Terrence “Steve” McQueen was born to a stunt pilot father and an alcoholic mother. Legend has it that he barrel-rolled out of his momma’s womb and refused to have the cord cut until he finished his end of a fifth of bourbon.
In the 60′s and 70′s, Steve personified the “anti-hero,” while becoming one of Hollywood’s biggest box office draws. He also raced motorcycles professionally and sparred with Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in his spare time. Mr. McQueen liked booze, fast cars, hot women, and free shit. Kids – I present you with your new role model.
With that, we give you Steve McQueen: An Abridged (And Slightly Exaggerated) Bio of a Badass Man of Manliness.
‘Cuz I Got No Place Else to Go
Steve’s family life was nothing short of abysmal. He never really knew his father and his mother kept dumping him on relatives while she was busy drinking her weight in peppermint Schnapps and marrying one sorry sack after another. Once, when Steve was a young lad, his stepfather at the time threw him down a flight of stairs. Steve bounced up from the floor, brushed off his shoulders, and sneered, “You lay your stinkin’ hands on me again and I swear, I’ll kill ya.”
After the shiver left his stepfather’s spine, he immediately had Steve shipped off to a boarding school for fear for his life and the lives of every person he had ever met.
During his time at California Junior Boys Republic, Steve took a regular ass-whoopin’ from the other kids, but soon dealt his own brand of punishment to a few of the fellas, earning their respect by being elected to the Student Council.
After leaving school and becoming famous, Steve was known to ask for a lot of free shit on every movie he was part of. But he didn’t just steal the towels out of his hotel room. No, Steve asked for things like razor blades and denim jeans… by the truckload. And before you go thinking McQueen was running a counterfeit jeans operation out of his trunk, he was sending all the free shit back to the kids at his old school. See ladies, every bad boy DOES have a soft side.
Give Me the Keys, I’ll Drive
At the tender age of 8, Steve was given a tricycle by his uncle. After receiving said tricycle, Steve sped down his street, popping a wheelie while passing a furious and befuddled crossing guard who didn’t even have enough time to put on her little white gloves as Steve gave her the finger. He later stated that this began his infatuation with racing.
Actually, infatuation is an understatement. Steve had axle grease in his veins. He raced motorcycles professionally, and even did most of his own stunts. Most impressive was the now famous car chase scene in Bullitt. Yeah… That was all him. But even more impressive was that during part of that scene he drove without brakes.
At one point, director Peter Yates hopped in the car with Steve in order to get some really good close up shots. When Yates had run out of tape during filming, McQueen informed Yates that he had run out of brakes. Yates promptly shit his pants. At a solid 120mph, McQueen pulled out the stunt driver’s handbook and proceeded to downshift/fishtail/180 degree e-brake his way to safety. Yates was thrilled to be alive while McQueen merely was pissed that he had run out of Marlboro Reds.
How Much Ya Bench?
McQueen’s daily workout regimen rivaled that of today’s MMA fighters. He started off light: running five miles, then lifting weights for two hours straight, every day. Then he got his hands dirty with a couple of lightweight sparring partners. He became a third degree black belt in Tang Soo Do and would frequently pal around with Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee, upping his already monstrous street cred. His son even learned Jeet Kune Do under Bruce Lee personally while Steve was probably busy putting the moves on another “nanny.”
Maybe if Steve wasn’t so busy working out all the time he could have starred in more films. McQueen is known for turning down more than a few movie roles. His manliest turn down happened during an all night booze fest with Steven Speilberg.
Speilberg wanted McQueen to play the lead role in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, to which McQueen probably replied, “Hmmm. Let’s do a power hour while I think about that.” Beer after beer they drank, until Speilberg couldn’t recognize his own son, and McQueen was laughing uncontrollably telling some story about a one-legged stripper he used to bang.
Before they stumbled out of the smoke-filled bar, he turned to Speilberg, with a cigarette dangling from his lips. He took a puff and said, “Sorry ‘Bergie. I can’t be in your picture show.” When Speilberg demanded an explanation, McQueen responded, “I just can’t cry on camera.” He then ordered a rare steak to go, and left Speilberg weeping like a 9-year-old girl because he knew he had to go with his second choice: Richard Dreyfuss.
Here’s a laundry list of a few of the other movies McQueen turned down. Presumably because he was too busy making buffalo jerky.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
The French Connection
And when you belly up to the bar this weekend, remember, McQueen would knock your teeth out if he heard you ordering anything ending in “-tini.”
Instead, try this drink made in honor of the man himself:
Steve McQueen Drink Recipe
3 oz Cola
1 shot Jack Daniels
1 shot 151 Rum
1 shot Jagermeister
Mike Gogel is one of the hosts of the semi-popular podcast, Masters of None. When faced with danger, Mike is always brave and can be very resourceful and clever, but can not tolerate being called a coward, a trait he shares with James Dean’s character Jim Stark.