Me, starring Paul Newman. McQueen went on to appear in the camp classic The Blob (1958) and gained fame playing a bounty hunter in the TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive, which originally aired on CBS from 1958 to 1961.
During the 1960s, McQueen built a reputation for playing cool, loner heroes in a list of films that included the Western The Magnificent Seven (1960), which was directed by John Sturges and also featured Yul Brynner and Charles Bronson; The Great Escape (1963), in which McQueen played a U.S. solider in World War II who makes a daring motorcycle escape from a German prison camp; and The Sand Pebbles (1966), a war epic for which he received a Best Actor Oscar nomination. McQueen played a detective in one of his most popular movies, 1968’s Bullitt, which featured a spectacular car chase through the streets of San Francisco. That same year, the actor portrayed an elegant thief in The Thomas Crown Affair.
In the 1970s, McQueen was one of Hollywood’s highest-paid actors and starred in hit films such as director Sam Peckinpah’s The Getaway (1972) with Ali MacGraw, to whom McQueen was married from 1973 to 1978; Papillon (1973), with Dustin Hoffman; and The Towering Inferno (1974), with Paul Newman, William Holden and Faye Dunaway.
In the summer of 1980, McQueen traveled to Rosarito Beach, Mexico, where he underwent an unorthodox cancer treatment that involved, among other things, coffee enemas and a therapy derived from apricot pits. On November 6, 1980, he had surgery to remove cancerous masses from his body; he died the following day. His final films were Tom Horn and The Hunter, both of which were released in 1980.
Last chance surgery, Steve McQueen dies in Juarez, Nov. 1980
Last chance surgery, Steve McQueen dies in Juarez. (Photo: El Paso Times)
Forty years ago, Nov. 7, 1980, actor Steve McQueen died of heart failure at a Juárez clinic while recovering from surgery to remove cancerous tumors of the neck and stomach.
El Paso Times reporter Ramon Renteria reported from Juarez:
Dr. Cesar Santos Vargas felt sympathetic toward the ailing man who called himself Sam Sheppard.
“He was a man sure of himself and very sincere,” Santos said.
Santos, a Juarez surgeon and kidney specialist, earned a medical reputation years ago in Juarez for treating injured bullfighters.
He gained national attention when the man called Sheppard suddenly died in his Juarez clinic at 2:50 a.m. Friday.
10 Always In Character
In the film Bullit, McQueen plays a hardened police lieutenant in the Los Angeles-area. While preparing for the role, McQueen wanted to shadow actual cops in order to get a better sense of how they operated, what they went through, etc.
The officers, eager to put the so-called tough guy to the test, decided to have him visit a morgue. Needless to say, you will see some pretty horrific things in a place where they store dead bodies. Not Steve McQueen, though. He apparently strolled in munching on an apple. completely unfazed.
Steve McQueen became a born-again Christian, found comfort in Billy Graham before succumbing to cancer: book
Fox News Go
EXCLUSIVE: Steve McQueen, hailed as "The King of Cool," saw the light before he succumbed to cancer.
The actor, who died on Nov. 7, 1980, at age 50, is being remembered in a new book commemorating the 40th anniversary of his death titled “Steve McQueen: In His Own Words” by Marshall Terrill.
The new release features interviews, personal letters, rarely heard reflections from audiotapes as well as more than 500 photographs, personal documents and memorabilia, many of which are being seen by the public for the first time.
Terrill, who has now written seven books on the Hollywood leading man, told Fox News the star considered doing an autobiography toward the end of his life, but cancer had ravaged his body so quickly that he never had the chance. The author believes the new book will allow the box office champion of the ‘60s and ‘70s to finally share his story.
Steve McQueen died on Nov. 7, 1980, at age 50 from cancer. (Getty Images)
“Many of these interviews have never seen the light of day,” said Terrill. “I started this book in 2014 and it took years to compile everything together told by Steve McQueen himself. A lot of people have always written him off as just a blue-collar guy who liked motorcycles and cars. But if you read his words, the man has great wisdom to him. He’s got this rich life experience that I wanted to share with people.”
“The reality is, Steve McQueen didn’t really like talking about himself,” Terrill shared. “So when he did, there were these little flashes where he unveiled his true self.”
For the book, Terrill discovered documents that give clearer insight on who McQueen’s father was -- a man the star desperately tried to track down in his lifetime but was three months too late. According to Terrill, McQueen was on the cusp of stardom with “Wanted: Dead or Alive" when William McQueen, a Merchant Marine, died of cirrhosis of the liver in November 1958. The patriarch was buried in an unmarked grave in Long Beach, Calif.
“I finally traced him to a small town here in California, but it was too late,” McQueen recalled. “He died three months earlier -- so we never got to see each other. His friends told me he used to watch me on TV and that he was real proud of me. But maybe they just said it because they figured I wanted to hear it… I wanted to stand in front of him, just face him squarely and ask why he left us the way he did. It did hurt my mother at the time, and it hurt me later.”
Sex, Drugs, and Bad Behavior: 20 Freaky Facts About Steve McQueen
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the world never seems to tire of Steve McQueen.
His 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo recently sold for $1.95 million, despite the fact that the model usually goes for under $200,000. Baracuta, makers of the G9 Harrington jacket made famous by the style deity, just re-issued it in leather in a move that he would have surely approved. David Beckham channels McQueen in a short film for British brand Belstaff, astride a motorcycle of course. There is a graphic novel tribute,ਊnd a racing-themed documentary, Steve McQueen: The Man and Le Mans, is set to roar into theaters next month. But somehow, there&aposs still plenty of McQueen trivia to go around. Here, 20 things you probably never knew about "The King of Cool":
1. His mother was a prostitute and his father a circus stuntman who regularly beat him during McQueen&aposs childhood in Los Angeles. He joined a gang and was sent to reform school for stealing hubcaps.
2. McQueen lost his virginity at 13 to a teenage hooker with a sweet tooth. “You didn&apost pay her with money,” he later recalled. “You bought her cakes. She was getting fat but at 15, it gave her big tits.” By 16, he was working as a towel boy in a brothel.
3. While on leave during a troubled three-year stint in the Marine Corps as a tank driver, McQueen saved a teenage girl from being raped by pulling a gun on her attackers. He later said he 𠇌oulda shot them all.” He also saved his tank crew from drowning during a botched Arctic exercise.
4. After being discharged from the Marines, McQueen spent time in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Washington D.C., and worked as a getaway driver for bank robbers, foreshadowing his hit 1972 film The Getaway. The gig ended abruptly when one of the robbers was shot and nearly killed.
5. After that McQueen became a pimp for a hooker named Lindy and sold illegal handguns. "I thought I was making easy money—guns and Lindy. And no taxes to pay,” he once recalled. 𠇋ut it never ends well.” He wised up and went to New York to study acting.
6. In Hollywood in the s, McQueen frequented the Whisky a Go Go, where he met playboy hairdresser Jay Sebring. The pair met a beautiful young starlet named Sharon Tate there, and the trio engaged in drug and booze-fueled threesomes, even after she married director Roman Polanski.
7. He was supposed to have dinner at Polanski and Tate’s house on the night they and Sebring were murdered by Charles Manson and his gang in 1969, but canceled at the last minute. He later learned he𠆝 been dangerously high on Manson’s th List.”
8. After that close call, McQueen renewed his gun license and began carrying a concealed, loaded Magnum pistol at all times, which could have been disastrous considering his crazy temper. He once pulled the gun on first wife Neile Adams and demanded to know if she𠆝 ever had an affair. (Fed up with McQueen&aposs cheating, she confessed to having slept with Oscar-winning actor Maximilian Schell.)
9. McQueen&aposs first real movie role in The Blob earned him just $3,000. But by the mid-70s, he was the highest paid actor in Hollywood, commanding $5 million per picture plus 15% of the gross—more than Marlon Brando, Robert Redford and Clint Eastwood.
10. His personal fortune was once estimated at about $30 million. McQueen—or more accurately, his estate𠅌ontinues to make millions, thanks to lucrative licensing deals with stylish brands like Persol and Barbour.
11. The mercurial McQueen turned down roles in now-classic movies that would have vastly improved his cinematic legacy, including Apocalypse Now, Dirty Harry, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The French Connection and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
12. Professionally he was a “nightmare” to work with, throwing fits over everything from the cut of his jeans to other actors’ lines. When his downstairs neighbor James Garner angered him by starring in the racing movie Grand Prix, McQueen pissed out his window onto Garner’s balcony every night.
13. While married to Ali MacGraw he maintained a suite at the Beverly Wilshire in L.A. just for quickies. He “interviewed” actresses there for movies that didn’t exist, hired escorts in droves and had sex with groupies on set in his trailer.
14. While making The Magnificent Seven in 1960, he and co-star Robert Vaughn spent Good Friday holed up in a Mexican brothel. After getting shitfaced on margaritas, they toasted the film’s title by sharing seven prostitutes between them.
15. To keep up with his debauched lifestyle, McQueen ingested vast quantities of drugs, including cocaine, high-grade peyote he bought from Navajo Indians, LSD and vials of amyl nitrate, aka "poppers", to supercharge his already-fearsome libido.
16. The FBI saw him as a potential subversive and tried to smear him with gay rumors. He reportedly slept with co-stars Jacqueline Bisset and Faye Dunaway, as well as Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Ava Gardner, Mae West, Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner.
17. He never actually wore the Rolex model that is now known around the world as the “Steve McQueen Explorer,” but did own a Rolex Submariner. He was so stingy he would charge producers of his films $250 for the watch if he wore it on set.
18. While married to MacGraw he would disappear for nights at a time on his motorcycle to hang out with the local chapter of the Hell’s Angels, fueled by cases of Old Milwaukee and piles of cocaine. MacGraw later said he was “somewhat stoned every day of our relationship”.
19. McQueen was arrested for drunk driving in Alaska in 1972, posted bail and then skipped town. The owner of an eye-popping garage filled with Ferraris, Porsches, Jaguars and Lotuses, he racked up so many speeding tickets that he nearly lost his license several times.
20. He was a born-again Christian when he died of cancer in 1980 at age 50. In the last years of his life, McQueen&aposs then-wife, Barbara Minty, took him to Bible studies with the Rev. Billy Graham. But we’re pretty sure he never really repented. His ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.
November 7, 1980 – The death of Steve McQueen
The “King of Cool,” Steve McQueen. passed away on this day in 1980 due to pleural mesothelioma, a cancer associated with asbestos exposure. Born Terence Stephen McQueen on March 24, 1930, he would go on to make a name for himself in Hollywood and on the racetrack. Starring in such films as The Cincinnati Kid, The Thomas Crown Affair, The Getaway, Oscar nominated The Sand Pebbles and Papillon, McQueen was well known on the screen. His other passion, which reflected in many of his movies, including Bullitt, was auto racing.
Above: McQueen in the Bullitt Mustang. Top: McQueen with his horse, Doc, and his Jaguar XKSS (1960).
In several of his movies, including the famous chase scene through the streets of San Francisco in Bullitt, McQueen conducted much of his own driving stunts. In one scene in The Great Escape he can even be seen chasing himself, thanks to careful editing. This was because the directors said it was hard to find as skilled of motorcycle riders as McQueen.
McQueen also participated in professional automobile racing, including a class win at the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring race. He and co-driver Peter Revson drove a Porsche 908/02 in the three-litre class. They missed an overall first place by 23 seconds. They lost to Mario Andretti, Ignazio Giunti and Nino Vaccarella in a five-litre Ferrari 512S. McQueen was also an avid car and motorcycle collector. He even earned a spot in the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978.
Steve McQueen Is Still the King of Cool 85 Years After His Birth
On his birthday, looking back at the unparalleled style of Steve McQueen.
Today is Steve McQueen's birthday. He would have been 85. And even though McQueen died nearly 35 years ago, he's still Hollywood's king of cool. Need proof? Just take a look at the literature on the subject. There's Marshall Terrill's biography Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool. There's Steve McQueen, King of Cool&mdashanother biography, by Darwin Porter. A website dedicated to McQueen merchandise is found at thekingofcool.com. And a popular documentary from the late '90s about the man's life is called, naturally, Steve McQueen: The King of Cool.
All of these exist for a good reason. In the '60s and '70s, McQueen became synonymous with a certain kind of countercultural sophistication as Hollywood's go-to symbol of rebellion against tradition. On the screen, he challenged convention, habit, and authority&mdashand in life, he defined himself against the status quo. In honor of that, we take a look back at the man whose iconic style extended far beyond the screen.
Reports on McQueen’s Struggle with Addiction
McQueen himself never spoke of his issues with drug use, but reports of his addictive struggles have come about in the years since, especially in “My Husband, My Friend,” a biography penned by ex-wife Neile McQueen Toffel. Published six years after his death, when Toffel judged her children old enough to be told the truth behind the tension they’d always sensed in their parents’ marriage, this account in particular aimed for a nonsensationalized portrait of McQueen. It touches on common themes that often emerge in the phenomenology of drug addiction.
For example, Toffel relates that “Steve had been an abused child, and often that results in an abusive parent. But even in his drug-abused state, he always stopped short of harming the children.″ Adverse and traumatic childhood experiences are frequently linked with the development of substance use disorder in adulthood.
The Untold Story of Steve McQueen: How the 'King of Cool' Met the 'King of Kings'
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Nearly 40 years after his death, acting legend Steve McQueen is still often referred to as the "King of Cool." And tonight he returns to the big screen in a powerful new film.
His rags-to-riches life story still fascinates fans, new and old. But one chapter of that story is rarely shared. And that is his journey to faith.
Steve McQueen: American Icon is in theaters one night only, September 28. Click here for more info.
McQueen overcame many hardships to become the Hollywood "boy wonder" of the 1960s and 1970s.
Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California – and a lifelong Steve McQueen fan – talked about the actor's childhood in a recent interview with CBN News.
"He had no father, and his mother really did not raise him," Laurie said.
"She was a raging alcoholic, with a lot of guys, and I tracked with that part of the story because I, too, had an alcoholic mother, married and divorced seven times and I never knew my biological father."
An American Icon
By today's Hollywood standards, Steve McQueen's resume could be considered relatively short. But he is an American icon.
"Not everybody from his generation is an icon," Laurie said.
"But James Dean, another contemporary of McQueen is an icon. Elvis is an icon. The Beatles are iconic. Certain people transcend time and they become iconic characters. I think maybe one of the things that makes a person an icon is when there is sort of a timelessness about them. In other words, when new generations can discover them."
"I actually read this article in a men's fashion magazine, and it asked the question, 'Who was cooler, Steve McQueen or James Dean?' And they were examining their lives based on the cool cars they drove . the movies they made. and kind of their fashion sense. And the conclusion was McQueen was cooler than Dean."
Laurie is such a fan of McQueen's that he owns a replica of the 1968 Bullitt Mustang McQueen made famous with his racing abilities on film. But beyond McQueen's style points and his famous car, there's an even bigger story about the movie icon that Laurie spent time chasing.
"I started delving into Steve's life more, and I had heard that he had become a Christian, and I believed it to be true, but I never had checked it out."
The Pastor Who Led Steve McQueen to Christ
"I had seen a documentary film last year. And it talked about his rise from the worst childhood imaginable to superstardom, where he was the number one star in the world, in films like Bullitt, The Great Escape, The Magnificent 7, The Thomas Crown Affair, et cetera, and then how he walked away from Hollywood and became a Christian, and I thought it this true?"
Laurie's curiosity triggered a Google search.
In that search, Laurie said, ". the name popped up Leonard DeWitt. Leonard is the pastor that led Steve to Christ and I thought, I wonder if this guy is alive still?"
"So, we tracked him down and I said, 'Are you the Leonard DeWitt that prayed with Steve McQueen?' And he said, 'Yes I am.'"
"I was amazed that Leonard did not have like a website that said, the preacher who led McQueen to Christ, that's kind of an accomplishment."
The Salvation of an American Icon
Laurie shares how Dewitt and McQueen met in his new book, Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon. He's also completing a documentary that will hit theaters in the fall.
The book and documentary also detail a special meeting between McQueen and Evangelist Billy Graham.
Doctors diagnosed McQueen with an aggressive form of cancer only months after he accepted Christ. Before McQueen flew to Mexico for surgery, he met with Billy Graham, who gave him his personal Bible for the trip.
Laurie said, "I did ask Billy about this years ago. And he, of course, confirmed the story was true."
"Steve went down, had the surgery done. After they wheel him into recovery, he was waiting in this room alone in the clinic in Juarez, Mexico, and he died. And he went into the presence of God. They came in to find Steve and they pulled the sheet back and he was holding on to that Bible."
"It was indeed Billy Graham's Bible, he was holding onto, maybe reading it, maybe reading it before the Lord called him home."
"One thing Steve said before he died was, 'My only regret in life is that I was not able to tell people about what Christ did for me.' So, I wrote a book that is out now and I am doing this documentary film because I wanted to right that wrong."
"Steve McQueen, the 'King of Cool', realized he needed Christ. So the 'King of Cool' met the 'King of Kings.'"
“The King of Cool”
When he turned 40 in 1970, Steve McQueen figured Father Time was not on his side.
Despite a film career that commanded top dollar in Hollywood and a 14-year marriage to Neile Adams and two kids, McQueen was restless.
“He was pretty much fooling around with every actress in Hollywood. He was just trying to cram everything into his life,” says Marshall Terrill, author of eight books on the film star who owned a pair of homes in Palm Springs over a span of 15 years.
In an interview Terrill did with legendary stuntman Bud Ekins, who was McQueen’s stunt double in The Great Escape, he asked why “The King of Cool” had to stray. “He goes, "You know, I asked Steve about that,” Ekins told Terrill. “Steve said, 'Look, I'm 40 years old now. My mom died when she was 50, my dad died when he was 50, and I'm going to die when I'm 50. That means I've got 10 years to live it up.'"
McQueen did, in fact, die 10 years later from cancer at age 50. Like some other celebrities who were cut down in their prime — James Dean, Elvis, and John Lennon — McQueen continues to fascinate us.
“There's something to the fact that when people die at a young age, it makes us wonder how would they have gone on with their lives,” Terrill says. “We've seen Marlon Brando get older and die. We've seen Paul Newman get older and die, and there's no intrigue with those people. We saw how their lives played out.
“When you die young, there's always the what if. What would he have done? Would he have retired from the industry? Would he have done just smaller parts? Would he have continued to make big films? What would he have done? And McQueen does not look like a guy from the '60s. He looks like a guy that could step out of the screen today and walk on the street, and he would fit in because his look was so timeless and cool. That's the other thing is the cool factor. They always say cool is forever. That just seems to transcend generations.”
Terrill recently released a new book, Steve McQueen: In His Own Words, containing 547 photographs and written as if the actor did it himself by using a collection of more than 450 quotes from interviews, published articles, personal letters, and audiotapes. Terrill speaks more on McQueen, the book, and his Palm Springs connection with Palm Springs Life.
Steve McQueen from the 1968 film, Bullitt, which grossed more than $40 million.
Was this a book you had in mind or did it just come together on its own?
I started seeing a lot of these other McQueen books that would come out one or two a year, and they would just be retreads of the same old information. I kept thinking, "Wouldn't it be interesting if Steve McQueen were allowed to tell his story in his own way, strictly in his own words with no biographer doing the narrative, and just allowing the reader to take in his words and read these quotes chronologically as he said them so that they could get a better insight into the man?" Then it took six years just to put it all together.
Where did you pull the quotes from, and which McQueen quotes resonated with you?
The sources came from every place. I've done so much research on him, and I've just collected it over the years, and I put it away in boxes. What I did was I underlined every quote that I ever came across. Then I started typing it in and putting it together in a way that made sense.
The first quote appeals to the journalist in me. The quote is, "There's nothing in the world I don't want to know." He said that because he was referring to the movie industry. He said, "I want to learn every aspect of this film industry." For example, he studied how the cinematographer would light. He would study how the editor would cut films. He studied the distribution end so that he could get the best deal possible for himself. That quote comes from that reference. I just love that idea that he wasn't a guy that was just going to be an actor, and then just tell his agent to get him the best deal possible. He wanted to know how everything worked. The second quote appeals to the cynic in me. A reporter asked him, "What has success done for you?" His quote was, "What has success done for me? Hmm. I seem to have a lot more friends."
Yeah. There was a touch of cynicism with him because he was always wondering what people wanted from him and why they made such a fuss over him, because he was a kid out of reform school. Now he's in Hollywood and everybody wants to powder his nose, and it made him very, very paranoid.
You said you looked at thousands of photos. Did any of them catch you by surprise or were hard to find?
The one that sticks out in my mind is of Slater, Missouri, and it's of the circus. When he first ran away, Steve McQueen ran away with the circus. I always thought that was a bit of mythology. When I did my book on Steve McQueen: The Life of the Legend in 2010, I actually interviewed somebody who said the circus had boxing matches, and he said, "I saw Steve watch the boxing matches, and I wanted him go into the canvas ring, and then go to the other side, and then start talking to somebody with the circus." He goes, "I never saw him again." That verified in my mind that he actually did run away to the circus.
Why did McQueen come to Palm Springs?
He came to Palm Springs in 1963, like many stars did back then just to unwind, drink beer, and ride motorcycles. His first house was at, I think it's 811 Grace Circle. There's a funny story about that. There was a contractor that wanted to come out and build his pool, and he was going to say, "I built Steve McQueen's pool," to get business. McQueen being McQueen took advantage of the situation and had him build a pool almost the entire size of the back yard. There was no room left. I like that story because that illustrates really who McQueen was.
He built his next house on Southridge.
He had a lot of money coming in from the film, Bullitt. I believed the film grossed them $42 million in 1968 dollars. I think his company at the time got 42.5 percent of that film. I think he earned $8 million in 1968 dollars, which probably would be four times the amount today, right? I interviewed Hugh Kaptur (who designed the home) and talked to him about the house. He said McQueen wanted a bachelor pad of his own that said, "This is strictly a guy's pad," even though he was married. One of the funny stories about Southridge was that he had what they call a half track. It was half tank, half car. He rode that tank up the side of that mountain that's near Araby Trail. I remember in the ‘90s going to Palm Springs, and I could still see those tracks. I don't know if you can see them now, but for years those tracks remained. A acting buddy, Don Gordon, told me that McQueen was such a fun guy, he took that half track to a drive-in movie theater there in Palm Springs, and he said, "How can you not have fun with a guy like that?"
The best story may be when McQueen met Mel Haber of Melvyn’s.
It was opening night. I think it was October in 1975. Nothing is really happening in Palm Springs but because Melvyn’s was opening, that was the happening. Everybody who was anybody came there that night. Mel took a smoking break outside, and up comes this heavily bearded, mustached guy with a beautiful woman (his second wife Ali McGraw) on the back of his motorcycle. McQueen at that time looked like a biker. Mel knew that the cream of the crop, a bunch of captains of industry and industrialists were inside his restaurant. It was a tuxedoed crowd. McQueen rolls up looking like a biker, and Mel said, "Please, buddy, any night but this. Can you come back another night and I'll buy you a drink?" McQueen just smiled at him, gunned the throttle, and took off. Mel got a lot of mileage out of that story.
People ask me all the time, "Do you think you would have gotten along with Steve McQueen?" I say, "Probably not.
— Marshall Terrill
How did you become interested in McQueen?
It started for me with my dad. My dad was the original McQueen fan in our house. When I was younger, he'd take me out of school, we'd go watch a McQueen movie together, or when it came on television, we'd sit down and watch it together. He didn't tell me till a couple years ago. I said, "Dad, when did you start liking Steve McQueen?" He goes, "Oh, I was original fan of (the TV series) Wanted: Dead or Alive. That's when it started for me." Then he watch him throughout his whole career. He passed his love of Steve McQueen, as he did of Elvis Presley, to me. McQueen is really not my generation. I came of age in the '70s. McQueen was obviously the '60s. I'm a big Beatles fan, as you know. I'm a big fan of the '60s. There's just so much great art, great artists and creativity came out of that decade. In the '70s, I was listening to stuff in the '60s, and I was considered the weirdo in school.
Did you think it would be a one-book thing and you would move on?
I did. When the original book came out in 1993, I thought it would be like. Humphrey Bogart in the '70s has his renaissance. He had his one and done and he was gone, and I thought it was going to be the same thing for Steve McQueen. He's have his renaissance. He'd have his turn in the sun one more time because people would remember him, but then it started going on almost forever, and then he got bigger and bigger.
What is a common question people ask you about McQueen?
People ask me all the time, "Do you think you would have gotten along with Steve McQueen?" I say, "Probably not. He held a real healthy disdain for journalists." I don't like being around suspicious people because they make you uneasy. I've been around a lot of movie stars and sports celebrities who are like that. They just make you feel very uncomfortable. He is an intriguing figure, that's for sure.
What are you working on now?
I got the Billy Graham biography coming out now with Greg Laurie. That's coming out in April.
A page from the book, Steve McQueen: In His Own Words.
And the next McQueen book?
I plan on doing a McQueen A to Z encyclopedia. That's never been done. It allows me to use information that I wasn't able to tell. I could say, "McQueen had a friendship with so and so." McQueen actually tried to give (the late Doors leader singer) Jim Morrison a break in the film industry because Morrison was drinking and drugging pretty heavily. McQueen was friendly with the owner of the Whiskey A-Go-Go. His name was Elmer Valentine, and the Doors played at the Whiskey all the time. Elmer asked Steve to give Jim Morrison a movie audition for a movie that he was producing, and it didn't work out. That actually went to Michael Douglas instead. It was Michael Douglas' first starring role. Just little tidbits like that that don't fit the narrative of the McQueen story, but they are just ways that I can fill in those gaps.
The king of cool- photos of Steve McQueen, just to bring a bit of “cool” into your day
Called “The King of Cool”, his “anti-hero” persona, developed at the height of the counterculture of the 1960’s, made him a top box-office draw of the 1960’s and 1970’s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Sand Pebbles. His other popular films include The Cincinnati Kid, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, The Getaway, and Papillon,, as well as the all-star ensemble films The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, and The Towering Inferno.
Steve McQueen in The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery.Source
Steve McQueen Mugshot Booking photograph in Alaska 1972.Source
Steven McQueen was born on March 24, 1930, in Beech Grove, Indiana at St. Francis Hospital. His father, William Terence McQueen, a stunt pilot for a barnstorming flying circus, left McQueen’s mother, Julia Ann (née Crawford), six months after meeting her. Julia allegedly was an alcoholic and sometime prostitute. Unable to cope with caring for a small child, she left him with her parents (Victor and Lillian) in Slater, Missouri, in 1933. As the Great Depression set in shortly thereafter, McQueen and his grandparents moved in with Lillian’s brother Claude at his farm in Slater. McQueen was raised as a Catholic.
Screenshot of Steve McQueen in the film The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959)..Source
In 1947, McQueen joined the United States Marine Corps and was promoted to private first class and assigned to an armored unit. Initially, he reverted to his prior rebelliousness and was demoted to private seven times. He took an unauthorized absence by failing to return after a weekend pass expired, staying with a girlfriend for two weeks until the shore patrol caught him. He resisted arrest and spent 41 days in the brig. After this, he resolved to focus his energies on self-improvement and embraced the Marines’ discipline. He saved the lives of five other Marines during an Arctic exercise, pulling them from a tank before it broke through ice into the sea. He was assigned to the honor guard, responsible for guarding then US President Harry Truman’s yacht. McQueen served until 1950 when he was honorably discharged. He later said he had enjoyed his time in the Marines
Photo of Steve McQueen as Josh Randall from an episode of the television program Wanted Dead or Alive dated August 21, 1959.Source
In 1952, with financial assistance provided by the G.I. Bill, McQueen began studying acting in New York at Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse. Purportedly, the future “King of Cool” delivered his first dialogue on a theater stage in a 1952 play produced by Yiddish theater star Molly Picon. McQueen’s character spoke one brief line: “Alts iz farloyrn.” (“All is lost.“). During this time, he also studied acting with Stella Adler in whose class he met Gia Scala.
McQueen with Virginia Gregg in Wanted Dead or Alive, 1959.Source
McQueen with two forms of transportation in 1960.Source
In 1974, he became the highest-paid movie star in the world, although he did not act in films again for four years. McQueen was combative with directors and producers, but his popularity placed him in high demand and enabled him to command large salaries.
McQueen and then-wife Neile Adams in the Man from the South episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 1960. Source
McQueen was an avid motorcycle and racecar enthusiast. When he had the opportunity to drive in a movie, he performed many of his own stunts, including some of the car chase in Bullitt and the motorcycle chase in The Great Escape. Although the jump over the fence in The Great Escape was done by Bud Ekins for insurance purposes, McQueen did have considerable screen time riding his 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy motorcycle. It was difficult to find riders as skilled as McQueen. At one point, using editing, McQueen is seen in a German uniform chasing himself on another bike. Around half of the driving in Bullitt was performed by Loren Janes