The "King of Cool" was known for his wild antics and crazy lifestyle; he loved motorcycles and fast cars, and has become one of the most emulated actors ever. He played many great roles but was most known for "Papillion," "Bullitt," "The Thomas Crown Affair," and my two personal favorites "The Great Escape" and "The Magnificent Seven."
He fought often with directors over his involvement in stunts; he wanted to do them all, while the directors didn't want to risk it. He was into motorcycles and race cars long before it became "hip" in Hollywood to do so, and he raced both professionally. At one point in his career, he considered taking up auto racing full time, showing that his passion for racing and fast machines was more than a publicity move, as it seems to have become for today's actors.
Although he was the highest paid star of the 1960s Steve McQueen had a reputation for being tightfisted. On some films he would demand 10 electric razors, and dozens of pairs of jeans. It was later found out he gave this stuff to Boys Republic, a private school and treatment community for troubled youngsters, where he spent a few years himself.
He trained in Tang Soo Do with 9th degree blackbelt Pat E. Johnson, and loved dirt biking. He always had ideas for movies, of course featuring himself in the lead. McQueen proposed the idea for the film "The Bodyguard," but this was forgotten for 16 long years, until 1992 when Kevin Kostner made it. This explains Kostner's McQueen-type haircut in the film.
McQueen was diagnosed with a form of lung cancer, mesothelioma, which is related to asbestos exposure, although McQueen had been a heavy smoker as well. He wore an asbestos-insulated racers suit in his race cars, and possibly was exposed to the harmful insulating material during his stint in the Marines.
He eventually died from two heart attacks at 3:45 am on November 7, 1980, less than 24 hours after undergoing successful surgery to remove the cancerous tumors in his stomach. According to the doctor present at the operation, his right lung was entirely cancerous. He was only 50 years old.
I like him because he was a man's man, had a great sense of timing, and was a live wire. These aren't the greatest attributes to have in life, but they're amazing to watch on-screen.
Visit a great fansite dedicated to him here, or his IMDb profile, both of where this information came from.
...And if you'd like desktop wallpapers of Steve or any of the previous "Va-Va Voom" Stars of the Day, email me.