March 24, 1930-Nov. 7, 1980
If James Dean was the quintessence of "cool" in the 1950's Steve McQueen took over the title in the 60's and 70's. Steve McQueen had a boyish quality while at the same time projected a masculine anti-hero type. One of a kind, to be sure. Steve had leading roles in some of my favorite movies from the period. The Magnificent Seven, Soldier in the Rain, The Sand Pebbles, The Cincinnati Kid, Nevada Smith, Bulitt, Papillon and many more.
Steve's coolness became such a part of the culture a movie titled The Tao of Steve came out in 2000 starring Donal Logue as a personable schlub that scored with chicks by employing the essence of McQueen's coolness. Good little indie flick.
Steve McQueen's death was not without controversy. Diagnosed with mesothelioma in 1979, Steve sought non-traditional treatment in Mexico by a total quack who utilized coffee enemas, shampoos, injections of sheep and cow cells, massage and laetrile. When he got back to the states his US doctors informed him his tumors had gotten so large that he wouldn't survive surgery to remove them. He went back to Mexico to have the surgery done and died of heart failure the day after.
Some people will go to extreme lengths to escape the Grim Reaper. For me, the words Mexico and medical treatment would tell me all I'd need to know.