Steve McQueen was one of the most famous actors of the 1960's and 70's. He first gained notoriety playing bounty hunter Josh Randall in the television series Wanted: Dead or Alive. He starred in several films beginning with The Blob in 1958. His best known films include The Magnificent Seven (1960), The Great Escape (1963), The Cincinnati Kid (1965), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), Bullitt (1968), The Getaway (1972), Papillon (1973), and The Towering Inferno (1974). He received his only Academy Award nomination for his role in The Sand Pebbles (1966).
Other films include The Honeymoon Machine (1961), Hell Is for Heroes (1962), The War Lover (1962), Love With the Proper Stranger (1963), Soldier In The Rain (1963), Baby, the Rain Must Fall (1965), Nevada Smith (1966), The Reivers (1969), Le Mans (1971), Junior Bonner (1972), An Enemy of the People (1978), Tom Horn (1980), and The Hunter (1980).
Few details are known about Steve McQueen's childhood. Steve's father, William McQueen, is said to have been a barnstorming pilot. His mother, Jullian Crawford, was from Missouri. After William McQueen and Jullian were married, they settled in the Indianapolis area. It is possible they were married in Indiana. Terrence Steven McQueen was born in Beech Grove on March 24, 1930. Some sources do give Beech Grove as his birthplace. Biographers do not even agree on the order or spellings of Steve's given name.
Shortly after Steve's birth, William McQueen left his wife and son and was never heard from again. Jullian would take Steve back and forth between Missouri and Indiana for most of his childhood. Steve would be left with his mother's family only to have Jullian return periodically to take Steve back with her to Indianapolis or New York. When Steve was about twelve years old, Jullian married a man named Berri and took Steve to live in California ending McQueen's association with Indiana.
The exact location of McQueen's birthplace in Beech Grove is unknown. Some biographies state that he was born in "Beech Grove Hospital." Althought Beech Grove has been home to St. Francis Hospital since 1906, a hospital called Beech Grove has never existed. It is also unclear whether McQueen ever lived in Beech Grove. Reports that McQueen went to grade school in Beech Grove have not been substantiated; nor have stories that he went to school at Bunker Hill Elementary, located approximately five miles southeast of Beech Grove. In 1931 Indianapolis City Directory, a Julian McQueen is listed as rooming at a house on North Drexel Avenue in Indianapolis (about four and a half miles from Beech Grove). In My Husband, My Friend, Steve's first wife Neile McQueen Toffel, states that Jullian and Steve were living in an apartment in Beech Grove just before they moved to California.
McQueen's reluctance to discuss his childhood and his mother's numerous address changes make it difficult to find substantial connections to Beech Grove. He did not often acknowledge his Indiana connection. In Steve McQueen the Final Chapter by Grady Ragsdale, McQueen is quoted as saying, "I'm an Indiana boy, but I've never considered myself a Hoosier."
Even when he discussed his life in Indiana it was not in a positive light. In the book McQueen by William F. Nolan, Steve recalled mastering two skills in Indianapolis: stealing hubcaps and shooting pool.
Steve McQueen died on November 7, 1980. He was married three times. His wife Neile had his only two children, Terry and Chad. Steve's second wife was actress Ali MacGraw. He was married to Barbara Minty at the time of his death.
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