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."
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?