I’m not a great actor – let’s face it. I don’t have a great deal of scope. There are certain things I can do, but when I’m bad, I stink. There’s something about my shaggy dog eyes that makes people think I’m good. I’m not all that good.
McQueen was an avid motorcycle and racecar enthusiast. When he had the opportunity to drive in a movie, he performed many stunts. Perhaps the most memorable were the car chases in Bullitt and motorcycle chases in The Great Escape.
Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting.
It was difficult to find riders as skilled as McQueen.At one point, using editing, McQueen is seen in a German uniform chasing himself on another bike.
Although the jump over the fence in The Great Escape was done by Bud Ekins for insurance purposes, McQueen did have considerable screen time riding his 650cc Triumph TR6 Trophy motorcycle.
Acting Steve McQueen on
I'm not sure whether I'm an actor who races or a racer who acts.
Personal Steve McQueen on
I'm not that interesting of a person.
Goodness Steve McQueen on
There's something about my shaggy dog eyes that makes people think I'm good. I'm not all that good.
Manifest Steve McQueen on
I'm certainly not who people think I am. I always do whatever I want to do, and my films are personal to me.
I learned that life is a long and difficult road, but you have to keep going, or you'll fall by the wayside.
In 1971 McQueen starred in the poorly received auto-racing drama Le Mans. Then came The Getaway where he met future wife Ali MacGraw. He worked for director Sam Peckinpah again with the leading role in Junior Bonner in 1972, a story of an aging rodeo rider. He followed this with a physically demanding role as a Devil’s Island prisoner in 1973’s Papillon, featuring Dustin Hoffman as his character’s tragic sidekick.
In 1973, The Rolling Stones referred to McQueen in the song “Star Star” from the album Goats Head Soup for which an amused McQueen reportedly gave personal permission.
The lines were “Star fucker, star fucker, star fucker, star fucker star/ Yes you are, yes you are, yes you are/Yeah, Ali MacGraw got mad with you/For givin’ head to Steve McQueen”.
By the time of The Getaway, McQueen was the world’s highest paid actor. But after 1974’s The Towering Inferno, co-starring with his long-time professional rival Paul Newman and reuniting him with Dunaway, became a tremendous box-office success, McQueen all but disappeared from the public eye, to focus on motorcycle racing and traveling around the country in a motorhome and on his vintage Indian motorcycles. He did not return to acting until 1978 with An Enemy of the People, playing against type as a bearded, bespectacled 19th-century doctor in this adaptation of a Henrik Ibsen play.
Steve McQueen in
The Thomas Crown affair
I'm about challenging people. Like, properly challenging them and their assumptions.
The film features the chess scene with McQueen and Dunaway play a game of chess, silently flirting with each other.
The photography is unusual for a mainstream Hollywood film, using a split-screen mode. McQueen undertook his own stunts (playing polo) and driving a dune buggy at high speed on the Massachusetts coastline.
This was similar to his starring role in the movie Bullitt, released a few months afterwards, in which he drove a Ford Mustang through San Francisco at more than 100 mph. In an interview, McQueen would later say this was his favorite film.
McQ on Trust
When I believe in something, I fight like hell for it.
Stardom equals financial success and financial success equals security. I've spent too much of my life feeling insecure. I still have nightmares about being poor, of everything I own just vanishing away. Stardom means that can't happen.
It was 1970 and Steve McQueen, with his blond hair, dare-devil demeanour and piercing blue eyes, was the darling of Hollywood.
Steve McQueen on
In the 1960s he publicly threatened to break Howard Hughes' nose if Hughes did not stop harassing Mamie Van Doren, a woman both men had had affairs with, but at different times. Needless to say, Hughes never bothered Van Doren again.