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Steve McQueen: A Biography

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Who Was Steve McQueen?

A friendship viewed through the lens: this photographic study depicts actor Steve McQueen as seen by his friend photographer William Claxton. Even thirty years after his death, Steve McQueen remains a cultural icon. His image continues to appear in advertising and pop culture and his fan base spans from car lovers to racing enthusiasts to motorcycle obsessives.

Steve McQueen tells the story of a small-town kid from modest means who went on to become one of the biggest icons in Hollywood. Much more than just a simple account of his career highlights, this volume delves deep into what made McQueen one of the most interesting and enigmatic figures of 20th century popular culture. No other Hollywood star has been so closely linked with cars and bikes, from the Ford Mustang GT Fastback he drove in Bullitt in the greatest car chase of all time to the Triumph motorcycle of The Great Escape.

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McQueen began his career in television and moved into film in the mids when he became a true cinema icon, and classic images of him are widely reproduced today. Marc does a clean job of showing the reader that even though Steve was deeply flawed as a man, a husband, and a friend, hard to say about his fathering skills as his children adored him his talent was absolutely God-given. However, the lengths his three wives went to stroke his ego, even through hundreds of known affairs, drugs, alcohol and abuse, definitely leaves me scratching my head.

And these are women who were all successful in their own careers. I guess it was a different time in Hollywood. Thank God. I am thankful for the movies Steve left us to enjoy, over and over.

Steve McQueen

I won't ruin the book for those who read this review, but for me, the best part of this biography was the very last line. And do not skip to it. You must read the whole book to get its full impact. Well written it kept my interest throughout. His complete lack of loyalty to his wife's was also disturbing to me. Guess I'm just old school. The back stories of why he did or didn't take films was quite informative as was the fact that he was a total method actor. Revealing story of his life. Shows what people put up with because Steve make them money. Tells how his childhood formed his narrsistic behavior and how he never grew out of it.

Spent his life stamping his feet when he did not get his way. In spite of himself, we got to see the finished classic movies he made.

Steve McQueen - - Biography

May 05, Harriett Milnes rated it liked it Shelves: 3-star-books , non-fiction. Interesting book about my teenage heartthrob. The author totally fills in all the details about the making of each film. Oct 22, Steve Brooks rated it really liked it. No surprise, McQueen led a life of decadence and womanizing. The author left no stone unturned in this autobiography. This book did not disappoint, unless you are a huge fan of McQueen Apr 01, Jeffrey Powanda rated it it was amazing. Solid bio of an insecure movie star. McQueen fan While the book provides great detail I found it a long and tough read.

I wanted to fast forward but had to plow through the details. Ok book. The The book was not so bad. But still worth reading. Jun 22, Mark Bunch rated it it was amazing. A must read for Steve McQueen fans.


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May 07, Paul Baker rated it liked it. Steve McQueen by Marc Eliot is a spare and generalized biography that focuses on the films made by the iconic actor. While the films are examined in some detail, Eliot spends the rest of his time detailing McQueen's life outside the set. The actor was a troubled child who was moved around the country and dropped off with various relatives for extensive blocks of time. His father left them when he was still an infant and his mother could not maintain a steady relationship throughout his life.

Stev Steve McQueen by Marc Eliot is a spare and generalized biography that focuses on the films made by the iconic actor. Steve spent a lot of time running with gangs on the streets of Los Angeles and spent stints in the boy's reformatory in Chino, California and in the United States Marine Corps.

His last trip to New York City, saw him hooking with up an aspiring actress and following her into various acting studios. With his chiseled good looks, he was a natural to follow Marlon Brando and others into the Method school of acting. From the time he was old enough, he went from one woman to another until he finally met Neile Adams, fell in love, and married her. He went quickly from off-Broadway plays into the live television scene that was hot in New York. When his wife got a job in Los Angeles, they relocated and he translated his career from television to film.

Although they had two children, Neile had to put up with his constant infidelity. He also began using drugs, first pot, then coke and finally hallucinogenics. With his monster macho ego, he began spending his earnings on fast cars and motorcycles, even racing with professionals. After sixteen years of marriage, he forced his wife to admit that she'd had an affair. Even though he had slept with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women, he was enraged and beat her up. He practically isolated his second wife, Ali McGraw, in their home and he hit her once before she filed for divorce.

And he was married a third time, very briefly before his death of mesothelioma, lung cancer caused by excessive exposure to asbestos. He was exposed while in the Marines, where he worked in the engine room, cleaning and repairing asbestos covered pipes and he was also exposed throughout his adult life to asbestos coating inside race cars. The book moves very quickly, an easy and engaging read.

Even though Eliot presents a very unbiased narrative, I have to admit that I went into the book admiring McQueen's acting and I left it absolutely hating him as a human being. Of course, he lived in a different era, but that is still no excuse for the way he treated other people. He was like a hurt child who never, ever grew up to take responsibility for his actions. And he died with no remorse at all for what he did to his first wife. In spite of the hefty list of good films and good performances he left behind, Steve McQueen was ultimately far less of a man than the "King of Cool" he presented on screen.

Sep 05, Amanda rated it did not like it. Women wanted him and men wanted to be him. Sadly, he also failed to write one. Received via NetGalley. I originally wrote this for The Chant Online. It is reprinted with permission. I think my first exposure to Steve McQueen's work was in one of my favorite movies as a kid, Papillon. I really enjoyed his performance in this, but sadly, his life was cut short by cancer at a relatively young age. After reading this biography, what I didn't realize is that even if cancer hadn't cut his life short, Steve had really grown tired of the acting game and we maybe wouldn't have seen too many more performances by him.

I was also amazed when reading this how many feature films he turne I think my first exposure to Steve McQueen's work was in one of my favorite movies as a kid, Papillon. I was also amazed when reading this how many feature films he turned down in his career. As big of a star as he was considered, he could have been that much bigger had he chosen to star in some of the hits he turned down like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The French Connection, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Apocalyse Now both Willard's and Kurtz's parts to name a few.

Steve was something of a paradox, not really liking acting, but fiercely protective of his role and standing against his peers. He also had a knack for marrying women who were completely devoted to him, despite his completely open liaisons with numerous women.

A Biography

Ironically, the only thing that seemed to end his marriages was his own jealousies when it came to their lives and careers. I have to say if you've never read much on McQueen, you will maybe not find him the most likable of actors, but you can't help be drawn into what a complex and interesting person he was in the short time we had to get to know him.

View 2 comments. Aug 07, James Carter rated it liked it. I don't feel I've learned very much about Steve McQueen in Marc Eliot's biography since I already knew that he was a wife-beater, serial cheater, and dopehead. However, it's been illuminating to learn about some of the history behind his films. But how disappointing I am is when Marc doesn't bother giving any information about Junior Bonner , the most satisfying Steve McQueen experience of all films which is a personal favorite of his.

15 Things You Didn't Know About Steve McQueen

In hindsight, Steve didn't really make many films. The best p I don't feel I've learned very much about Steve McQueen in Marc Eliot's biography since I already knew that he was a wife-beater, serial cheater, and dopehead. The best performance of his career was in Papillon. There are a lot of famous movies that Steve turned down which is pretty surprising.

Many of them would have suited his style. In reality, there is very little information about Steve's personal life, so Marc has turned his book into a workmanlike biography, detailing the history of his movies which is fine by me. But his coverage of them has been wholly uneven. Apr 30, Mike Mills rated it liked it Shelves: bio-reads. This was a straight forward read. It pretty much lays out Steve's life chronologically according to the films that he was working on.

He was a product of a broken home, a heavy smoker and drug user, an over sexed womanizer, very competitive, very insecure, a loner, and definitely a rebel. He did not make a lot of films, only Most of the films were very lousy and very self indulgence. He was always looking out for number one, and in the process did not care or was not aware of the path of des This was a straight forward read. He was always looking out for number one, and in the process did not care or was not aware of the path of destruction that he left behind.