Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen

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Terrence Steven "Steve" McQueen (March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980) was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 movie actor. He was nicknamed "The King of Cool." His "anti-hero
Anti-hero
In fiction, an antihero is generally considered to be a protagonist whose character is at least in some regards conspicuously contrary to that of the archetypal hero, and is in some instances its antithesis in which the character is generally useless at being a hero or heroine when they're...

" persona, which he developed at the height of the Vietnam counterculture
Counterculture of the 1960s
The counterculture of the 1960s refers to a cultural movement that mainly developed in the United States and spread throughout much of the western world between 1960 and 1973. The movement gained momentum during the U.S. government's extensive military intervention in Vietnam...

, made him one of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and 1970s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Sand Pebbles
The Sand Pebbles (film)
The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 American period war film directed by Robert Wise. It tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy Machinist's Mate aboard the fictional gunboat USS San Pablo in 1920s China....

. His other popular films include The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven is an American Western film directed by John Sturges, and released in 1960. It is a fictional tale of a group of seven American gunmen who are hired to protect a small agricultural village in Mexico from a group of marauding Mexican bandits...

, The Great Escape
The Great Escape (film)
The Great Escape is a 1963 American film about an escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough...

, The Thomas Crown Affair
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 film)
The Thomas Crown Affair is a 1968 film by Norman Jewison starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. It was nominated for two Academy Awards and won the Award for Best Song with Michel Legrand's "Windmills of Your Mind"...

, Bullitt
Bullitt
Bullitt is a 1968 American police procedural film starring Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Vaughn. It was directed by Peter Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. The story was adapted for the screen by Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner, based on the 1963 novel Mute Witness by Robert L....

, The Getaway
The Getaway (1972 film)
The Getaway is a 1972 American action-crime film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw.The film is based on a novel by Jim Thompson, with the screenplay written by Walter Hill...

, Papillon
Papillon (film)
Papillon is a 1973 film based on the best-selling novel by the French convict Henri Charrière.This motion picture was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, starring Steve McQueen as Henri Charrière , and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega...

, and The Towering Inferno
The Towering Inferno
The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American action disaster film produced by Irwin Allen featuring an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.A co-production between Twentieth Century-Fox and Warner Bros...

. In 1974, he became the highest-paid movie star in the world. Although McQueen was combative with directors
Film director
A film director is a person who directs the actors and film crew in filmmaking. They control a film's artistic and dramatic nathan roach, while guiding the technical crew and actors.-Responsibilities:...

 and producers
Film producer
A film producer oversees and delivers a film project to all relevant parties while preserving the integrity, voice and vision of the film. They will also often take on some financial risk by using their own money, especially during the pre-production period, before a film is fully financed.The...

, his popularity put him in high demand and enabled him to command large salaries.

He was an avid racer of both motorcycles and cars. While he studied acting, he supported himself partly by competing in weekend motorcycle races and bought his first motorcycle with his winnings. He is recognized for performing many of his own stunts, but one of the most widely claimed and cherished examples of this – that he did the majority of the stunt driving for his character during the high-speed chase scene in Bullitt
Bullitt
Bullitt is a 1968 American police procedural film starring Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Vaughn. It was directed by Peter Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. The story was adapted for the screen by Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner, based on the 1963 novel Mute Witness by Robert L....

– was revealed not to be true by his most trusted stuntman and stunt driver Loren James. McQueen also designed and patented a bucket seat
Bucket seat
A bucket seat is a seat contoured to hold one person, distinct from bench seats which are flat platforms designed to seat multiple people. Bucket seats are standard in fast cars to keep riders in place when making sharp or quick turns...

 and transbrake
Transbrake
In drag racing, a transbrake is a mechanism that selectively places the transmission in first and reverse gears simultaneously, effectively holding the race car stationary as if the foot brake was applied. The transbrake is activated by the driver by applying electrical current to a solenoid at the...

 for race cars.

Early life


McQueen was born Terrence Steven McQueen in Beech Grove, Indiana
Beech Grove, Indiana
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,880 people, 6,085 households, and 3,839 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,462.5 people per square mile . There were 6,506 housing units at an average density of 1,513.9 per square mile...

, a suburb of Indianapolis
Indianapolis
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

, in Marion County
Marion County, Indiana
Marion County is a county located in the U.S. state of Indiana. Census 2010 recorded a population of 903,393, making it the largest county in the state and 55th most populated county in the country, greater than the population of six states. The county seat is Indianapolis, the state capital and...

. His father, Terrence William McQueen, a stunt pilot for a barnstorming flying circus
Barnstorming
Barnstorming was a popular form of entertainment in the 1920s in which stunt pilots would perform tricks with airplanes, either individually or in groups called a flying circus. Barnstorming was the first major form of civil aviation in the history of flight...

, abandoned McQueen and his mother when McQueen was six months old. His mother, Julian (née
Married and maiden names
A married name is the family name adopted by a person upon marriage. When a person assumes the family name of her spouse, the new name replaces the maiden name....

 Crawford), was a young, rebellious alcoholic
Alcoholism
Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing...

.

Unable to cope with bringing up a small child, she left him with her parents (Victor and Lillian) in Slater, Missouri
Slater, Missouri
Slater is a city in Saline County, Missouri, United States. The population was 2,083 at the 2000 census.-Geography:Slater is located at...

, in 1933. Shortly thereafter, as the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 set in, McQueen and his grandparents moved in with Lillian's brother Claude to the latter's farm in Slater. McQueen was raised as a Roman Catholic.

He had good memories of the time spent on his great-uncle Claude's farm. In recalling Claude, McQueen stated "He was a very good man, very strong, very fair. I learned a lot from him." On McQueen's fourth birthday, Claude gave him a red tricycle
Tricycle
A tricycle is a three-wheeled vehicle. While tricycles are often associated with the small three-wheeled vehicles used by pre-school-age children, they are also used by adults for a variety of purposes. In the United States and Canada, adult-sized tricycles are used primarily by older persons for...

, which McQueen later claimed started his interest in racing. At age 8, he was taken back by his mother and lived with her and her new husband in Indianapolis
Indianapolis
Indianapolis is the capital of the U.S. state of Indiana, and the county seat of Marion County, Indiana. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city's population is 839,489. It is by far Indiana's largest city and, as of the 2010 U.S...

. McQueen retained a special memory of leaving the farm: "The day I left the farm Uncle Claude gave me a personal going-away present; a gold pocket watch, with an inscription inside the case." The inscription read: "To Steve -- who has been a son to me."

McQueen, who was dyslexic and partially deaf as a result of a childhood ear infection, did not adjust well to his new life. Within a couple of years he was running with a street gang and committing acts of petty crime. Unable to control McQueen's behavior, his mother sent him back to Slater again. A couple of years later, when McQueen was 12, Julian wrote to Claude asking that McQueen be returned to her once again, to live in her new home in Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles , with a population at the 2010 United States Census of 3,792,621, is the most populous city in California, USA and the second most populous in the United States, after New York City. It has an area of , and is located in Southern California...

. Julian, whose second marriage had ended in divorce, had married a third time.

This began an unsettled period in McQueen's life. By McQueen's own account, he and his new stepfather "locked horns immediately." McQueen recounted him as "a prime son of a bitch" who was not averse to using his fists on both McQueen and his mother. As McQueen began to rebel once again, he was sent back to live with Claude a final time. At age 14, McQueen left Claude's farm without saying goodbye and joined a circus for a short time, after which he slowly drifted back to his mother and stepfather in Los Angeles, and resumed his life as a gang member and petty criminal. On one occasion, McQueen was caught stealing hubcaps by police, who handed him over to his stepfather. The latter proceeded to beat McQueen severely, and ended the fight by throwing McQueen down a flight of stairs. McQueen looked up at his stepfather and said, "You lay your stinkin' hands on me again and I swear, I'll kill ya."

After this, McQueen's stepfather convinced Julian to sign a court order stating that McQueen was incorrigible and remanding him to the California Junior Boys Republic in Chino, California
Chino, California
Chino is a city in San Bernardino County, California, United States. It is located in the western end of the Riverside-San Bernardino Area and it is easily accessible via the Chino Valley and Pomona freeways....

. Here, McQueen slowly began to change and mature. He was not popular with the other boys at first: "Say the boys had a chance once a month to load into a bus and go into town to see a movie. And they lost out because one guy in the bungalow didn't get his work done right. Well, you can pretty well guess they're gonna have something to say about that. I paid his dues with the other fellows quite a few times. I got my lumps, no doubt about it. The other guys in the bungalow had ways of paying you back for interfering with their well-being."

Ultimately, however, McQueen decided to give Boys Republic a fair shot. He became a role model for the other boys when he was elected to the Boys Council, a group who made the rules and regulations governing the boys' lives. (He eventually left Boys Republic at 16 and when he later became famous, he regularly returned to talk to the boys there. He also personally responded to every letter he received from the boys there, and retained a lifelong association.)

After McQueen left Chino, he returned to Julian, now living in Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village
Greenwich Village, , , , .in New York often simply called "the Village", is a largely residential neighborhood on the west side of Lower Manhattan in New York City. A large majority of the district is home to upper middle class families...

, but almost immediately left again. He then met two sailors from the Merchant Marine and volunteered to serve on a ship bound for the Dominican Republic
Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is a nation on the island of La Hispaniola, part of the Greater Antilles archipelago in the Caribbean region. The western third of the island is occupied by the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of two Caribbean islands that are shared by two countries...

. Once there, he abandoned his new post, eventually making his way to Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, and drifted from job to job. He worked as a janitor in a brothel
Brothel
Brothels are business establishments where patrons can engage in sexual activities with prostitutes. Brothels are known under a variety of names, including bordello, cathouse, knocking shop, whorehouse, strumpet house, sporting house, house of ill repute, house of prostitution, and bawdy house...

, as an oil rigger, as a trinket salesman in a carnival, and as a lumberjack
Lumberjack
A lumberjack is a worker in the logging industry who performs the initial harvesting and transport of trees for ultimate processing into forest products. The term usually refers to a bygone era when hand tools were used in harvesting trees principally from virgin forest...

.

Military service


In 1947, McQueen joined the United States Marine Corps
United States Marine Corps
The United States Marine Corps is a branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for providing power projection from the sea, using the mobility of the United States Navy to deliver combined-arms task forces rapidly. It is one of seven uniformed services of the United States...

 and was quickly promoted to Private First Class
Private First Class
Private First Class is a military rank held by junior enlisted persons.- Singapore :The rank of Private First Class in the Singapore Armed Forces lies between the ranks of Private and Lance-Corporal . It is usually held by conscript soldiers midway through their national service term...

 and assigned to an armored unit. Initially, he reverted to his prior rebelliousness, and as a result was demoted to private seven times. He went UA (unauthorized absence) by failing to return after a weekend pass had expired. He instead stayed away with a girlfriend for two weeks, until the shore patrol
Shore patrol
Shore patrol are service members that are provided to aid in security for the U.S. Navy, United States Coast Guard, United States Marine Corps, and the British Royal Navy while on shore...

 caught him. He resisted arrest and as a result spent 41 days in the brig
Military prison
A military prison is a prison operated by the military. Military prisons are used variously to house prisoners of war, enemy combatants, those whose freedom is deemed a national security risk by the military or national authorities, and members of the military found guilty of a serious crime...

.

After this, McQueen resolved to focus his energies on self-improvement and embraced the Marines' discipline
Discipline
In its original sense, discipline is referred to systematic instruction given to disciples to train them as students in a craft or trade, or to follow a particular code of conduct or "order". Often, the phrase "to discipline" carries a negative connotation. This is because enforcement of order –...

. 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 also assigned to an honor guard responsible for guarding then-U.S. President
President
A president is a leader of an organization, company, trade union, university, or country.Etymologically, a president is one who presides, who sits in leadership...

 Harry Truman's yacht. McQueen served until 1950 when he was honorably discharged.

Acting


In 1952, with financial assistance provided by the G.I. Bill, McQueen began studying acting at Sanford Meisner
Sanford Meisner
Sanford Meisner , also known as Sandy, was an American actor and acting teacher who developed a form of Method acting that is now known as the Meisner technique....

's Neighborhood Playhouse. He also began to earn money by competing in weekend motorcycle races at Long Island City Raceway and purchased the first of many motorcycles, a used Harley Davidson. He soon became an excellent racer, and came home each weekend with about $100 in winnings, or about $805 in 2009 dollars adjusted for inflation. He appeared as a musical judge in an episode of ABC
American Broadcasting Company
The American Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network. Created in 1943 from the former NBC Blue radio network, ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company and is part of Disney-ABC Television Group. Its first broadcast on television was in 1948...

's Jukebox Jury
Jukebox Jury
Jukebox Jury was an hour-long television series hosted by disc jockey Peter Potter which aired in the 1953-54 season on the American Broadcasting Company. It was thereafter syndicated in 1959....

, which aired in the 1953–1954 season.

After several minor roles in productions including Peg o' My Heart, The Member of the Wedding
The Member of the Wedding
The Member of the Wedding is a 1946 novel by Southern writer Carson McCullers. It took McCullers five years to complete—though she interrupted the work for a few months to write the short novel The Ballad of the Sad Cafe....

, and Two Fingers of Pride, McQueen landed his first film role in Somebody Up There Likes Me
Somebody Up There Likes Me (film)
Somebody Up There Likes Me is a 1956 American drama film based on the life of middleweight boxing legend Rocky Graziano. Joseph Ruttenberg was awarded a 1956 Oscar in the category of Best Cinematography . The film also won the Oscar for Best Art Direction Somebody Up There Likes Me is a 1956...

, directed by Robert Wise
Robert Wise
Robert Earl Wise was an American sound effects editor, film editor, film producer and director...

 and starring Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

. He made his Broadway
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 debut in 1955 in the play A Hatful of Rain
A Hatful of Rain
A Hatful of Rain is a 1957 dramatic film. The movie was a rarity for its time in its frank depiction of the effect of drug addiction.It is a medically and sociologically accurate account of the effects of morphine on an addict and his family ....

, starring Ben Gazzara
Ben Gazzara
-Early life:Gazzara was born Biagio Anthony Gazzara in New York City, the son of Italian immigrants Angelina and Antonio Gazzara, who was a laborer and carpenter. Gazzara grew up on New York's tough Lower East Side. He actually lived on E. 29th Street and participated in the drama program at...

. When McQueen appeared in a two-part television presentation entitled The Defenders, Hollywood manager Hilly Elkins
Hillard Elkins
Hillard Elkins was an American theatre and film producer.Born in Brooklyn in New York City, Elkins attended Erasmus Hall and Midwood High Schools and Brooklyn College...

 (who managed McQueen's first wife, Neile) took note of him and decided that B-movie
B-movie
A B movie is a low-budget commercial motion picture that is not definitively an arthouse or pornographic film. In its original usage, during the Golden Age of Hollywood, the term more precisely identified a film intended for distribution as the less-publicized, bottom half of a double feature....

s would be a good place for the young actor to make his mark. McQueen was subsequently hired to appear in the films Never Love a Stranger
Never Love a Stranger
Never Love A Stranger is a 1958 crime and gangster film shot in black and white starring John Drew Barrymore, Lita Milan, and Robert Bray, and featuring a young Steve McQueen....

, The Blob
The Blob
The Blob is an independently made 1958 American horror/science-fiction film that depicts a giant amoeba-like alien that terrorizes the small community of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania...

(his first leading role), and The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery
The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery
The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery is a 1959 heist film shot in black and white. The noir film stars Steve McQueen as a college dropout hired to be the getaway driver in a bank robbery. The film is based on a 1953 bank robbery attempt of Southwest Bank in St. Louis. The film was shot on location in...

.

In late 1955, at the age of 25, McQueen left New York and headed for California, where he moved into a house on Vestal Avenue in the Echo Park area and began seeking acting jobs in Hollywood.

McQueen's first breakout role did not come in film, but on TV. Elkins successfully lobbied Vincent M. Fennelly, producer of the Western
Western (genre)
The Western is a genre of various visual arts, such as film, television, radio, literature, painting and others. Westerns are devoted to telling stories set primarily in the latter half of the 19th century in the American Old West, hence the name. Some Westerns are set as early as the Battle of...

 series Trackdown
Trackdown
Trackdown is an American Western television series starring Robert Culp that aired on CBS between 1957 and 1959. The series offered more than seventy episodes and was produced by Dick Powell's Four Star Television and filmed at the Desilu-Culver Studio...

, to have McQueen read for the part of bounty hunter
Bounty hunter
A bounty hunter captures fugitives for a monetary reward . Other names, mainly used in the United States, include bail enforcement agent and fugitive recovery agent.-Laws in the U.S.:...

 Josh Randall in an episode for Trackdown. McQueen appeared as Randall in the episode, working opposite series lead and old New York motorcycle racing buddy Robert Culp
Robert Culp
Robert Martin Culp was an American actor, scriptwriter, voice actor and director, widely known for his work in television. Culp first earned an international reputation for his role as Kelly Robinson on I Spy , the espionage series in which he and co-star Bill Cosby played a pair of secret agents...

, after which McQueen filmed the pilot episode. The pilot was approved for a series titled Wanted: Dead or Alive on CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

 in September 1958.

In the interviews included in the DVD release of "Wanted", Trackdowns star Robert Culp
Robert Culp
Robert Martin Culp was an American actor, scriptwriter, voice actor and director, widely known for his work in television. Culp first earned an international reputation for his role as Kelly Robinson on I Spy , the espionage series in which he and co-star Bill Cosby played a pair of secret agents...

 takes credit for first bringing McQueen to Hollywood and landing him the part of Randall. He claims to have taught McQueen the "art of the fast-draw", adding that, on the second day of filming, McQueen beat him. McQueen became a household name as a result of this series. Randall's special holster held a sawed-off .44-40 Winchester rifle
Winchester rifle
In common usage, Winchester rifle usually means any of the lever-action rifles manufactured by the Winchester Repeating Arms Company, though the company has also manufactured many rifles of other action types...

 nicknamed the "Mare's Leg
Mare's Leg
The Mare’s Leg was the name given to a customized shortened rifle by Steve McQueen’s character on the television series Wanted: Dead or Alive...

" instead of the standard six-gun carried by the typical Western character, although the cartridges seen in the gunbelt were dummy .45-70, chosen because they "looked tougher". Coupled with the generally negative image of the bounty hunter (noted in the three-part DVD special on the background of the series) this added to the anti-hero
Anti-hero
In fiction, an antihero is generally considered to be a protagonist whose character is at least in some regards conspicuously contrary to that of the archetypal hero, and is in some instances its antithesis in which the character is generally useless at being a hero or heroine when they're...

 image infused with a mixture of mystery and detachment that made this show stand out from the typical TV Western. The 94 episodes, filmed at Apacheland Studio from 1958 until early 1961, kept McQueen steadily employed.

At 29, McQueen got a significant break when Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

 removed Sammy Davis, Jr.
Sammy Davis, Jr.
Samuel George "Sammy" Davis Jr. was an American entertainer and was also known for his impersonations of actors and other celebrities....

 from the film Never So Few
Never So Few
Never So Few 1959 CinemaScope war film directed by John Sturges and starring Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, Charles Bronson, Dean Jones and Steve McQueen with uncredited roles by renowned Asian actors Mako, George Takei and James Hong. The script was loosely based on an actual OSS...

 after Davis supposedly made some mildly negative remarks about Sinatra in a radio interview, and Davis' role went to McQueen. Sinatra saw something special in McQueen and ensured that the young actor got plenty of good close-ups in a role that earned McQueen favorable reviews. McQueen's character, Bill Ringa, was never more comfortable than when driving at high speed—in this case at the wheel of a jeep—or handling a switchblade or a tommy-gun.

After Never So Few, the film's director John Sturges
John Sturges
John Eliot Sturges was an American film director. His movies include Bad Day at Black Rock , Gunfight at the O.K. Corral , The Magnificent Seven , The Great Escape and Ice Station Zebra .-Career:He started his career in Hollywood as an editor in 1932...

 cast McQueen in his next movie, promising to "give him the camera."
The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven
The Magnificent Seven is an American Western film directed by John Sturges, and released in 1960. It is a fictional tale of a group of seven American gunmen who are hired to protect a small agricultural village in Mexico from a group of marauding Mexican bandits...

(1960), with Yul Brynner
Yul Brynner
Yul Brynner was a Russian-born actor of stage and film. He was best known for his portrayal of Mongkut, king of Siam, in the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I, for which he won an Academy Award for Best Actor for the film version; he also played the role more than 4,500 times on...

, Robert Vaughn
Robert Vaughn
Robert Francis Vaughn, , is an American actor noted for stage, film and television work. His best known roles include the suave spy Napoleon Solo in the 1960s television series The Man from U.N.C.L.E., wealthy detective Harry Rule in the 1970s television series The Protectors, Albert Stroller in...

, Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson
Charles Bronson , born Charles Dennis Buchinsky was an American actor, best-known for such films as Once Upon a Time in the West, The Magnificent Seven, The Dirty Dozen, The Great Escape, Rider on the Rain, The Mechanic, and the popular Death Wish series...

 and James Coburn
James Coburn
James Harrison Coburn III was an American film and television actor. Coburn appeared in nearly 70 films and made over 100 television appearances during his 45-year career, and played a wide range of roles and won an Academy Award for his supporting role as Glen Whitehouse in Affliction.A capable,...

, became McQueen's first major hit and led to his withdrawal from
Wanted: Dead or Alive. McQueen's focused portrayal of the taciturn second lead catapulted his career. His added touches in each scene, such as shaking each shotgun round before loading it and wiping his hat rim, annoyed co-star Brynner, who protested that McQueen was trying to steal the scene . Brynner also refused to draw his gun in the same scene with Steve, not wanting to have his character outdrawn .

McQueen played the lead in the next big Sturges film, 1963's The Great Escape
The Great Escape (film)
The Great Escape is a 1963 American film about an escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough...

, which gave Hollywood's depiction of the otherwise true story of an historical mass escape from a World War II POW camp, Stalag Luft III
Stalag Luft III
Stalag Luft III was a Luftwaffe-run prisoner-of-war camp during World War II that housed captured air force servicemen. It was in the German Province of Lower Silesia near the town of Sagan , southeast of Berlin...

. Insurance concerns prevented McQueen from performing the film's widely noted motorcycle leap, which was instead done by his friend and fellow cycle enthusiast Bud Ekins
Bud Ekins
Bud Ekins was one of the foremost stuntmen of his generation. Born James Sherwin Ekins in Hollywood, California, he is known to most as the actor who jumped the fence on a disguised Triumph TR6 Trophy 650cc motorcycle in The Great Escape, and who drove the Ford Mustang 390 GT in Bullitt...

 who resembled McQueen from a distance. When Johnny Carson
Johnny Carson
John William "Johnny" Carson was an American television host and comedian, known as host of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for 30 years . Carson received six Emmy Awards including the Governor Award and a 1985 Peabody Award; he was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame in 1987...

 later tried to congratulate McQueen for the jump during a broadcast of The Tonight Show
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson is a talk show hosted by Johnny Carson under the Tonight Show franchise from 1962 to 1992. It originally aired during late-night....

, McQueen said, "It wasn't me. That was Bud Ekins." This film established McQueen's box-office clout and cemented his status as a superstar.

In 1963, McQueen starred with Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood, born Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko was an American film and television actress. After first working in films as a child, Wood became a successful Hollywood star as a young adult, receiving three Academy Award nominations before she was 25 years old.Wood began acting in movies at the...

 in
Love with the Proper Stranger
Love with the Proper Stranger
Love with the Proper Stranger is a 1963 romantic comedy drama film made by Pakula-Mulligan Productions and Boardwalk Productions and released by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Robert Mulligan and produced by Alan J. Pakula from a screenplay by Arnold Schulman.The film stars Natalie Wood,...

. He later appeared in a prequel
Prequel
A prequel is a work that supplements a previously completed one, and has an earlier time setting.The widely recognized term was a 20th-century neologism, and a portmanteau from pre- and sequel...

 as the titular
Nevada Smith
Nevada Smith
Nevada Smith is a 1966 American Western film starring Steve McQueen and made by Embassy Pictures and Solar Productions, in association with and released by Paramount Pictures. The movie was produced and directed by Henry Hathaway with Joseph E...

, a character from Harold Robbins
Harold Robbins
Harold Robbins was one of the best-selling American authors of all time. During his career, he wrote over 25 best-sellers, selling over 750 million copies in 32 languages....

'
The Carpetbaggers
The Carpetbaggers
The Carpetbaggers is the title of a 1961 bestselling novel by Harold Robbins, which was adapted into a 1964 film of the same title.The term "carpetbagger" refers to an outsider relocating to exploit locals . It derives from post-bellum South usage, where it referred specifically to opportunistic...

who had been portrayed by Alan Ladd
Alan Ladd
-Early life:Ladd was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas. He was the only child of Ina Raleigh Ladd and Alan Ladd, Sr. He was of English ancestry. His father died when he was four, and his mother relocated to Oklahoma City where she married Jim Beavers, a housepainter...

 two years earlier in a movie version of that novel. McQueen also earned his only Academy Award
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 nomination in 1966 for his role as an engine room sailor in
The Sand Pebbles
The Sand Pebbles (film)
The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 American period war film directed by Robert Wise. It tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy Machinist's Mate aboard the fictional gunboat USS San Pablo in 1920s China....

, in which he starred opposite Richard Attenborough
Richard Attenborough
Richard Samuel Attenborough, Baron Attenborough , CBE is a British actor, director, producer and entrepreneur. As director and producer he won two Academy Awards for the 1982 film Gandhi...

 and Candice Bergen
Candice Bergen
Candice Patricia Bergen is an American actress and former fashion model.She is known for starring in two TV series, as the title character on the situation comedy Murphy Brown , for which she won five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards; and as Shirley Schmidt on the comedy-drama Boston Legal...

.

He followed his Oscar nomination with 1968's
Bullitt
Bullitt
Bullitt is a 1968 American police procedural film starring Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Vaughn. It was directed by Peter Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. The story was adapted for the screen by Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner, based on the 1963 novel Mute Witness by Robert L....

, one of his most famous films, co-starring Jacqueline Bisset
Jacqueline Bisset
Jacqueline Bisset is an English actress. She has been nominated for four Golden Globe Awards and an Emmy Award. She is known for her roles in the films Bullitt , Airport , The Deep , Class , and the TV series Nip/Tuck in 2006...

 and Robert Vaughn. It featured an unprecedented (and endlessly imitated) auto chase through San Francisco. Although McQueen did do the driving that appeared in closeup, this was only about 10% of what is seen in the film. The rest of the driving by the McQueen character was done by famed stunt drivers Bud Ekins and Loren James.

McQueen then went for a change of image, playing a debonair role as a wealthy executive in The Thomas Crown Affair
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 film)
The Thomas Crown Affair is a 1968 film by Norman Jewison starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. It was nominated for two Academy Awards and won the Award for Best Song with Michel Legrand's "Windmills of Your Mind"...

with Faye Dunaway
Faye Dunaway
Faye Dunaway is an American actress.Dunaway won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Network after receiving previous nominations for the critically acclaimed films Bonnie and Clyde and Chinatown...

 in 1968. He made the Southern period piece
Period piece
-Setting:In the performing arts, a period piece is a work set in a particular era. This informal term covers all countries, all periods and all genres...

 
The Reivers
The Reivers (film)
The Reivers is a 1969 film directed by Mark Rydell based on the William Faulkner novel of the same name...

in 1969, followed by the 1971 auto-racing drama Le Mans
Le Mans (film)
Le Mans is a 1971 action film directed by Lee H. Katzin. Starring Steve McQueen, it features footage from the actual 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race....

.

Then came
The Getaway
The Getaway (1972 film)
The Getaway is a 1972 American action-crime film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw.The film is based on a novel by Jim Thompson, with the screenplay written by Walter Hill...

during which he met future wife Ali MacGraw
Ali MacGraw
Elizabeth Alice "Ali" MacGraw is an American actress. She is known for her role in Love Story, for which she won a Golden Globe and received an Academy Award nomination.-Early life:...

. He worked for director Sam Peckinpah
Sam Peckinpah
David Samuel "Sam" Peckinpah was an American filmmaker and screenwriter who achieved prominence following the release of the Western epic The Wild Bunch...

 again with the leading role in
Junior Bonner
Junior Bonner
Junior Bonner is a film released in 1972 directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen, Joe Don Baker, Robert Preston and Ida Lupino. The film focuses on a veteran rodeo rider as he returns to his hometown of Prescott, Arizona to participate in an annual rodeo competition and reunite with...

in 1972, a story of an aging rodeo rider. He followed this with a physically demanding role as a Devils Island prisoner in 1973's Papillon
Papillon (film)
Papillon is a 1973 film based on the best-selling novel by the French convict Henri Charrière.This motion picture was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, starring Steve McQueen as Henri Charrière , and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega...

featuring Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Hoffman
Dustin Lee Hoffman is an American actor with a career in film, television, and theatre since 1960. He has been known for his versatile portrayals of antiheroes and vulnerable characters....

 as his character's tragic sidekick
Sidekick
A sidekick is a close companion who is generally regarded as subordinate to the one he accompanies. Some well-known fictional sidekicks are Don Quixote's Sancho Panza, Sherlock Holmes' Doctor Watson, The Lone Ranger's Tonto, The Green Hornet's Kato and Batman's Robin.-Origins:The origin of the...

.
By the time of
The Getaway, McQueen had become the world's highest paid actor. But after 1974's The Towering Inferno
The Towering Inferno (film)
The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American action disaster film produced by Irwin Allen featuring an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.A co-production between Twentieth Century-Fox and Warner Bros...

, co-starring with his long-time personal friend and chief professional rival Paul Newman
Paul Newman
Paul Leonard Newman was an American actor, film director, entrepreneur, humanitarian, professional racing driver and auto racing enthusiast...

 and reuniting him with Dunaway, became a tremendous box-office success, McQueen all but disappeared from Hollywood and the public eye, preferring to focus on motorcycle racing and traveling around the country in a motorhome
Motorhome
A motorhome is a type of self-propelled recreational vehicle or RV which offers living accommodation combined with a vehicle engine. The term motorhome is most commonly used in the UK, US, and Canada.-Features:...

 and on one of his vintage Indian
Indian (motorcycle)
Indian is an American brand of motorcycles. Indian motorcycles were manufactured from 1901 to 1953 by a company in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, initially known as the Hendee Manufacturing Company but which was renamed the Indian Manufacturing Company in 1928. The Indian factory team took the...

 motorcycles. He did not return to acting until 1978 with An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People
An Enemy of the People is an 1882 play by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen wrote it in response to the public outcry against his play Ghosts, which at that time was considered scandalous...

, playing against type as a heavily bearded, bespectacled 19th-century doctor in this adaptation of a Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen
Henrik Ibsen was a major 19th-century Norwegian playwright, theatre director, and poet. He is often referred to as "the father of prose drama" and is one of the founders of Modernism in the theatre...

 play. The film was shown briefly in theaters and was never released on home video.

His last films were both loosely based on true stories:
Tom Horn
Tom Horn (film)
Tom Horn is a 1980 western film about the legendary lawman, outlaw, and gunfighter. It starred Steve McQueen as the title character and was based on Horn's own writings.-Plot:...

, a Western adventure about a former Army scout turned professional gunman who worked for the big cattle ranchers, hunting down rustlers, and who was later hanged for murder in the shooting death of a sheepherder, and then The Hunter, an urban action movie about a modern-day bounty hunter
Bounty hunter
A bounty hunter captures fugitives for a monetary reward . Other names, mainly used in the United States, include bail enforcement agent and fugitive recovery agent.-Laws in the U.S.:...

, both released in 1980.

Missed roles


McQueen was offered the lead role in
Breakfast at Tiffany's but was unable to accept due to his Wanted: Dead or Alive contract (the role went to George Peppard
George Peppard
George Peppard, Jr. was an American film and television actor.Peppard secured a major role when he starred alongside Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's , portrayed a character based on Howard Hughes in The Carpetbaggers , and played the title role of the millionaire sleuth Thomas Banacek in...

). He also turned down
Ocean's Eleven
Ocean's Eleven (1960 film)
Ocean's 11 is a 1960 heist film directed by Lewis Milestone and starring five Rat Packers: Peter Lawford, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis, Jr., and Joey Bishop....

,
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a 1969 American Western film directed by George Roy Hill and written by William Goldman...

(his attorneys and agents could not agree with Paul Newman's attorneys and agents on who got top billing), The Driver
The Driver
The Driver is a 1978 crime film directed by Walter Hill and starring Ryan O'Neal, Bruce Dern, and Isabelle Adjani. Based upon similarities in plot elements, it is heavily influenced by Jean-Pierre Melville's film Le Samouraï...

, Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now
Apocalypse Now is a 1979 American war film set during the Vietnam War, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The central character is US Army special operations officer Captain Benjamin L. Willard , of MACV-SOG, an assassin sent to kill the renegade and presumed insane Special Forces...

, California Split
California Split
California Split is a 1974 film directed by Robert Altman and starring Elliott Gould and George Segal as a pair of gamblers. It was the first non-Cinerama movie to use eight-track stereo sound.-Plot:...

, Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry
Dirty Harry is a 1971 American crime thriller produced and directed by Don Siegel, the first in the Dirty Harry series. Clint Eastwood plays the title role, in his first outing as San Francisco Police Department Inspector "Dirty" Harry Callahan....

and The French Connection
The French Connection (film)
This article is about the 1971 film. For the British fashion label, see French Connection .The French Connection is a 1971 American crime film directed by William Friedkin. The film was adapted and fictionalized by Ernest Tidyman from the non-fiction book by Robin Moore...

 (he did not want to do another cop film).

According to director John Frankenheimer
John Frankenheimer
John Michael Frankenheimer was an American film and television director known for social dramas and action/suspense films...

 and actor James Garner
James Garner
James Garner is an American film and television actor, one of the first Hollywood actors to excel in both media. He has starred in several television series spanning a career of more than five decades...

 in bonus interviews for the DVD of the film "Grand Prix," McQueen was Frankenheimer's first choice for the lead role of American Formula One race car driver Pete Aron. Frankenheimer was unable to meet with McQueen to offer him the role and instead sent an assistant who clashed personally with McQueen. The role instead went to Garner.

He was the first choice for director Steven Spielberg
Steven Spielberg
Steven Allan Spielberg KBE is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, video game designer, and studio entrepreneur. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg's films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg's early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as an...

 for Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Richard Dreyfuss, François Truffaut, Melinda Dillon, Teri Garr, Bob Balaban, and Cary Guffey...

. According to Spielberg on a documentary on the Close Encounters DVD, Spielberg met him at a bar, where McQueen drank beer after beer. Before leaving, McQueen told Spielberg that he could not accept the role because he was unable to cry on cue. Spielberg offered to take the crying scene out of the movie, but McQueen demurred, saying that it was the best scene in the whole script. The role eventually went to Richard Dreyfuss
Richard Dreyfuss
Richard Stephen Dreyfuss is an American actor best known for starring in a number of film, television, and theater roles since the late 1960s, including the films American Graffiti, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Goodbye Girl, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Stakeout, Always, What About...

.

McQueen expressed interest in starring as the Rambo
John Rambo
John Rambo is an iconic fictional character and the basis of the Rambo saga. He first appeared in the 1972 novel First Blood by David Morrell, but later became more famous in the film series, played by Sylvester Stallone...

 character in First Blood
First Blood
First Blood is a 1982 action thriller film directed by Ted Kotcheff. The film stars Sylvester Stallone as John Rambo, a troubled and misunderstood Vietnam War veteran, with Sheriff Will Teasle as his nemesis and Colonel Samuel Trautman as his former commander and only ally...

when David Morrell
David Morrell
David Morrell is a Canadian-American novelist, best known for his debut 1972 novel First Blood, which would later become the successful Rambo film franchise starring Sylvester Stallone. He has written 28 novels, and his work has been translated into 26 languages...

's novel appeared in 1972, but the producers eventually rejected him because of his age. He was offered the title role in
The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard
The Bodyguard is a 1992 American romantic-thriller film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Costner stars as a former Secret Service Agent turned bodyguard who is hired to protect Houston's character, a music star, from an unknown stalker. Lawrence Kasdan wrote the film in the 1970s,...

(with Diana Ross
Diana Ross
Diana Ernestine Earle Ross is an American singer, record producer, and actress. Ross was lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that included successful ventures into film and Broadway...

) when it was first proposed in 1976, but the film did not reach production until years after McQueen's death.
Quigley Down Under
Quigley Down Under
Quigley Down Under is a 1990 western film set in Australia's outback. Starring Tom Selleck, Alan Rickman and Laura San Giacomo, it was directed by Simon Wincer.-Plot:...

was in development as early as 1974, and both McQueen and Clint Eastwood
Clint Eastwood
Clinton "Clint" Eastwood, Jr. is an American film actor, director, producer, composer and politician. Eastwood first came to prominence as a supporting cast member in the TV series Rawhide...

 were considered for the lead, but by the time production began in 1980, McQueen was too ill and the project was scrapped until a decade later, when Tom Selleck
Tom Selleck
Thomas William "Tom" Selleck is an American actor, and film producer. He is best known for his starring role as Hawaii-based private investigator Thomas Magnum on the 1980s television show Magnum, P.I.. He also plays Police Chief Jesse Stone in a series of made-for-TV movies based on the Robert B....

 starred.
McQueen was offered the lead in
Raise the Titanic but felt the script was flat. He was under contract to Irwin Allen
Irwin Allen
Irwin Allen was a television and film director and producer nicknamed "The Master of Disaster" for his work in the disaster film genre. He was also notable for creating a number of television series.- Biography :...

 after appearing in
The Towering Inferno and was offered a part in a sequel in 1980, which he turned down. The film was scrapped and Newman was brought in by Allen to make When Time Ran Out
When Time Ran Out
When Time Ran Out... is a disaster film released in 1980, starring Paul Newman, Jacqueline Bisset, William Holden, James Franciscus, Ernest Borgnine, Red Buttons, Burgess Meredith, Valentina Cortese, Veronica Hamel, Pat Morita, Edward Albert, and Barbara Carrera.Produced by the "Master of...

, which turned out to be a huge box office bomb. McQueen died shortly after passing on "The Towering Inferno 2".

Motor racing


McQueen was an avid motorcycle
Motorcycle
A motorcycle is a single-track, two-wheeled motor vehicle. Motorcycles vary considerably depending on the task for which they are designed, such as long distance travel, navigating congested urban traffic, cruising, sport and racing, or off-road conditions.Motorcycles are one of the most...

 and racecar enthusiast. When he had the opportunity to drive in a movie, he performed many of his own stunts.

Perhaps the most memorable were the car chase in
Bullitt
Bullitt
Bullitt is a 1968 American police procedural film starring Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Vaughn. It was directed by Peter Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. The story was adapted for the screen by Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner, based on the 1963 novel Mute Witness by Robert L....

and motorcycle chase in The Great Escape
The Great Escape (film)
The Great Escape is a 1963 American film about an escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough...

. Although the jump over the fence in The Great Escape was actually done by Bud Ekins
Bud Ekins
Bud Ekins was one of the foremost stuntmen of his generation. Born James Sherwin Ekins in Hollywood, California, he is known to most as the actor who jumped the fence on a disguised Triumph TR6 Trophy 650cc motorcycle in The Great Escape, and who drove the Ford Mustang 390 GT in Bullitt...

 for insurance purposes, McQueen did have a considerable amount of screen time riding his 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy
Triumph TR6 Trophy
The TR6 Trophy is a motorcycle that was made by Triumph, in Meriden, from 1956 to 1973, when it was replaced by the 750 cc Tiger Trail TR7. During this time it was a successful model, particularly in the US. The competition variant, popularly known as the "desert sled", won numerous...

 motorcycle. It was difficult to find riders as skilled as McQueen. At one point, due to clever editing, McQueen is seen in a German uniform chasing himself on another bike.

Together with John Sturges
John Sturges
John Eliot Sturges was an American film director. His movies include Bad Day at Black Rock , Gunfight at the O.K. Corral , The Magnificent Seven , The Great Escape and Ice Station Zebra .-Career:He started his career in Hollywood as an editor in 1932...

, McQueen planned to make
Day of the Champion, a movie about Formula One
Formula One
Formula One, also known as Formula 1 or F1 and referred to officially as the FIA Formula One World Championship, is the highest class of single seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile . The "formula" designation in the name refers to a set of rules with which...

 racing. He was busy with the delayed
The Sand Pebbles
The Sand Pebbles (film)
The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 American period war film directed by Robert Wise. It tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy Machinist's Mate aboard the fictional gunboat USS San Pablo in 1920s China....

, though. They had a contract with the German Nürburgring
Nürburgring
The Nürburgring is a motorsport complex around the village of Nürburg, Germany. It features a modern Grand Prix race track built in 1984, and a much longer old North loop track which was built in the 1920s around the village and medieval castle of Nürburg in the Eifel mountains. It is located about...

, and after John Frankenheimer
John Frankenheimer
John Michael Frankenheimer was an American film and television director known for social dramas and action/suspense films...

 shot scenes there for
Grand Prix, the reels had to be turned over to Sturges. Frankenheimer was ahead in schedule anyway, and the McQueen/Sturges project was called off.

McQueen considered becoming a professional race car driver. In the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring
12 Hours of Sebring
The 12 Hours of Sebring is an annual motorsport endurance race for sports cars held at Sebring International Raceway, a former Army Air Force base in Sebring, Florida...

 race, Peter Revson
Peter Revson
Peter Jeffrey Revson was an American race car driver who had successes in Formula One and the Indianapolis 500.-Background:Peter Revson was born in New York City, the son of Julie and Martin Revson....

 and McQueen (driving with a cast on his left foot from a motorcycle accident two weeks before) won with a Porsche 908
Porsche 908
The Porsche 908 was a racing car from Porsche, introduced in 1968 to continue the Porsche 906/Porsche 910/Porsche 907 series of models designed under Ferdinand Piech....

/02 in the 3 litre class and missed winning overall by 23 seconds to Mario Andretti
Mario Andretti
Mario Gabriele Andretti is a retired Italian American world champion racing driver, one of the most successful Americans in the history of the sport. He is one of only two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR...

/Ignazio Giunti
Ignazio Giunti
Ignazio Giunti was an Italian racing driver who made his name in saloon and Sports Car Racing in the late 1960s.Giunti was born in Rome...

/Nino Vaccarella
Nino Vaccarella
Nino Vaccarella is an Italian former sports car racing and Formula One driver, born in Palermo, Sicily.-Synopsis:After winning the 1964 24 Hours of Le Mans, the former headmaster of a nearby school became the local hero of the Targa Florio race after winning in 1965, then repeating in 1971 and...

 in a 5 litre Ferrari 512
Ferrari 512
Ferrari 512 S was the designation of 25 five litre sports cars built until January 1970, related to the Ferrari P sports prototypes. The V12-powered cars were entered in the 1970 International Championship for Makes by the factory Scuderia Ferrari and private teams...

S. The same Porsche 908 was entered by his production company Solar Productions as a camera car for Le Mans
Le Mans (film)
Le Mans is a 1971 action film directed by Lee H. Katzin. Starring Steve McQueen, it features footage from the actual 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race....

in the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans
1970 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 38th Grand Prix of Endurance, and took place on June 13 and 14 1970. It was the eighth round of the World Sportscar Championship...

 later that year. McQueen wanted to drive a Porsche 917
Porsche 917
The Porsche 917 is a racecar that gave Porsche its first overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971. Powered by the Type 912 flat-12 engine of 4.5, 4.9, or 5 litres, the 917/30 variant was capable of a 0- time of 2.3 seconds, 0– in 5.3 seconds, and a top speed of over .There are 6...

 with Jackie Stewart
Jackie Stewart
Sir John Young Stewart, OBE , better known as Jackie Stewart, and nicknamed The Flying Scotsman, is a Scottish former racing driver and team owner. He competed in Formula One between 1965 and 1973, winning three World Drivers' Championships. He also competed in Can-Am...

 in that race, but his film backers threatened to pull their support if he did. Faced with the choice of driving for 24 hours in the race or driving the entire summer making the film, McQueen opted to do the latter.
Le Mans is considered by some to be the most historically realistic representation in the history of the race.

McQueen also competed in off-road motorcycle racing
Off-road racing
Off-road racing is a format of racing where various classes of specially modified vehicles compete in races through off-road environments.-North America:...

. His first off-road motorcycle was a Triumph 500cc that he purchased from friend and stunt man Ekins. McQueen raced in many top off-road races on the West Coast, including the Baja 1000
Baja 1000
SCORE Baja 1000 is an off-road race that takes place on Mexico's Baja California Peninsula in November. The Baja 1000 is part of the SCORE Championship Desert Racing Series that include the Baja 500, San Felipe 250 and the new San Felipe Challenge of Champions in place of the Primm 300 which had...

, the Mint 400
Mint 400
The Mint 400 is an annual desert off road race that was resumed in 2008 after a 20 year hiatus.The race was for both motorcycles, until 1977, and four-wheel vehicles sponsored by Del Webb's Mint Hotel and Casino. Del Webb, a well known builder and friend of Howard Hughes, was owner of the Mint...

 and the Elsinore Grand Prix
Lake Elsinore, California
For the lake see Lake Elsinore.Lake Elsinore or LE is a city in western Riverside County, California. The population was 51,821 at the 2010 census...

. In 1964, with Ekins on their Triumph TR6 Trophy
Triumph TR6 Trophy
The TR6 Trophy is a motorcycle that was made by Triumph, in Meriden, from 1956 to 1973, when it was replaced by the 750 cc Tiger Trail TR7. During this time it was a successful model, particularly in the US. The competition variant, popularly known as the "desert sled", won numerous...

s, he represented the United States in the International Six Days Trial
International Six Days Enduro
The International Six Days Enduro is the oldest 'off road' motorcycle event on the FIM Calendar.The ISDE was first held in 1913 at Carlisle, England. It has occurred annually, apart from interruptions due to World War I and World War II, at various locations throughout the world. The early...

, a form of off-road motorcycling Olympics. He was inducted in the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame
Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame
The Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame is located inside the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.-History:In 1966, Ed Pearlman cofounded the first exclusively off-road racing organization, called the National Off-Road Racing Association...

 in 1978. In 1971, Solar Productions funded the now-classic motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday
On Any Sunday
On Any Sunday is a 1971 American documentary feature about motorcycle sport, directed by Bruce Brown. It was nominated for a 1972 Academy Award for Documentary Feature....

, in which McQueen is featured along with racing legends Mert Lawwill
Mert Lawwill
Mert Lawwill is an American dirt-track and road racer, born on September 25, 1940 in Boise, Idaho.He started his racing career as an amateur racer on the local TT track in Boise and, later, scramble races across the United States Northwest ....

 and Malcolm Smith
Malcolm Smith (motorcyclist)
Malcolm Smith is a Hall of Fame American off-road racer.-Career:Smith first raced in 1956 atop a 1949 Matchless 500cc motorcycle. Later, he was associated with Husqvarna motorcycles. His renown grew as he won races in the 1960s and 1970s...

. Also in 1971, McQueen was on the cover of
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

magazine riding a Husqvarna
Husqvarna Motorcycles
Husqvarna Motorcycles, a subsidiary of BMW, is a company manufacturing motocross, enduro and supermoto motorcycles. The company began producing motorcycles in 1903 at Huskvarna, Sweden, as a branch of the Husqvarna armament firm which had supplied the Swedish army with rifles since 1689.-History:As...

 dirt bike.

McQueen collected classic motorcycles. By the time of his death, his collection included over 100 and was valued in the millions of dollars.

In a segment filmed for
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show
The Ed Sullivan Show is an American TV variety show that originally ran on CBS from Sunday June 20, 1948 to Sunday June 6, 1971, and was hosted by New York entertainment columnist Ed Sullivan....

, McQueen drove Sullivan around a desert area in a dune buggy at high speed. All the breathless Sullivan could say was, "That was a helluva ride!"

He owned several exotic sports cars, including:
  • Porsche 917
    Porsche 917
    The Porsche 917 is a racecar that gave Porsche its first overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1970 and 1971. Powered by the Type 912 flat-12 engine of 4.5, 4.9, or 5 litres, the 917/30 variant was capable of a 0- time of 2.3 seconds, 0– in 5.3 seconds, and a top speed of over .There are 6...

    , Porsche 908
    Porsche 908
    The Porsche 908 was a racing car from Porsche, introduced in 1968 to continue the Porsche 906/Porsche 910/Porsche 907 series of models designed under Ferdinand Piech....

     and Ferrari 512
    Ferrari 512
    Ferrari 512 S was the designation of 25 five litre sports cars built until January 1970, related to the Ferrari P sports prototypes. The V12-powered cars were entered in the 1970 International Championship for Makes by the factory Scuderia Ferrari and private teams...

     race cars from the
    Le Mans film.
  • 1963 Ferrari 250
    Ferrari 250
    The Ferrari 250 is a sports car built by Ferrari from 1953 to 1964. The company's most successful early line, the 250 series included several variants. It was replaced by the 275 and the 330.-Similarities:...

     Lusso Berlinetta
  • Jaguar D-Type
    Jaguar D-type
    The Jaguar D-Type, like its predecessor the C-Type, was a factory-built race car. Although it shared the basic straight-6 XK engine design with the C-Type, the majority of the car was radically different...

     XKSS (Right-Hand Drive)
  • Porsche 356
    Porsche 356
    The Porsche 356 was the company's first production automobile. It was a lightweight and nimble handling rear-engine rear-wheel-drive 2 door sports car available in hardtop coupe and open configurations. Design innovations continued during the years of manufacture, contributing to its motorsports...

     Speedster


To his dismay, McQueen was never able to own the legendary Ford Mustang GT 390 that he drove in
Bullitt
Bullitt
Bullitt is a 1968 American police procedural film starring Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Vaughn. It was directed by Peter Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. The story was adapted for the screen by Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner, based on the 1963 novel Mute Witness by Robert L....

, which featured a highly modified drivetrain that suited McQueen's driving style. One of the two Mustangs was so badly damaged that it was judged beyond repair and scrapped. The second car still exists, but the owner has consistently refused to sell it at any price.

Personal life


McQueen had a daily two-hour exercise regimen, involving weightlifting
Weight training
Weight training is a common type of strength training for developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It uses the weight force of gravity to oppose the force generated by muscle through concentric or eccentric contraction...

 and at one point running five miles, seven days a week. McQueen also learned the martial art Tang Soo Do
Tang Soo Do
Tang Soo Do is a Korean martial art promoted by Hwang Kee that has roots in various martial arts, including taekkyeon and Subak.-Etymology:...

 from ninth degree black belt
Black belt (martial arts)
In martial arts, the black belt is a way to describe a graduate of a field where a practitioner's level is often marked by the color of the belt. The black belt is commonly the highest belt color used and denotes a degree of competence. It is often associated with a teaching grade though...

 Pat E. Johnson
Pat E. Johnson
Pat E. Johnson is a 9th degree black belt in the art of American Tang Soo Do. He is the president of the National Tang Soo Do Congress, which was originally created by Chuck Norris in 1973...

.
However, he was also known for his prolific drug use (William Claxton
William Claxton (photographer)
William Claxton was an American photographer and author.-Biography:Born in Pasadena, California, Claxton's works included a book of photographs of Steve McQueen, and Jazz Life, a book of photographs depicting jazz artists in the 1960s. He was most noted for his photography of jazz musicians...

 claimed he smoked marijuana almost every day; others said he used a tremendous amount of cocaine
Cocaine
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid that is obtained from the leaves of the coca plant. The name comes from "coca" in addition to the alkaloid suffix -ine, forming cocaine. It is a stimulant of the central nervous system, an appetite suppressant, and a topical anesthetic...

 in the early 1970s). In addition, like many actors of his era, he was a heavy cigarette
Cigarette
A cigarette is a small roll of finely cut tobacco leaves wrapped in a cylinder of thin paper for smoking. The cigarette is ignited at one end and allowed to smoulder; its smoke is inhaled from the other end, which is held in or to the mouth and in some cases a cigarette holder may be used as well...

 smoker. He sometimes drank to excess, and was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage, Alaska
Anchorage is a unified home rule municipality in the southcentral part of the U.S. state of Alaska. It is the northernmost major city in the United States...

 in 1972.

After Charles Manson
Charles Manson
Charles Milles Manson is an American criminal who led what became known as the Manson Family, a quasi-commune that arose in California in the late 1960s. He was found guilty of conspiracy to commit the Tate/LaBianca murders carried out by members of the group at his instruction...

 incited the murder of five people, including McQueen's friends Sharon Tate
Sharon Tate
Sharon Marie Tate was an American actress. During the 1960s she played small television roles before appearing in several films. After receiving positive reviews for her comedic performances, she was hailed as one of Hollywood's promising newcomers and was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for...

 and Jay Sebring
Jay Sebring
Jay Sebring was an American hair stylist for celebrities, and the founder of the hairstyling corporation Sebring International. He is also known as one of the murder victims of the Manson Family.-Early life:...

, at Tate's home on August 9, 1969, it was reported that McQueen was another potential target of the killers. According to his first wife, McQueen then began carrying a handgun at all times in public, including at Sebring's funeral.

McQueen had an unusual reputation for demanding free items in bulk from studios when agreeing to do a film, such as electric razors, jeans
Jeans
Jeans are trousers made from denim. Some of the earliest American blue jeans were made by Jacob Davis, Calvin Rogers, and Levi Strauss in 1873. Starting in the 1950s, jeans, originally designed for cowboys, became popular among teenagers. Historic brands include Levi's, Lee, and Wrangler...

 and several other products. It was later found out that McQueen requested these things because he was donating them to the Boy's Republic reformatory
Reformatory
Reformatory is a term that has had varied meanings within the penal system, depending on the jurisdiction and the era. It may refer to a youth detention center, or an adult correctional facility. The term is still in popular use for adult facilities throughout the United States, although most...

 school for displaced youth, where he had spent time during his teen years. McQueen made occasional visits to the school to spend time with the students, often to play pool
Pocket billiards
Pool, also more formally known as pocket billiards or pool billiards , is the family of cue sports and games played on a pool table having six receptacles called pockets along the , into which balls are deposited as the main goal of play. Popular versions include eight-ball and nine-ball...

 and to speak with them about his experiences.

After discovering a mutual interest in racing, McQueen and his Great Escape co-star James Garner
James Garner
James Garner is an American film and television actor, one of the first Hollywood actors to excel in both media. He has starred in several television series spanning a career of more than five decades...

 became good friends. Garner lived directly down the hill from McQueen and, as McQueen recalled, "I could see that Jim was very neat around his place. Flowers trimmed, no papers in the yard ... grass always cut. So, just to piss him off, I'd start lobbing empty beer cans down the hill into his driveway. He'd have his drive all spic 'n' span when he left the house, then get home to find all these empty cans. Took him a long time to figure out it was me".

McQueen was conservative in his political views and often backed the Republican Party
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

. He did, however, campaign for Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 Lyndon Johnson in 1964 before voting for Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 in 1968. He supported the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, was one of the few Hollywood stars who refused numerous requests to back Presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy, in 1968, and turned down the chance to participate in the 1963 March on Washington. When McQueen heard a rumor that he had been added to Nixon's Enemies List
Nixon's Enemies List
Nixon’s Enemies List is the informal name of what started as a list of President of the United States Richard Nixon’s major political opponents compiled by Charles Colson, written by George T. Bell , and sent in memorandum form to John Dean on September 9, 1971...

, he responded by immediately flying a giant American flag outside his house. Reportedly, his wife Ali McGraw responded to the whole affair by saying, "But you're the most patriotic person I know."

McQueen commanded such respect in the United Kingdom that when visiting Chelsea Football Club's Stamford Bridge Stadium to watch a match, he was personally introduced to the players in the dressing room during the half-time break.

Barbara Minty McQueen in her book, Steve McQueen: The Last Mile, writes of McQueen becoming an Evangelical Christian
Evangelicalism
Evangelicalism is a Protestant Christian movement which began in Great Britain in the 1730s and gained popularity in the United States during the series of Great Awakenings of the 18th and 19th century.Its key commitments are:...

 toward the end of his life. This was due in part to the influences of his flying instructor, Sammy Mason, and his son Pete, and Barbara. McQueen attended his local church, Ventura Missionary Church, and was visited by evangelist Billy Graham shortly before his death.

Hobbies


McQueen was an avid dirt bike rider, running a BSA Hornet
BSA Hornet
The BSA Hornet is a British motorcycle made by BSA at their factory in Birmingham for export to the US between 1964 and 1965.-Development:The BSA Spitfire Hornet and Hornet were developed by BSA in 1964 as purpose built off road and desert racer motorcycles in response to demand from the US...

. He was to co-drive in a Triumph 2500 PI for the British Leyland team in the 1970 London-Mexico rally, but had to turn it down due to movie commitments. He also loved flying, and owned among other aircraft a 1945 Stearman tail number N3188 (his student number in reform school), a 1946 Piper J3 Cub, and an award-winning 1931 Pitcairn PA-8 biplane
Biplane
A biplane is a fixed-wing aircraft with two superimposed main wings. The Wright brothers' Wright Flyer used a biplane design, as did most aircraft in the early years of aviation. While a biplane wing structure has a structural advantage, it produces more drag than a similar monoplane wing...

, once flown as part of the U.S. Mail Service
United States Post Office Department
The Post Office Department was the name of the United States Postal Service when it was a Cabinet department. It was headed by the Postmaster General....

 by famed World War I flying ace
Flying ace
A flying ace or fighter ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during aerial combat. The actual number of aerial victories required to officially qualify as an "ace" has varied, but is usually considered to be five or more...

, Eddie Rickenbacker
Eddie Rickenbacker
Edward Vernon Rickenbacker was an American fighter ace in World War I and Medal of Honor recipient. He was also a race car driver and automotive designer, a government consultant in military matters and a pioneer in air transportation, particularly as the longtime head of Eastern Air Lines.-Early...

. They were hangared at Santa Paula Airport an hour northwest of Hollywood, where he lived his final days.

Marriages and descendants


McQueen was married three times: to Neile Adams
Neile Adams
Ruby Neilam Salvador "Neile" Adams is a Filipino-American actress, singer and dancer who made more than twenty appearances in films and television series between 1952 and 1991....

, Ali MacGraw
Ali MacGraw
Elizabeth Alice "Ali" MacGraw is an American actress. She is known for her role in Love Story, for which she won a Golden Globe and received an Academy Award nomination.-Early life:...

, and Barbara Minty. He had two children with Adams (Terry and Chad). MacGraw stated in her autobiography, Moving Pictures, that she had a miscarriage during her marriage to McQueen.
Family Notes

Death


On November 7, 1980, McQueen died at the age of 50 in Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez , officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez, but abbreviated Juárez and formerly known as El Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez's estimated population is 1.5 million people. The city lies on the Rio Grande...

, Chihuahua, Mexico, following an operation to remove or reduce several metastatic
Metastasis
Metastasis, or metastatic disease , is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. It was previously thought that only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize; however, this is being reconsidered due to new research...

 tumors in his neck and abdomen.

McQueen developed a persistent cough in 1978; he gave up smoking and underwent antibiotic treatments without improvement. Shortness of breath became more pronounced and in December 1979, after the filming of The Hunter, a biopsy revealed malignant mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with asbestos
Asbestos
Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals used commercially for their desirable physical properties. They all have in common their eponymous, asbestiform habit: long, thin fibrous crystals...

 exposure to which there is no known cure. By February 1980, there was evidence of widespread metastasis. While he tried to keep the condition a secret, the National Enquirer disclosed that he had "terminal cancer" on March 11, 1980. In July, McQueen traveled to Rosarito Beach for unconventional treatment after U.S. doctors advised him that they could do nothing to prolong his life.

Controversy arose over McQueen's Mexican trip, because McQueen sought a very non-traditional treatment that used coffee enema
Coffee enema
Coffee enemas are the enema-related procedure of inserting coffee into the anus to cleanse the rectum and large intestines. This procedure, although well documented, is considered by most medical authorities to be unproven, rash and potentially dangerous....

s, frequent shampoos, injection of live cells from cows and sheep, massage
Massage
Massage is the manipulation of superficial and deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue to enhance function, aid in the healing process, and promote relaxation and well-being. The word comes from the French massage "friction of kneading", or from Arabic massa meaning "to touch, feel or handle"...

 and laetrile
Amygdalin
Amygdalin , C20H27NO11, is a glycoside initially isolated from the seeds of the tree Prunus dulcis, also known as bitter almonds, by Pierre-Jean Robiquet...

, a supposedly "natural" anti-cancer drug available in Mexico, but not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments...

. McQueen was treated by William Donald Kelley, whose only medical license had been (until it was revoked in 1976) for orthodontics
Orthodontics
Orthodontics, orthodontia, or orthodonture is the first specialty of dentistry that is concerned with the study and treatment of malocclusions , which may be a result of tooth irregularity, disproportionate jaw relationships, or both...

. Kelley's methods created a sensation in both the traditional and tabloid press when it became known that McQueen was a patient. Despite metastasis
Metastasis
Metastasis, or metastatic disease , is the spread of a disease from one organ or part to another non-adjacent organ or part. It was previously thought that only malignant tumor cells and infections have the capacity to metastasize; however, this is being reconsidered due to new research...

 of the cancer to much of McQueen's body, Kelley publicly announced that McQueen would be completely cured and return to normal life. However, McQueen's condition worsened and "huge" tumors developed in his abdomen. In late October 1980, McQueen flew to Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez
Ciudad Juárez , officially known today as Heroica Ciudad Juárez, but abbreviated Juárez and formerly known as El Paso del Norte, is a city and seat of the municipality of Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Juárez's estimated population is 1.5 million people. The city lies on the Rio Grande...

 to have the five-pound abdominal tumors removed, despite the warnings of his U.S. doctors that the tumor was inoperable and that his heart would not withstand the surgery. McQueen checked into a Juarez clinic under the assumed name of "Sam Shepard" where doctors at the small, low-income clinic were unaware of his real identity. McQueen died of cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest
Cardiac arrest, is the cessation of normal circulation of the blood due to failure of the heart to contract effectively...

 one day after an operation to remove a large tumor from his neck. A following article in the El Paso Times noted that right before his death he awoke and asked for some ice and then died.

Shortly before his death, McQueen had given a medical interview in which he blamed his condition on asbestos exposure. While McQueen felt that asbestos used in movie soundstage insulation and race-drivers' protective suits and helmets could have been involved, he believed his illness was a direct result of massive exposure while removing asbestos lagging from pipes aboard a troop ship during his time in the Marines.

A memorial service was presided over by Leonard DeWitt of the Ventura Missionary Church. McQueen was cremated, and his ashes spread in the Pacific Ocean.

Legacy


Posthumously, McQueen remains one of the most popular stars, and his estate limits the licensing of his image to avoid the commercial saturation experienced by some other deceased celebrities. As of 2007, McQueen has entered the top 10 of highest-earning dead celebrities.

In November 1999, McQueen was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame
Motorcycle Hall of Fame
The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum is an offshoot of the American Motorcyclist Association that recognizes individuals who have contributed to motorcycle sport, motorcycle construction and motorcycling in general. It displays motorcycles and riding gear and memoribilia. The museum is located in...

. He was credited with contributions including financing the film On Any Sunday
On Any Sunday
On Any Sunday is a 1971 American documentary feature about motorcycle sport, directed by Bruce Brown. It was nominated for a 1972 Academy Award for Documentary Feature....

, supporting a team of off-road riders, and enhancing the public image of motorcycling overall.

A film based on unfinished storyboard
Storyboard
Storyboards are graphic organizers in the form of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a motion picture, animation, motion graphic or interactive media sequence....

s and notes developed by McQueen before his death was announced for production by McG
McG
Joseph McGinty Nichol , better known as McG, is an American director and producer of film and television, as well as a former record producer....

's production company Wonderland Sound and Vision
Wonderland Sound and Vision
Wonderland Sound and Vision is the production company of producers McG and Stephanie Savage. They are responsible for producing The O.C. and Supernatural as well as Chuck. Wonderland also co-produced all of McG's films since Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle.-History:McG and Stephanie Savage formed...

.
Yucatan is described as an "epic adventure heist
Heist film
A heist film is a film that has an intricate plot woven around a group of people trying to steal something. Versions with dominant or prominent comic elements are often called caper movies. They could be described as the analogues of caper stories in film history...

" film, and is scheduled for release in 2013. Team Downey, the production company started by Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert John Downey, Jr. is an American actor. Downey made his screen debut in 1970 at the age of five when he appeared in his father's film Pound, and has worked consistently in film and television ever since. During the 1980s he had roles in a series of coming of age films associated with the...

 and his wife Susan Downey
Susan Downey
Susan Nicole Downey is an American film producer. Until February 2009 she was Co-President of Dark Castle Entertainment and Executive Vice President of Production at Silver Pictures, Joel Silver's production company, but has since stepped down to work more closely with her husband, actor Robert...

, has also expressed an interest in developing
Yucatan for the screen.

The Beech Grove Public Library, in Beech Grove, Indiana, formally dedicated the Steve McQueen Birthplace Collection on March 16, 2010 to commemorate the 80th anniversary of McQueen's birth on March 24, 1930.

Ford commercial


In 2005, Ford used Steve McQueen's likeness in a commercial for the 2005 Mustang. In the commercial a farmer builds a winding racetrack, which he circles in the 2005 Mustang. Out of the cornfield comes Steve McQueen. The farmer then tosses his keys to McQueen who drives off in the new Mustang. McQueen's likeness was created by a body double and some digital editing.

Ford secured the rights to McQueen's likeness from the actor's estate licensing agent GreenLight for an undisclosed sum.

Memorabilia


The blue-tinted sunglasses
Sunglasses
Sunglasses or sun glasses are a form of protective eyewear designed primarily to prevent bright sunlight and high-energy visible light from damaging or discomforting the eyes. They can sometimes also function as a visual aid, as variously termed spectacles or glasses exist, featuring lenses that...

 (Persol
Persol
Persol is an Italian eyewear company specializing in sunglasses. The name is derived from "per il sole," which, in Italian, means "for the sun." Formed in 1917 by Giuseppe Ratti, Persol originally catered to pilots and sports drivers. Presently, the company is famous for its durable sports sunglasses...

 714) worn by McQueen in the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 film)
The Thomas Crown Affair is a 1968 film by Norman Jewison starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. It was nominated for two Academy Awards and won the Award for Best Song with Michel Legrand's "Windmills of Your Mind"...

 sold at a Bonhams & Butterfields auction in Los Angeles for $70,200 in 2006. One of his motorcycles, a 1937 Crocker, sold for a world-record price of $276,500 at the same auction. McQueen's 1963 metallic-brown Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso sold for $2.31 million USD at auction on August 16, 2007. Except for three motorcycles sold with other memorabilia in 2006, most of McQueen's collection of 130 motorcycles was sold 4 years after his death.

The Rolex Explorer II 2 Reference 1655, is also now so-called Rolex Steve McQueen in the horology collectors world, but the Rolex Submariner Reference 5512 he was often photographed wearing in private moments sold for $234,000 at auction on June 11, 2009, a world-record price for the reference.

McQueen was a sponsored ambassador for Heuer Watches. In the 1970 movie Le Mans, McQueen famously wore a blue faced Monaco 1133B Caliber 11 Automatic
TAG Heuer Monaco
The TAG Heuer Monaco is a series of automatic chronograph wristwatch originally introduced by Heuer in 1969 in honour of the Monaco Grand Prix. The Monaco was revolutionary for being the first automatic as well as the first square cased chronograph...

 which has led to its cult status with watch collectors. His sold for $87,600 at auction on June 11, 2009. Tag Heuer continues to promote their Monaco range with McQueen’s image.

From 2009, Triumph Motorcycles Ltd
Triumph Motorcycles Ltd
Triumph Motorcycles Ltd is the largest surviving British motorcycle manufacturer, which was established in 1984 by John Bloor after the original manufacturer Triumph Engineering went into receivership...

, licensed by his estate, marketed a line of clothing inspired by Steve McQueen's strong association with their brand, particularly his 1964 ISDT
International Six Days Enduro
The International Six Days Enduro is the oldest 'off road' motorcycle event on the FIM Calendar.The ISDE was first held in 1913 at Carlisle, England. It has occurred annually, apart from interruptions due to World War I and World War II, at various locations throughout the world. The early...

 participation.

In music


Steve McQueen's name is mentioned in passing in The Kinks
The Kinks
The Kinks were an English rock band formed in Muswell Hill, North London, by brothers Ray and Dave Davies in 1964. Categorised in the United States as a British Invasion band, The Kinks are recognised as one of the most important and influential rock acts of the era. Their music was influenced by a...

 song "Daylight", which appears on their album Preservation Act 1. The Rolling Stones famously referred to McQueen in the song "Star Star" from the album Goat's Head Soup for which an amused McQueen reportedly gave personal permission.
"Steve McQueen" is a song by American singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow, and is the lead track on her 2002 album, C'mon C'mon. It was released as the second single from the album, following "Soak Up the Sun."

Filmography


  • Girl on the Run (1953)
  • Somebody Up There Likes Me
    Somebody Up There Likes Me (film)
    Somebody Up There Likes Me is a 1956 American drama film based on the life of middleweight boxing legend Rocky Graziano. Joseph Ruttenberg was awarded a 1956 Oscar in the category of Best Cinematography . The film also won the Oscar for Best Art Direction Somebody Up There Likes Me is a 1956...

    (1956)
  • Never Love a Stranger
    Never Love a Stranger
    Never Love A Stranger is a 1958 crime and gangster film shot in black and white starring John Drew Barrymore, Lita Milan, and Robert Bray, and featuring a young Steve McQueen....

    (1958)
  • The Blob
    The Blob
    The Blob is an independently made 1958 American horror/science-fiction film that depicts a giant amoeba-like alien that terrorizes the small community of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania...

    (1958)
  • The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery
    The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery
    The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery is a 1959 heist film shot in black and white. The noir film stars Steve McQueen as a college dropout hired to be the getaway driver in a bank robbery. The film is based on a 1953 bank robbery attempt of Southwest Bank in St. Louis. The film was shot on location in...

    (1959)
  • Never So Few
    Never So Few
    Never So Few 1959 CinemaScope war film directed by John Sturges and starring Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, Charles Bronson, Dean Jones and Steve McQueen with uncredited roles by renowned Asian actors Mako, George Takei and James Hong. The script was loosely based on an actual OSS...

    (1959)
  • Man from the South
    Man from the South
    "Man from the South" is a short story by Roald Dahl adapted several times for television and film, including a 1960 version starring Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre.-Plot synopsis:...

    (1960) (Alfred Hitchcock)
  • The Magnificent Seven
    The Magnificent Seven
    The Magnificent Seven is an American Western film directed by John Sturges, and released in 1960. It is a fictional tale of a group of seven American gunmen who are hired to protect a small agricultural village in Mexico from a group of marauding Mexican bandits...

    (1960)
  • The Honeymoon Machine
    The Honeymoon Machine
    The Honeymoon Machine is a 1961 film starring Steve McQueen, Brigid Bazlen, Jim Hutton, Paula Prentiss, Jack Mullaney, and Dean Jagger, based on the 1959 Broadway play The Golden Fleecing by Lorenzo Semple Jr.. In the film, three men devise a plan to win at roulette with a United States Navy computer...

    (1961)
  • Hell Is for Heroes
    Hell Is for Heroes (film)
    Hell Is for Heroes is a 1962 war film directed by Don Siegel and starring Steve McQueen. It tells the story of a squad of American soldiers, who in the fall of 1944 must hold off an entire German company for approximately 48 hours along the Siegfried Line until reinforcements reach them.-Plot:Squad...

    (1962)
  • The War Lover
    The War Lover
    The War Lover is a 1962 British black-and-white war film directed by Philip Leacock and written by Howard Koch loosely based on the 1959 novel, The War Lover by John Hersey, altering the names of characters and events but retaining its basic framework...

    (1962)
  • The Great Escape
    The Great Escape (film)
    The Great Escape is a 1963 American film about an escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II, starring Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough...

    (1963)
  • Soldier in the Rain
    Soldier in the Rain
    Soldier in the Rain , starring Jackie Gleason and Steve McQueen, is a comedy-drama film about the friendship between an aging Army Master Sergeant and a young country bumpkin buck sergeant . Tuesday Weld also stars....

    (1963)
  • Love with the Proper Stranger
    Love with the Proper Stranger
    Love with the Proper Stranger is a 1963 romantic comedy drama film made by Pakula-Mulligan Productions and Boardwalk Productions and released by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Robert Mulligan and produced by Alan J. Pakula from a screenplay by Arnold Schulman.The film stars Natalie Wood,...

    (1963)
  • Baby the Rain Must Fall
    Baby the Rain Must Fall
    Baby the Rain Must Fall is a 1965 American drama film starring Steve McQueen, directed by Robert Mulligan. Dramatist Horton Foote, who wrote the screenplay, based it on his play The Travelling Lady.-Plot:...

    (1965)
  • The Cincinnati Kid
    The Cincinnati Kid
    The Cincinnati Kid is a 1965 American drama film. It tells the story of Eric "The Kid" Stoner, a young Depression-era poker player, as he seeks to establish his reputation as the best...

    (1965)
  • Nevada Smith
    Nevada Smith
    Nevada Smith is a 1966 American Western film starring Steve McQueen and made by Embassy Pictures and Solar Productions, in association with and released by Paramount Pictures. The movie was produced and directed by Henry Hathaway with Joseph E...

    (1966)
  • The Sand Pebbles
    The Sand Pebbles (film)
    The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 American period war film directed by Robert Wise. It tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy Machinist's Mate aboard the fictional gunboat USS San Pablo in 1920s China....

    (1966)

  • Think Twentieth (1967) (short subject)
  • Bullitt: Steve McQueen's Commitment to Reality (1968) (short)
  • The Thomas Crown Affair
    The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 film)
    The Thomas Crown Affair is a 1968 film by Norman Jewison starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. It was nominated for two Academy Awards and won the Award for Best Song with Michel Legrand's "Windmills of Your Mind"...

    (1968)
  • Bullitt
    Bullitt
    Bullitt is a 1968 American police procedural film starring Steve McQueen, Jacqueline Bisset and Robert Vaughn. It was directed by Peter Yates and distributed by Warner Bros. The story was adapted for the screen by Alan Trustman and Harry Kleiner, based on the 1963 novel Mute Witness by Robert L....

    (1968)
  • The Reivers
    The Reivers (film)
    The Reivers is a 1969 film directed by Mark Rydell based on the William Faulkner novel of the same name...

    (1969)
  • Le Mans
    Le Mans (film)
    Le Mans is a 1971 action film directed by Lee H. Katzin. Starring Steve McQueen, it features footage from the actual 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race....

    (1971)
  • On Any Sunday
    On Any Sunday
    On Any Sunday is a 1971 American documentary feature about motorcycle sport, directed by Bruce Brown. It was nominated for a 1972 Academy Award for Documentary Feature....

    (1971) (documentary)
  • Junior Bonner
    Junior Bonner
    Junior Bonner is a film released in 1972 directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen, Joe Don Baker, Robert Preston and Ida Lupino. The film focuses on a veteran rodeo rider as he returns to his hometown of Prescott, Arizona to participate in an annual rodeo competition and reunite with...

    (1972)
  • The Getaway
    The Getaway (1972 film)
    The Getaway is a 1972 American action-crime film directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw.The film is based on a novel by Jim Thompson, with the screenplay written by Walter Hill...

    (1972)
  • The Life and Legend of Bruce Lee (1973) (documentary)
  • Papillon
    Papillon (film)
    Papillon is a 1973 film based on the best-selling novel by the French convict Henri Charrière.This motion picture was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, starring Steve McQueen as Henri Charrière , and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega...

    (1973)
  • The Towering Inferno
    The Towering Inferno (film)
    The Towering Inferno is a 1974 American action disaster film produced by Irwin Allen featuring an all-star cast led by Steve McQueen and Paul Newman.A co-production between Twentieth Century-Fox and Warner Bros...

    (1974)
  • Dixie Dynamite (1976) (Cameo)
  • Bruce Lee, the Legend (1977) (documentary)
  • An Enemy of the People (1978) (also executive producer)
  • Tom Horn
    Tom Horn (film)
    Tom Horn is a 1980 western film about the legendary lawman, outlaw, and gunfighter. It starred Steve McQueen as the title character and was based on Horn's own writings.-Plot:...

    (1980) (also executive producer)
  • The Hunter (1980)


Awards and honors


Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

  • (1967) Nominated – Best Actor in a Leading Role
    Academy Award for Best Actor
    Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role is one of the Academy Awards of Merit presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize an actor who has delivered an outstanding performance while working within the film industry...

     /
    The Sand Pebbles
    The Sand Pebbles (film)
    The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 American period war film directed by Robert Wise. It tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy Machinist's Mate aboard the fictional gunboat USS San Pablo in 1920s China....



Golden Globe Awards
  • (1964) Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
    Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
    The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

     /
    Love with the Proper Stranger
    Love with the Proper Stranger
    Love with the Proper Stranger is a 1963 romantic comedy drama film made by Pakula-Mulligan Productions and Boardwalk Productions and released by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Robert Mulligan and produced by Alan J. Pakula from a screenplay by Arnold Schulman.The film stars Natalie Wood,...

  • (1967) Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
    Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
    The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

     /
    The Sand Pebbles
    The Sand Pebbles (film)
    The Sand Pebbles is a 1966 American period war film directed by Robert Wise. It tells the story of an independent, rebellious U.S. Navy Machinist's Mate aboard the fictional gunboat USS San Pablo in 1920s China....

  • (1970) Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
    Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
    The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

     /
    The Reivers
    The Reivers (film)
    The Reivers is a 1969 film directed by Mark Rydell based on the William Faulkner novel of the same name...

  • (1974) Nominated – Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
    Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
    The Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture - Drama was first awarded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association as a separate category in 1951...

     /
    Papillon
    Papillon (film)
    Papillon is a 1973 film based on the best-selling novel by the French convict Henri Charrière.This motion picture was directed by Franklin J. Schaffner, starring Steve McQueen as Henri Charrière , and Dustin Hoffman as Louis Dega...

  • Steve McQueen mural by Kent Twitchell
    Kent Twitchell
    Kent Twitchell is an American muralist who is most active in Los Angeles. He is most famous for his larger-than-life mural portraits, often of celebrities and artists. His murals are realism not photorealism according to Twitchell.-Biography:Twitchell's father was Robert Twitchell who was a farmer...

    , 1971

Further reading

  • Beaver, Jim
    Jim Beaver
    James Norman "Jim" Beaver, Jr. is an American stage, film, and television actor, playwright, screenwriter, and film historian...

    .
    Steve McQueen. Films in Review, August–September 1981.
  • Satchell, Tim. McQueen. (Sidgwick and Jackson Limited, 1981) ISBN 0-283-98778-2
  • Nolan, William F.
    William F. Nolan
    William Francis Nolan is an American author, who wrote stories in the science fiction, fantasy and horror genres. He is best known for coauthoring the novel Logan's Run, with George Clayton Johnson. He co-wrote the screenplay for the 1976 horror film Burnt Offerings which starred Karen Black and...

     
    McQueen (Congdon & Weed, 1984)
  • Terrill, Marshall
    Marshall Terrill
    Marshall Terrill is an American author and journalist. He is noted for biographies on Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, and Pete Maravich.- Early years: 1963-1982:...

    .
    Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel, (Donald I. Fine, 1993)
  • McQueen, Terrill. Steve McQueen: The Last Mile', (Dalton Watson, 2006)
  • Terrill, Marshall
    Marshall Terrill
    Marshall Terrill is an American author and journalist. He is noted for biographies on Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, and Pete Maravich.- Early years: 1963-1982:...

    . Steve McQueen: A Tribute to the King of Cool, (Dalton Watson, 2010)
  • Terrill, Marshall
    Marshall Terrill
    Marshall Terrill is an American author and journalist. He is noted for biographies on Steve McQueen, Elvis Presley, and Pete Maravich.- Early years: 1963-1982:...

    . Steve McQueen: The Life and Legacy of a Hollywood Icon, (Triumph Books, 2010)

External links