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50 Interesting Facts About Steve McQueen - Jake Holman From ‘The Sand Pebbles’

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Steve McQueen was an American actor, who is known for his “anti-hero” persona, called "The King of Cool." Here are 50 facts about the actor.

Steve McQueen (1930-1980), US actor, wearing a dark blue pin stripe jacket, a blue shirt and a black tie, and holding a cigar in a publicity portrait issued for the film, 'The Thomas Crown Affair', 1968. The crime drama, directed by Norman Jewison, starred McQueen as 'Thomas Crown'.
(Photo : Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images) Steve McQueen (1930-1980), US actor, wearing a dark blue pin stripe jacket, a blue shirt and a black tie, and holding a cigar in a publicity portrait issued for the film, 'The Thomas Crown Affair', 1968. The crime drama, directed by Norman Jewison, starred McQueen as 'Thomas Crown'.
  1. He became the highest paid Film star in the world during 1974. However he did not act in any movies for next 4 years.
  2. McQueen being a motor cycle and race car enthusiast performed his own stunts. However, the jump over the fence in “The Great Escape,” was performed by Bud Ekins for insurance purpose.
  3. He was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.
  4. He was also inducted into the “Hall of Great Western Performers” in 2007.
  5. In 1998, a commercial using McQueen’s archive footages were used for Ford Puma. The commercial was shot in modern day San Francisco superimposing his image wherever required.
  6. Again in 2005, Ford used his image for the commercial of Ford Mustang. Body double was used and edited digitally to look like McQueen.
    American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) works out with a punching bag in the gymnasium on the grounds of Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California, May 1963.
    (Photo : John Dominis/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images) American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) works out with a punching bag in the gymnasium on the grounds of Paramount Studios, Hollywood, California, May 1963.
  7. He had a collection of 130 motorcycles. Most of them were sold in auction around 4 years after his death.
  8. McQueen would demand free items such as electric razors and jeans from studios while doing films with them. Later it was revealed that all items went to Boys Reformatory School, where he spent his childhood.
  9. He was born as Terence Steven McQueen on March 24, 1930 in Beech Grove, Indiana, to William Terrence McQueen and Julia Ann.
  10. William McQueen was a stunt pilot for flying circus and Julia Ann was a prostitute. Both his parents left him with his grandparents.
  11. He was raised in a farm by Uncle Claude. He recalls “He was a very good man, very strong, very fair. I learned a lot from him.” He was given a golden pocket watch by his uncle when he left the farm with the inscription “To Steve, who has been a son to me.”
  12. He was once caught red-handed by police while he stole hubcaps, and handed over to his stepfather, who beat him severely.
    A Portrait Of Steve Mcqueen As The Pilot Michael Delaney In The American Film Le Mans, Directed In 1971 By Lee H. Katzin.
    (Photo : Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images) A Portrait Of Steve Mcqueen As The Pilot Michael Delaney In The American Film Le Mans, Directed In 1971 By Lee H. Katzin.
  13. He was sent to California Junior Boys Republic in Chino at the age of 14, where he started to change and mature.
  14. He volunteered to serve on a ship once he left Boys Republic School at the age of 16. On reaching Dominic Republic with the crew, he abandoned the ship and joined a brothel as towel boy.
  15. In 1947, at the age of 17, he joined United States Marine Corps and was promoted to Private First Class. At first, he was the same rebellious kid and was punished.
  16. He saved the lives of 5 marines from a tank before it broke through Ice in an Arctic exercise. He had changed during those times and started liking marine’s discipline.
  17. He served in marine till 1950 and was honorably discharged. He has stated that he enjoyed his time in the marine.
  18. He wanted to become a professional car racer and took part in the British Touring Car Championship in 1961. Driving a BMC Mini, he finished third.
    Steve McQueen (1930-1980), US actor, wearing sunglasses with a grey suit, a blue shirt and dark blue tie in a publicity image issued for the film, 'The Thomas Crown Affair', USA, 1968. The crime drama, directed by Norman Jewison, starred McQueen as 'Thomas Crown'.
    (Photo : Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images) Steve McQueen (1930-1980), US actor, wearing sunglasses with a grey suit, a blue shirt and dark blue tie in a publicity image issued for the film, 'The Thomas Crown Affair', USA, 1968. The crime drama, directed by Norman Jewison, starred McQueen as 'Thomas Crown'.
  19. McQueen with a cast on left foot, along with Peter Revson finished first in the three-liter class at the 1970’s 12 Hours of Sebring Race driving a Porsche 908.
  20. He often competed in off-road motorcycle racing with his BSA Hornet. He took part in Baja 1000, Mint 400 and Elsinore Grand Prix. His first off-record motorcycle was Triumph 500cc from Ekins.
  21. He holds a patent for designing a motorsports bucket seat. The patent was issued in 1971.
  22. He also tried several times unsuccessfully to buy the Mustang GT 390 that he drove in the movie “Bullitt.” It consisted of a modified drive train that suited his style of driving.
  23. He also flew aircraft and owned many including 1945 Stearman, 1946 Piper-J3 Club and 1931 Pitcairn PA-8 biplane. During his final days, these were hangared at Santa Paula Airport, just an hour drive away from Hollywood.
  24. In 1952, he joined Stella Adler School of acting in New York where he met Gia Scala. They started dating but it never went beyond that.
  25. Four years later in 1956, he married actress Neile Adams. They both starred together in “Man from the South” episode of series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” in 1960.
  26. They both have a daughter Terry Leslie born on June 5, 1959 and a son Chad born on December 28, 1960. The duo divorced in 1972.
  27. He again married his co-star in “The Getaway,” Ali MacGraw in 1973. However, they also divorced in 1978.
  28. It is alleged that he had a relationship with Barbara Leigh, his co-star in “Junior Bonner,” after separating from Adams.
  29. It is alleged by actress and model Lauren Hutton, that she had an affair with McQueen in the early 1960s.
    American actor Steve McQueen with his wife, Neile McQueen in San Francisco during a break from shooting 'Bullit', a Solar film production in which he plays the lead role.
    (Photo : Alan Band/Keystone/Getty Images) American actor Steve McQueen with his wife, Neile McQueen in San Francisco during a break from shooting 'Bullit', a Solar film production in which he plays the lead role.
  30. He married another model Barbara Minty on January 1980, less than a year before his death.
  31. He maintained his fitness by exercising for two hours daily including weightlifting and also running for five miles.
  32. He learned Tang Soo Do, a form of martial art from Pat. E. Johnson, a black belt holder.
  33. In 1972, he was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Anchorage, Alaska. He was also known for the use of drugs.
  34. According to William Claxton, McQueen smoked marijuana almost every day. Marc Eliot also alleged that in early 1970’s McQueen used a lot of cocaine.
  35. He survived the Manson Murder by not attending the private party organized by Jay Sebring at Sharon Tate’s home on August 9, 1969. He instead spent the night with his girlfriend, who had insisted on him staying home.
    Steve McQueen as race car driver Michael Delaney in the movie, 'Le Mans'. Original theatrical release June 23, 1971. Image is a screen grab.
    (Photo : CBS via Getty Images) Steve McQueen as race car driver Michael Delaney in the movie, 'Le Mans'. Original theatrical release June 23, 1971. Image is a screen grab.
  36. McQueen started carrying a handgun publicly after the Manson Murder. After two months, a hit list with McQueen’s name in it was found by the police.
  37. He started to cough persistently in 1978. He stopped smoking and underwent treatments. In 1979, biopsy report revealed a cancer due to asbestos exposure called as plueural mesothelioma. There is no known cure for it.
  38. It was later revealed that he had widespread Metastasis in his body. He sought treatment from William Kelly, who was opposed by many scientists. His treatment included Coffee enemas, washing with shampoo, injecting with live cells from cattle and sheep, massage and laetrile.
  39. McQueen paid $40,000 per month to Kelly for treatment, which is equal to $115,000 in year 2016. Kelly had announced that McQueen would be cured completely, however it got very worse.
  40. He died of heart attack on November 7, 1980 in a Juarez Clinic in Mexico. He was 50 at that time.
  41. He was cremated and his ashes were spread in the Pacific Ocean.
  42. He was ranked at #26 in the “50 Sexist Stars of All Time” list by TV Guide in 2005.
  43. A blue-tinted sunglass worn by him in the movie “The Thomas Crown Affair,” in 1998 was auctioned and sold for $70,200 in 2006.
  44. His motorcycle, a 1937 Crocker was also auctioned and sold for $276,500, a world record.
  45. His Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Lusso was also sold in an acution for $2.31 million in August 2007.
  46. A documentary in 2015, named “Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans” was released which describes his quest to star in an auto racing movie named “Le-Mans.”
    American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) smiles during the filming of an episode of the television anthology series 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' entitled 'Man from the South,' December 23, 1959. The episode, which also featured McQeen's wife Philippine Neile Adams, was directed by Norman Lloyd and was originally broadcast on January 3, 1960. (Photo by )
    (Photo : CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images) American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) smiles during the filming of an episode of the television anthology series 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' entitled 'Man from the South,' December 23, 1959. The episode, which also featured McQeen's wife Philippine Neile Adams, was directed by Norman Lloyd and was originally broadcast on January 3, 1960. (Photo by )
  47. An adventure heist movie named “Yucatan” was slated to release in 2013. It was based on McQueen’s notes and unfinished storyboards.
  48. He was slated to star in “First Blood,” as John Rambo, but died before that.
  49. The original star cast of the original “The Magnificent Seven” in 1960 is survived by only Robert Vaughn. McQueen was the first to die among them.
  50. He formed his own production company called Scuderia Condor Enterprises which operated till 1963. He renamed it to Solar Productions Inc and produced many movies under this banner.

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