Steve McQueen signature set. Overall size is 53″ x 38″ and the signature card is 4″ x 5.5″.
He was the ultra-cool male film star of the 1960s, and rose from a troubled youth spent in reform schools to being the world’s most popular actor. Over 25 years after his untimely death from mesothelioma in 1980, Steve McQueen is still considered hip and cool, and he endures as an icon of popular culture.
McQueen was born in Beech Grove, Indiana, to Julia Ann (Crawford) and William Terence McQueen, a stunt pilot. His first lead role was in the low-budget sci-fi film The Blob (1958), quickly followed by roles in The St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959) and Never So Few (1959). The young McQueen appeared as Vin, alongside Yul Brynner, in the star-laden The Magnificent Seven (1960) and effectively hijacked the lead from the bigger star by ensuring he was nearly always doing something in every shot he and Brynner were in together, such as adjusting his hat or gun belt. He next scored with audiences with two interesting performances, first in the World War II drama Hell Is for Heroes (1962) and then in The War Lover (1962). Riding a wave of popularity, McQueen delivered another crowd pleaser as Hilts, the Cooler King, in the knockout World War II P.O.W. film The Great Escape (1963), featuring his famous leap over the barbed wire on a motorcycle while being pursued by Nazi troops. In 1978, McQueen developed a small but persistent cough that would not go away. He quit smoking and underwent antibiotic treatments without improvement. Shortness of breath grew more pronounced and on December 22, 1979, after he completed work on ‘The Hunter’, a biopsy revealed pleural mesothelioma, a rare lung cancer associated with asbestos exposure for which there is no known cure. McQueen later gave a medical interview in which he believed that asbestos used in movie sound stage insulation and race-drivers’ protective suits and helmets could have been involved, but he thought it more likely that his illness was a direct result of massive exposure while removing asbestos lagging from pipes aboard a troop ship while in the US Marines.