- Mar 24, 1930
- Beech Grove, Indiana, USA
Steve McQueen (March 24, 1930 ?? November 7, 1980) was an American movie actor, nicknamed "The King of Cool". He was considered one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1960s and 1970s due to a captivating on-screen persona. McQueen was considered combative and the archetypal "difficult movie star" who disliked working with… More Bio:
Steve McQueen (March 24, 1930 ?? November 7, 1980) was an American movie actor, nicknamed "The King of Cool". He was considered one of the biggest box-office draws of the 1960s and 1970s due to a captivating on-screen persona. McQueen was considered combative and the archetypal "difficult movie star" who disliked working with directors and producers. To compensate, he would work only if paid an extremely large salary for his films; he was one of the highest paid actors of the 1960s and 1970s. Early life
He was born Terence Steven McQueen in Beech Grove, Indiana. He never knew his father (who abandoned his wife and child shortly after McQueen was born) - although he did find the house where he lived approximately a year after his father's death.
His mother left him at an early age and he was raised in Slater, Missouri by his uncle. At the age of 12 he was reunited with his mother and went to live in Los Angeles, California. However by the time he was 14 she had sent him to the Boys Republic home for wayward boys in Chino Hills, California.
After McQueen left Chino, he drifted before joining the United States Marine Corps in 1947 and served until 1950. In 1952, with financial assistance of the G.I. Bill, McQueen began studying acting and auditioned to study at Lee Strasberg's Actors' Studio in New York. Of the 2000 people who auditioned that year, only McQueen and Martin Landau were accepted. McQueen made his Broadway debut in 1955 in A Hatful of Rain. Key appearances Wanted: Dead or Alive
After various live and filmed television guest appearances in the mid-1950s, McQueen gained both regular employment and his 'break-out' role with the Western series Wanted: Dead or Alive. From 1958 to 1961, McQueen played Josh Randall, a lone bounty hunter whose weapon of choice was a sawed-off Winchester repeating rifle nicknamed the 'Mare's Leg.' While the character of Randall traveled the Wild West helping various people he met, it was the anti-hero image of a bounty-hunter, played with precisely the right amount of mystery, alienation and detachment by McQueen, that made this show stand out from among the large group of typical Westerns on American TV at the time. The character had been introduced the previous year in an episode of Trackdown, another western TV series, featuring Robert Culp. The Magnificent Seven
McQueen moved into film in the mid-1950s with bit parts in Girl on the Run (1953) and Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956). He secured his first lead role in the 1958 horror movie The Blob. He then replaced Sammy Davis, Jr. in the Frank Sinatra vehicle Never So Few in 1959 when Sinatra quarrelled with Davis. The director, John Sturges, then cast McQueen in his next movie, promising to "give him the camera". Starring with Yul Brynner, Robert Vaughn, Charles Bronson, and James Coburn in The Magnificent Seven (1960), it would be McQueen's first major hit. The Great Escape
McQueen's next big film was 1963's The Great Escape (which also starred Bronson and Coburn, as well as second-billed James Garner). The smash hit movie told the more or less true story of a massive breakout from a World War II POW camp and McQueen has a memorable role in the climax of the film, highlighted by a spectacular motorcycle leap. McQueen's friend and fellow cycle enthusiast Bud Ekins, who resembled McQueen from a distance, actually made the jump, but the general public did not know that for years. Bullitt and later films
Another successful film came in 1968 with Bullitt, which thrilled audiences with an unprecedented (and endlessly imitated) auto chase through San Francisco, with Bud Ekins again doubling for some of the more hazardous work. Prior to that, he earned his only Academy Award nomination for the 1966 film The Sand Pebbles. McQueen also appeared in 1973's Papillon, the 1971 car race drama Le Mans, and in The Getaway in 1972.
McQueen was the world's highest paid actor by the time of The Getaway. After The Towering Inferno, co-starring with his long time friend and rival Paul Newman in 1974, McQueen did not return to film until 1978 with An Enemy of the People playing against type as an overweight, heavily bearded character, in this adaptation of the Henrik Ibsen play. The film was little seen and has never been released on Video or DVD, but is aired from time to time on PBS. Marriages
McQueen married actress Neile Adams on November 2, 1956 (divorced 1972), by whom he had a daughter Terry (born June 5, 1959; died at 38 on March 19, 1998 as a result of hemochromatosis, a condition in which the body produces too much iron destroying the liver), and a son, Chad (born December 28, 1960 and now an actor - as is his son, Steven R. McQueen, born 1988).
On August 31, 1973 he married his Getaway co-star, Ali MacGraw, with whom he had a passionate but tumultuous relationship (she left her husband, film producer Robert Evans for McQueen). They were divorced in 1978.
His third wife was model Barbara Minty whom he married on January 16, 1980, less than a year before his death. Arrest
In 1972 McQueen was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, for driving under the influence of alcohol and skipped bail.joblo.com - The Ten Spot 2/2
McQueen was an avid motorcycle and racecar enthusiast. When he had the opportunity to drive in a movie, he often did so himself, performing many of his own stunts.
The most memorable were the classic chase in Bullitt and the motorcycle chase scene in The Great Escape. The jump over the fence was actually done by Bud Ekins for insurance purposes. (However, McQueen did have a considerable amount of screen time while riding his motorcycle. According to the commentary track on the Great Escape DVD, it was difficult to find riders as skilled as McQueen and at one point in the film, due to clever editing, McQueen is seen in a German uniform and chasing himself on another bike).
During his acting career he considered becoming a professional race car driver. In the 1970 race 12 Hours of Sebring, Peter Revson and McQueen (driving with a cast on his left foot from a motorcycle accident two weeks before) won in their (engine size) class and missed winning overall by a scant 23 seconds to Mario Andretti in a Ferrari with a Porsche 908/02. The same car was used as a camera car for Le Mans in the 24 Hours of Le Mans later that year, entered by his production company Solar Productions. However, the film was a box office flop that almost ruined McQueen's career and McQueen himself admitted that he almost died while filming the movie.
McQueen himself wanted to enter a Porsche 917 together with Jackie Stewart in the 1970 Le Mans race but the backers for his film project threatened to pull their support if he drove in the race. Faced with driving for 24 hours in the race, or the entire summer making the film, McQueen opted to do the latter.
He also competed in off-road motorcycle racing. McQueen raced in many of the top off-road races on the West Coast during the ??60s and early-1970s, including the Baja 1000, the Mint 400 and the Elsinore Grand Prix. In 1964, he represented the United States in the International Six Days Trial, a form of off-road motorcycling Olympics. He was inducted in the Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1971, Solar Productions funded the now-classic motorcycle documentary On Any Sunday, in which McQueen himself is featured, along with racing legends Mert Lawwill and Malcolm Smith.
In a segment filmed for The Ed Sullivan Show, McQueen drove Sullivan around a desert area in a dune buggy at high speed. At the end of the trip, all the breathless Sullivan could say was, "That was a helluva ride!"
He owned several luxurious and exotic sportscars, including: Porsche 917, Porsche 908 and Ferrari 512 race cars from the Le Mans film. Ferrari 250 Lusso Berlinetta Jaguar D-Type XKSS Porsche 356 Speedster
To his dismay, McQueen was never able to own the legendary Ford Mustang GT that he drove in Bullitt. There were two cars used for filming. It is rumored that both models of the car mysteriously disappeared after the film wrapped (similar to the Easy Rider bikes).
The film's director Peter Yates recently stated in a radio interview that both vehicles are still extant (BBC Radio 4, 7 January 2006) (see ). Death
McQueen died at the age of 50, on November 7, 1980, in Jurez, Mexico of a heart attack following cancer surgery. McQueen had traveled to the Santa Rosa Clinic in Mexico for alternative treatments for mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer caused by asbestos exposure. It is unclear whether the asbestos exposure came from his racing career or from an experience in the United States Marine Corps; he wore an asbestos-insulated racers suit in his race cars and when working on his own cars and motorbikes would use an asbestos soaked rag to cover his mouth from other fumes, and McQueen himself admitted that he was exposed to the deadly insulating material during his stint in the Marines.
Controversy arose over his Mexican trip, because McQueen sought a very non-traditional treatment that used coffee enemas and laetrile, a supposedly "natural" anti-cancer drug available in Mexico but not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. In any event, the cancer was too far advanced for any treatment to have been effective.
In 1999, McQueen was posthumously inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Personal information
McQueen's height was approximately 5'9". He had a daily two-hour exercise regime, involving weightlifting and at one point running five miles, seven days a week. However, he was also known for his prolific drug use (William Caxton claimed he smoked marijuana almost every day; others said he used a tremendous amount of cocaine). In addition, like most actors of his era, he was a smoker.
After Charles Manson incited the murder of five people including McQueen's close personal friends Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring at Tate's home on August 9, 1969, it was reported the MacQueen was another potential target of the killers. He began carrying a gun on him, including when he attended Sebring's funeral Dunne, Dominick. The Way We Lived Then: Recollections of a Well Known Name Dropper. 1999. Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-609-60388-4.
McQueen had a reputation for demanding free items from studios when agreeing to do a film, such as electric razors, jeans and several other products. It was later found out that McQueen requested these items because he was donating them to the Boy's Republic reformatory school for displaced youth, where McQueen spent time during his youth. McQueen was later said to have made occasional visits to the school to spend time with the students and play pool with them.
McQueen learnt the martial art Tang Soo Do from ninth degree blackbelt Pat E. Johnson, and served as one of the pall bearers at Bruce Lee's funeral in 1973. Chuck Norris taught McQueen's son karate, while Lee trained him in Jeet Kune Do. Later on, McQueen convinced Norris to attend acting classes.
His name somehow ended up on President Richard Nixon's infamous Enemies List. This may be due to the fact that he had an "outlaw, rebellious" on screen image. Ironically, in real life, McQueen was quite conservative in his political views, and quite often backed the Republican party. He supported the war in Vietnam, 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 for Civil Rights on Washington. When McQueen heard he had been added to Nixon's Enemies List, 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." 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. He also turned down Ocean's Eleven, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Driver, Apocalypse Now, and Dirty Harry. He had been interested in starring in First Blood, but could not due to his illness/death. He had also been offered the Kevin Costner role in The Bodyguard when it was first proposed in 1976.
McQueen was also interested in making the film version of Waiting for Godot. During his time away from film he developed an interest in the classic playwrights. This led him to Beckett's Godot, but the playwright had never heard of Steve McQueen. Hobbies Patented a specific bucket seat in a racecar. The First Steve McQueen Site - FAQ/Trivia 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. High prices for memorabilia
The tinted sunglasses worn by McQueen in the 1968 movie The Thomas Crown Affair sold at a Los Angleles auction for $70,200 in 2006.  One of his motorcycles, a 1937 Croker, sold for a world record price of $276,500 at the same auction. Pop culture mentions He is mentioned as Bart Simpson's hero by Homer in The Simpsons episode "Saturdays of Thunder". Though Marge corrects Homer by saying "That's your hero". McQueen appeared in a commercial for the 2005 Ford Mustang which used scenes from Bullitt, and showed McQueen racing the new car around a race track built in a corn field, la baseball field in Field of Dreams. An earlier (circa 1997) advert, for the Ford Puma used a similar technique by splicing the Puma (with McQueen driving) into scenes from Bullitt all to the popular theme tune from that film. McQueen also posthumously appeared in another ad for beer in the UK. Scenes from The Great Escape were used in this commercial.
He was mentioned in various songs and quotes as well: During their performance of Highway Star in 1972 on Beat Club, Deep Purple's Ian Gillan ad libs a lyric of Like Steve McQueen, Mickey Mouse and all that lot. Prefab Sprout released an album entitled Steve McQueen in 1985. McQueen was the subject of the 2002 Sheryl Crow song called "Steve McQueen" off the album C'mon C'mon ?? the video has her riding a motorcycle like in "The Great Escape", driving a Ford GT40 at Willow Springs Raceway to simulate Le Mans, and being chased by NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr in a Bullitt Mustang. Including the lyrics "Just like Steve McQueen all I need is a fast machine". The Harpo song "Moviestar" starts with the lyrics "You feel like Steve McQueen when you're driving in your car". The MF DOOM song Kon Queso: "Seen 'em on the big screen like Steve McQueen, do something and never be back once he leave the scene." The comedy duo of Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong (aka "Cheech & Chong") in a skit entitled "The Continuing Adventures of Pedro and Man" (on the album Cheech and Chong's Greatest Hit), "Man" (Chong) says Pedro (Marin) drives, "Just like Steve McQueen", meaning he is driving well. Rock group Clutch claims "Steve McQueen's got nothing on me" in their song "The House that Peterbilt." Along with Martin Sheen and James Dean, he is mentioned in the R.E.M. song "Electrolite". In the song "Gene by Gene" by Blur, on their album Think Tank, the narrator claims to "...ride a Bullitt like Steve McQueen," presumably a reference to Bullitt, in which he starred. Beastie Boys mention McQueen in their song "High Plains Drifter", "I feel like Steve McQueen, a former movie star". In the 1996 film Beautiful Girls, Willie's girlfriend comments about how his father and brother took a liking to her upon their first meeting, which Willie remarks "They haven't felt this strongly about anyone since Steve McQueen died". In the Divine Comedy song "Absent Friends", Neil Hannon sings: "Steve McQueen jumped the first one clean/ But the great escape/ He tried to make/ Was not to be/ Maybe next time, Steve". Steve McQueen figures heavily in the 2000 film The Tao of Steve. The soundtrack includes a song titled "(I Just Wanna Be) Your Steve McQueen" by singer/songwriter Eytan Mirsky (who has also contributed original songs to the soundtracks of the indie films "Happiness," "American Splendor," and "Palindromes," among others). In his song "Beautiful Life", Shy Nobleman sings "Greet the neighbor, Steve McQueen". A large section of the film Heat was closely based on the ending of McQueen's biggest hit, Bullitt. Drive-By Truckers have a song called "Steve McQueen" on their 1998 album "Gangstabilly" (re-released in 2005). In an episode of Arrested Development a reference to McQueen is used when Lucille says to Buster, "...and now you think you're Steve McQueen" referencing to Buster's first date. The Sweetwater track Cake & Strychnine, from their release Superfriends, opens with the line "Slit yourself with a plastic razor / Cool, like Steve McQueen." The Supergrass track Prophet 15, from their 2002 release of Life on Other Planets, features the line "Che Guevara and Steve McQueen, right there, Oh Yeah". On the album Goats Head Soup by The Rolling Stones, McQueen is mentioned in the final song, "Star Star": "Yeah, Ali McGraw got mad at you / For givin' head to Steve McQueen". In the Lupin III episode "I Left My Mind in San Francisco", there is a scene where Jigen, Lupin, and Goemon are chasing Zenigata through San Francisco (in very similar fashion to Bullitt). After narrowly missing hitting a truck in an alleyway by making the car go on 2 wheels, Jigen says, "Sorry, I must have been possessed by the spirit of Steve McQueen". In the Feeder song "Under The Weather" off the 2001 album "Echo Park", McQueen's name is mentioned ("I wish that I was still fifteen, Debbie Harry and Steve McQueen"). Lambchop have a song called Steve McQueen on the album "Aw C'mon". The Gomez song "78 Stone Wobble" contains a spoken word sample, which ends with the words "Sean Connery or Steve McQueen" being looped. Elton John and Bernie Taupin mention him in the song "Postcards From Richard Nixon",on the album "Captain and the Kid" ("In a bright red Porsche on Sunset I saw Steve McQueen, I guess he's just about the coolest guy I've ever seen") The song 'Promiscuous' by Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland contains the lyrics 'They call me Thomas, last name Crown, recognize game, I'm a lay mine's down.' Thomas Crown was Steve's character in 'The Thomas Crown Affair' The South Australian band The Audreys have a song titled "You & Steve McQueen". Legendary New England DJ/Entertainer Russ McQueen chose his stage name as an homage to Steve McQueen. In House, the pet rat of Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) is named "Steve McQueen". The movie The Tao of Steve starring Donal Logue is about a group of middle-aged men who combine the ideas of famous intellectuals to create a foolproof theory of "dating" - The Tao of Steve. Their idol in the movie is Steve McQueen who represents the essence of cool. Frequently cited the "All Guts No Glory" Detective Frank Bullitt as his favorite character he ever played. In Disney and Pixar's film Cars', the main character, Lightning McQueen, is named after Steve and former Pixar animator Glenn McQueen. McQueen is frequenly mentioned during discussions between characters Deaq & Van in the TV show Fastlane Filmography Girl on the Run (1953) Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) Never Love a Stranger (1958) The Blob (1958) The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959) Never So Few (1959) The Magnificent Seven (1960) The Honeymoon Machine (1961) Hell Is for Heroes (1962) The War Lover (1962) The Great Escape (1963) Soldier in the Rain (1963) Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965) The Cincinnati Kid (1965) Nevada Smith (1966) The Sand Pebbles (1966) - ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATION for Best Actor in a Leading Role Think Twentieth (1967) (short subject) Bullitt: Steve McQueen's Commitment to Reality (1968) (short subject) The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) Bullitt (1968) The Reivers (1969) Le Mans (1971) On Any Sunday (1971) (documentary) Junior Bonner (1972) The Getaway (1972) The Life and Legend of Bruce Lee (1973) (documentary) Papillon (1973) The Towering Inferno (1974) Dixie Dynamite (1976) (Cameo) Bruce Lee, the Legend (1977) (documentary) An Enemy of the People (1978) (also executive producer) Tom Horn (1980) (also executive producer) The Hunter (1980)
References External links The Steve McQueen Online Fan Chat Forum Site italiane dedicate Steve McQueen Steve McQueen Online The First Steve McQueen Site Cinema Retro's Lost Interview with Steve McQueen The Steve McQueen Film Poster Site Elvis Motorbikes ala Steve MeQueen BBC Film Profile Steve McQueen at American Movie Classics Steve McQueen: The Cooler King (Fan website) Steve McQueen page at the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Steve McQueen - The Humanitarian, YoursDaily.com Off-road Motorsports Hall of Fame Biography at ormhof.com
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