Over the years I have written columns about several of my
favorite actors but I decided for a change I would write about one of
Otto’s favorites; he enjoyed watching movies and for years, one of the
career performers that he followed was Steve McQueen.
His formal name was Terrance Steven McQueen; he was born
in Beech Grove, Indiana on March 24, 1930. According to my research his
father was a stunt pilot for a barnstorming flying circus and his mother
was described as an alcoholic and a prostitute.
At a young age his mother and father left him with his
Uncle Claude, who thought of him as a son, and even though Mom sent for
Steve over the early years, he continued to return to his uncle who
owned a farm. Finally the rebellious young boy was sent to the
California Junior Boys Republic in Chino, a reform school where he
stayed until he ran away to join the circus at age sixteen.
Even though he spent most of his youth as a member of a
street gang and was educated at the reform school, he became known as
the "King of Cool." During the 1960-70s, he rose above those
circumstances to become the highest paid movie-star in the world.
In August 1969 he chose to spend the night with a
than attend a party; the event was by private invitation
to the home of Sharon Tate and later became newspaper headlines as the
site of the Manson murders.
Beneath the tough guy persona, McQueen was quite
talented, he was a pilot, a race car driver and mechanic, served in the
Marine Corps, holds a patent for designing a motor sports bucket seat,
and achieved black belt status in martial arts. He was a well-known
collector of vehicles,
race cars and high end luxury, assorted airplanes to include a bi-plane,
and expensive motorcycles.
One of his most famous movie roles was starring in "The
Towering Inferno" even though the film was half-over before he appeared
on the screen. He won an Academy Award nomination for his role in the
movie the "Sand Pebble."
Steve McQueen was known for having numerous romantic
affairs with stars and fashion models. He was married three times, was
the father of a son and a daughter and eventually had four
grandchildren. He never watched his movies and did not allow his
children to view them.
In 1979, Steve McQueen was shocked when he was diagnosed
with pleural mesothelioma, cancer of the lining of
the lung, which may have been a result of being exposed to asbestos
during his years serving in the Navy. He sought treatment at a clinic
in Mexico and the doctors proclaimed that they had cured his cancer.
Unfortunately, McQueen died November 7, 1980 at age fifty
from cardiac arrest after emergency surgery was performed in an attempt
to remove several painful tumors.
At his request, his body was cremated and his ashes were
scattered in the Pacific Ocean..