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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

S Is For...



Poor Susan, killing herself with fits, thought temper started with a T?

S Is For... Steve McQueen

I know some of you out there thought I was going to wax poetic about Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, but I decided to surprise you all and indulge my predilection for the "King of Cool."

What can you say about a man who was and is his own category of badass, a man who not only played the part, but lived it. Cool was woven into his DNA. He was the anti-hero we all loved and wanted to be. McQueen commanded your attention as soon as he stepped in front of that camera. Thirty years after his death and no one has even come close to that laconic, minimalist style.

Critics called it simple charisma, that he was just playing himself on-screen. Call it what you want, but McQueen had a steely-eyed intensity and could say in a look what others would in lines and lines of dialogue. All I know is I definitely gulp down the McQueen Kool-Aid whenever I put one of his flicks into my DVD player.You can ask me anything while I'm in Steve Land and I'll do it.

McQueen never considered himself a great actor and indeed his role of Machinist Mate Jake Holman in The Sand Pebbles brought him his only Oscar nomination. However, he had been nominated for four Golden Globes: Love with a Proper Stranger, The Sand Pebbles, The Reivers and Papillon. Some of my favorites include Junior Bonner, The Getaway, Le Mans and yes, The Blob.

He rode motorcycles, raced cars and flew planes. He even raced with Mario Andretti at the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring, an endurance race he lost by 23 seconds. His biggest passion was motorcycles. He raced bikes off-road and was even inducted into the Off-Road Motor Sports Hall of fame in 1978.

Steve often did his own stunts. He was at the wheel for the most part in the legendary Bullitt car chase, an often imitated, but never equaled scene. It was also McQueen on the motorcycle in The Great Escape. He was quick to point out when it wasn't him, giving credit where it was due. Johnny Carson tried to congratulate him for his work on the film's famous motorcycle leap, but he simply said "It wasn't me. That was Bud Ekins." No one rode a bike like McQueen, though, and at one point in the film, McQueen is in a German uniform chasing himself. How badass is that?

He left us far too soon and I imagine that he would be one kick ass octogenarian like Eastwood.

18 comments:

  1. Excellent pick! Steve McQueen is a sterling class unto himself. I admire his approach to acting and his imprint on the medium. His characters embody his "coolness." The fact that his personal life was fraught with an infinite streak of fearless adventure is no surprise.

    Well-said Melissa. Plus, your Eastwood comment is so true!

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  2. I would have loved to see both Eastwood and McQueen as ontogenarians and the movie they could have made then!

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  3. Steve McQueen was a bit befor my tim, but he was the eptimony of cool. I still check out clips on YouTube of the guy. He inspires me in my action scenes.

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  4. Steve McQueen was certainly iconic. It's always a tragedy when artistic people leave us too soon. Neat post!

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  5. Great choice, Mel! Steve McQueen is a true cinematic icon, and all the ladies' favorite. S is for SUPERB! :)

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  6. Beware of the Blob was one of my favourite movies with Stevie :)
    Wagging Tales - Blog for Writers

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  7. Though I'm not so familiar with his films, but Steve McQueen is definitely a great man and legend.

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  8. Fantastic Pick!! I love that he did his own stunts racing bikes and cars!! Too cute!

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  9. Ah yes, the real definition of cool! I grew up on his movies and still love them :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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  10. Excellent choice, used to love watching Steve .

    Thanks for the lovley comment, Much appreciated,
    Yvonne,

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  11. Great choice! Steve is definitely one of the BAMFIEST BAMFS of his time. Bullitt? Bitch, please. No one else could do that shit. And I'm going to agree with Matt, totally spot on with the Eastwood comment. I love it!

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  12. @Matt I have seen so many try and emulate his style, but it can't be done. He was one actor who never had a lot of dialogue and he never needed it. Glad you liked my Eastwood comment. They would be an awesome duo in film today.

    @Roland An Eastwood McQueen film now is one I have fantasized about, particularly after Gran Torino. Thanks for the info on your book. I know I'm going to love it. :)

    @Stephen My dad turned me onto McQueen. You have most excellent inspiration for your action scenes. You have been added to my must read list. :)

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  13. @Lisa Hi! So happy you enjoyed my post. It is so tragic when artists leave us so soon. Fortunately, their work remains forever to inspire us.

    @Nebular Hey sweetie! I'm so happy you like McQueen, too. He certainly was one cool character who made movies like no one else.

    @mooderino I absolutely second your opinion. There was no one else like him.

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  14. @Charmaine I'm with you! The Blob was the very first McQueen movie I ever saw and it is my sentimental favorite.

    @Jaccstev McQueen was certainly an icon and I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy more of his work. I know you would appreciate his style. :)

    @Nicole Thanks! I could not believe all the stuff he did in his real life. He sure lived hard and fast.

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  15. @Jules I still can't get enough of his movies, either. He had so much swagger. ;)

    @Dez I don't know, but she looks bad, doesn't she? Maybe Susan missed out on Justin Bieber tickets. ;)

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  16. @Yvonne Hi! Steve was certainly very unique, wasn't he? I'm so happy to see you here. I thought about your words as I went for my walk today. You got me to do another lap on the track and I thank you.

    @M BAMFIEST BAMFS...Hell yeah! I love it! No one could drive like my man Steve. His skills still put lesser men to shame. Glad you dug the Eastwood comment. The mind reels at having those two in a flick today.

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