All I need's a fast machine
And I'm gonna make it all right."
Terence Steven "Steve" McQueen (March 24, 1930 November 7, 1980) was an American movie actor and star of such films as The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Cincinnati Kid, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, Papillon, The Towering Inferno, and Le Mans.
His early film work included a supporting role in the Paul Newman film Somebody Up There Likes Me, about boxer "Rocky" Graziano. He also starred in the horror movie The Blob (1958), and shortly after that began his three-year run as star of the Western series Wanted: Dead or Alive. His "anti-hero" persona, which he developed at the height of the Vietnam counterculture, 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. 1974, he became the highest-paid movie star in the world. Although McQueen was combative with directors and producers, his popularity put him in high demand and enabled him to command large salaries.
He died of cancer in 1980 shortly after the release of his final film The Hunter. His son Chad played one of the "Kobra Kais" in The Karate Kid (1984) and his grandson, Steven R. McQueen, is a regular on the series The Vampire Diaries.
A friend and student of Bruce Lee, he was one of his pallbearers after his untimely death. Before he began acting he was a U.S. Marine, and saved the lives of five men when the tank they were driving broke through the ice during an Arctic exercise.
His IMDB article (only three digits!) can be found here.
Steve McQueen on TV Tropes:
- Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)
- The Blob (1958)
- The Magnificent Seven (1960)
- Hell Is for Heroes (1962)
- The Great Escape (1963)
- Love with the Proper Stranger (1963)
- The Cincinnati Kid (1965)
- Nevada Smith (1966)
- The Sand Pebbles (1966)
- Bullitt (1968)
- The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)
- The Reivers (1969)
- Le Mans (1971)
- On Any Sunday (1971) (documentary, As Himself)
- The Getaway (1972)
- Papillon (1973)
- The Towering Inferno (1974)
- The Hunter (1980)
- Acting for Two: The famous bike scene in The Great Escape had to be done with a stunt double in his place. So Steve instead doubles as the German motorcyclist who hits the wire.
- The Danza: In The Blob (1958) as Steve Andrews.
- Dawson Casting: In his first film, The Blob, he played a teenager, at the age of twenty-seven.
- Doing It for the Art:
- Magnum Opus Dissonance: Despite The Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven (1960) or The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) being his best known roles, his favourite was in Bullitt.
- The Other Marty: Sammy Davis Jr. was dropped from Never So Few after arguments with Frank Sinatra, and replaced with Steve.
- Playing Against Type:
- In The Reivers, a more family-friendly project, where he was a bit more comedic.
- As a suave billionaire in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), in contrast to his tougher Anti-Hero image.
- In Junior Bonner he plays a rodeo rider participating in a rodeo competition, which sounds like a fit to his image... except that the film is mostly centered on his efforts to reunite with his brother and estranged parents.
- Production Posse: He, James Coburn and Charles Bronson starred in both The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven (1960). Both films were directed by John Sturges and scored by Elmer Bernstein.
- The Red Stapler:
- His desert boots and tweed jacket in Bullitt became quite popular after the movie.
- Ditto for his Persol sunglasses in The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).
- Star-Making Role: The TV series Wanted: Dead or Alive is what brought him to the attention of Hollywood, and The Magnificent Seven (1960) solidified his status.
- Throw It In!:
- Wag the Director: He was infamous for this.
- On The Magnificent Seven (1960), he sought to steal the spotlight from most of the other cast members. Yul Brynner gave himself a Scully Box in the form of a mound of earth to make himself appear taller than Steve, who took to kicking it between takes. This one-upmanship spread to the rest of the actors.
- His (anachronistic!) motorcycle stunt in The Great Escape was put in at his own insistence. Although insurance reasons meant that he couldn't do the stunt himself.
- The gratuitous fight scene in The Cincinnati Kid was added at his insistence.
- On The Towering Inferno he and Paul Newman had to have the exact same amount of lines each. But Steve made sure that his character did not appear until an hour in, meaning that Paul would have used most of his by the time he came into the film.
- What Could Have Been:
- The Bodyguard was originally conceived as a vehicle for him back in the 1970s, but it didn't get made until 1992 - this time with Kevin Costner in the lead.
- He wanted to play Rambo in First Blood as well. Once again, his death halted the project.
- During a reclusive period in the late 70s, he turned down roles in the films A Bridge Too Far, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Driver and Apocalypse Now.
- He turned down both Dirty Harry and The French Connection because he didn't want to do any more cop movies after Bullitt.