"I'm not sure that acting is something for a grown man to be doing."
As the song by Sheryl Crow goes; "Like Steve McQueen, all I need's a fast machine; And I'm gonna make it all right.. Like Steve McQueen; Underneath your radar screen, you'll never catch me tonight.. I ain't takin' shit off no one.. Baby that was yesterday.. I'm an all American rebel; making my big getaway; yeah you know it's time; I gotta fly.." What a FANTASTIC, FABULOUS, and AWESOME actor.. In his own words, he wasn't about 'cinema for cinema's sake'.. He wanted to do 'REAL films with REAL circumstances, that REAL people would & could connect with!!' He didn't buy the Hollywood hero bullshit.. Yet, somehow, the label stuck! Much like Elvis Presley NOT wanting to be called king! He was ALWAYS uncomfortable with that title & even stopped a show once to rebuke a fan in the crowd holding a sign reading, 'king of rock n roll.' Saying to her, 'there is ONLY ONE KING sweetheart - & that is the LORD Jesus Christ!!! MUCH the SAME was McQueen.. He wanted to live REAL, and to do REAL FILMS! And ANY ONE OF HIS FILMS were SOLID GOLD!! 100% PURE SOLID GOLD!! I love them; AND the man Steve McQueen..
...And with that?? His awesome story...
Steve McQueen was born Terence Steven McQueen, on March 24, 1930, at St. Francis Hospital in Beech Grove, Indiana.. NOW GONE!! Born to not very responsible parents, to say the least.. His mother, a hard drinking alcoholic whose feeble grip on sanity was slipping.. And his father, a stunt pilot for a barnstorming flying circus, who left his mom 3 months after Steve being born.. Unable to properly care for a child, his mother left him in the care of her parents; moving young Steve to Slater, Missouri in 1933 to this house on a farm that his great-uncle Claude built, just as the Great Depression was setting in.. (The house is shown here; as it looks today!) Wanna see Steve's bedroom window?? Steve recalled, having good memories of living on the farm, saying that his great-uncle Claude "was a very good man, very strong, very fair. I learned a lot from him." Steve was dyslexic and suffered an ear infection at age 3 that left him partially deaf..
Steve attended school in this building.. (This is the sign in front of it..) It was in this town, understandably VERY proud of their product, that Steve's dreams and in fact, HE, took shape.. The town has a 'car show' in Steve's honor till this day!!
Life was GREAT until the age of eight.. His mother had allegedly recovered from alcohol addiction & gotten a new hubby.. She returned to get him, and he was taken back to Indianapolis.. Before Steve left his great-uncle's home, his mentor & great-uncle Claude, had a gift to give him.. As Steve recalled,"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, that read, "To Steve – who has been a son to me." Cool stuff!!!
Back in Indiana, the grand life of love that he had always known at his great-uncle Claude's home in Missouri, was replaced with a life of SHIT!! By Steve's own account, he and his new stepfather "locked horns immediately." He said of his asshole stepfather, 'He was a prime son of a bitch, who was not averse to using his fists on myself and my mother." His stepfather beat him to such an extent that at the age of nine, he left home to live on the streets. Unable to control his behavior, his mother sent him back to Slater when he was 12.. He played baseball.. highlighted; top center.
At age 14, he left Claude's farm without saying goodbye and joined a circus for a short time, then drifted back to his mother and stepfather in Los Angeles - resuming his life as a gang member and petty criminal. McQueen was caught stealing hubcaps by the police and handed over to his stepfather, who beat him severely, ending the fight by throwing Steve down a flight of stairs. Steve looked up at his stepfather and said, "You lay your stinking hands on me again and I swear, I'll kill you."
Fearing Steve (IMO), his stepdad convinced Steve's mother to sign papers that would induce Steve to being, 'a ward of the state.' It was to be a GREAT thing for Steve.. The incident remanded Steve to the California Junior Boys Republic in Chino.. In this new environment, Steve matured.. He was not popular with the other boys at first, as he recalled, "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 my 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." Eventually, Steve became a standout at the school, and was even elected to the Boys Council, ((a group who set the rules and regulations governing the boys' lives)).
Steve left Chino Hills at age 16.. Returning to & living with his mother, now living in Greenwich Village, New York. He then left his mom; talking his way onto a ship bound for the Dominican Republic. Once there he found work in a brothel; afterwards, Steve made his way back to the USA; to Texas and drifted from job to job. He worked as a carnival barker and a lumberjack.. Before deciding to enlist in the military..
In 1947, Steve; first receiving permission from his mother since he was not yet 18 years old; enlisted in the Marines.. After attempting some mischief and getting himself thrown in the brig.. Steve embraced the structure and discipline of the Marines.. He received an honorable discharge, and with a new outlook on life..
In 1952, with financial assistance provided by the G.I. Bill, Steve began studying acting in New York at Sanford Meisner's Neighborhood Playhouse and at HB Studio.. Studying under cinema great, Stella Adler.. He began to earn money by competing in weekend motorcycle races at Long Island City Raceway; beginning a solid love for 'all-things FAST!' 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, seeking acting jobs in Hollywood. The rest is a rich legendary history that has been to OUR benefit, FoSho!!
His resume is LONG & STRONG.. And is here!
In the late 60s, the man known for loving fast.. Had decided he wanted to learn how to fly a plane. He took up lessons from the closest teacher around.. Over 100 miles away.. The instructor was a Christian, and began conversing with Steve when they would go up in flight. To the extent that Steve would begin asking, 'tell me more about your God.' 'He was VERY interested and had all kinds of questions about Jesus'... According to the instructor.. Eventually giving his life to Christ.. He embraced the cross, Christ, and his new life of liberty in Jesus Christ.. He gave up the cigarettes and drugs..
In 1978, Steve developed a persistent cough.. His shortness of breath was becoming more & more pronounced. a biopsy revealed pleural mesothelioma, a cancer connected with asbestos. Steve began undergoing treatments, secretly. As he didn't want to make his condition known.. That was all BLOWN when the asshole magazine, the National Enquirer disclosed that he had "terminal cancer," on March 11, 1980..
In July of 1980, after being told by his docs that there was nothing else that could be done for him; he traveled to Rosarito Beach, Mexico, for an unconventional treatment by William Donald Kelley, who was promoting a variation of therapies that used coffee enemas, frequent washing with shampoos, daily injections of fluid containing live cells from cattle and sheep, massages, and laetrile, a reputed anti-cancer drug available in Mexico, but long known to be both toxic and ineffective at treating cancer. Steve paid for Kelley's treatments, by himself, in cash payments which were said to have been upwards of $40,000 per month (which'd be $124,000 in today's dollars) during his three-month stay in Mexico. Kelley had been a defunct orthodontist who was touting the cure for cancer.. ONLY in Mexico, I tell yah!
Steve returned to the U.S. in early October. Despite the spreading of the cancer throughout Steve's body, Kelley, seizing the op, publicly announced that Steve would be completely cured and return to normal life. Steve's condition, however, soon worsened and huge tumors developed in his abdomen. In late October, Steve returned to Mexico, to have an abdominal tumor on his liver (weighing around five pounds) removed, despite warnings from his U.S. doctors that the tumor was inoperable and his heart could not withstand the surgery. It turns out, those doctors were correct..
Using the name “Samuel Sheppard,” McQueen checked into a small Juárez clinic where the doctors and staff were unaware of his actual identity.
On November 7, 1980, McQueen died of heart failure at 3:45 a.m. at the Juárez clinic, 12 hours after surgery to remove or reduce numerous metastatic tumors in his neck and abdomen. The El Paso Times mis-reported McQueen died in his sleep, (imagine THAT!!!) Steve was cremated & his ashes were spread in the Pacific Ocean. Though gone, DEFINITELY NOT forgotten.. Few attain the legendary status that Steve McQueen attained!! Still celebrated and referenced widely in popular culture.. Safe to say.. As LEGENDS GO - Steve was in a class reserved but for a few!!! RIP Steve!!
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