Skip to main content

17 Things You Didn't Know About Steve McQueen

The King Of Cool.

Here's a few things you might not know about legendary actor, man of adventure, racecar driver, and all around impressive guy--Mr. Steve McQueen.

1.) Thought his first leading role in The Blob would tank at the box office, accepted $6,000 upfront instead of a smaller salary plus 10% of profits. He would have made $1,200,000.

2.) Joined the United States Marine Corps in 1947 as a tank driver and mechanic. Along with being honorably discharged in 1950, he also spent 41 days in the brig and rescued five fellow Marines from a tank in the Arctic during a training assignment. 

3.) Quite often raced his Mercedes while filming The Great Escape in Munich. By the time the film wrapped, he racked up 37 speeding tickets. 

4.) Turned down notable roles in Ocean's Eleven, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Driver, California Split, Dirty Harry, and The French Connection.

5.) On August 8, 1969, he famously blew off a dinner invite from Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate, the latter of which was famously murdered by Charles Manson's "family" that very night. It was one of the closer calls McQueen has, as he was later found to be on the top of Charles Manson's "Death List."

6.) Favorite film to work on was The Thomas Crown Affair

7.) Fixed James Dean's bike at a garage in NYC working as a mechanic. 

8.) Loved cheap brew. His favorite was Old Milwaukee Beer. 

9.) Expelled from Carnegie Institute of Technology for riding his bike through the College of Fine Arts building. 

10.) Pallbearer at the funeral for martial-arts legend Bruce Lee. 

11.) Inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1978. 

12.) Persol reissued the tortoiseshell 714 model as part of the Steve McQueen collection in 2010. 

13.) Busted for a DUI in Anchorage, Alaska in 1972. 

14.) Kept his 1970 Porsche 911S from Le Mans and ran 100k miles on it before it sold via RM Auctions for $1,375,00o

15.) 9th degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a Korean martial art.

16.) Inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. 

17.) Was on the August 1971 cover of Sports Illustrated, the first actor to do so.