King of Cool: Steve McQueen


By: Nathan Chandler

5 Min Quiz

Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

Steve McQueen survived a rough upbringing and tumultuous early adulthood to become a film star for the ages. Then, as his star was burning brightest, he was extinguished from the Earth. How much do you know about Steve McQueen?

What was Steve McQueen's given first name?

His birth name was Terence Steven McQueen, but of course, everyone called him Steve. He was one of the most popular movie stars of the 60s and 70s.


Why did McQueen once threaten to kill his stepfather?

McQueen was no stranger to domestic violence. His second stepfather, frustrated with the boy's behavior, threw him down a flight of stairs. McQueen then threatened to kill him.


From which disability did McQueen NOT suffer?

He was partially deaf due to childhood ear infections and he was dyslexic, too. Both of his parents left him as a child, so McQueen was raised by family.


McQueen served in which branch of the military?

McQueen took his surly rebelliousness into the Marines, where he frequently wound up in the brig. Eventually the service taught him discipline that he was sorely lacking.


In what year did McQueen act in his very first film?

McQueen was an uncredited extra in 1953's "Girl on the Run." In 1958 he found a bigger role in "Never Love a Stranger," starring John Drew Barrymore.


Why did McQueen at one point wind up living on the streets with a gang?

Eventually, McQueen wound up living with his mother once more … and her new husband was violent. McQueen escaped to the streets.


At one point, McQueen was the highest-paid actor on the planet.

McQueen was monumentally popular in the 60s and 70s, and his fame paid him handsomely. By the mid-70s he was in fact the top-paid actor on Earth.


In which film did McQueen finally get his first leading role?

In 1958, an iconic film called "The Blob" hit theaters with a little-known actor named McQueen in the lead role. It was reviled by many critics but audiences actually enjoyed it.


What was McQueen's behavior like on set with regard to his directors?

McQueen always had his own ideas about how filming should proceed, and he wasn't shy about airing his opinions. He was known for frequently arguing with directors.


In which 1963 film did McQueen star?

McQueen led an all-star cast in 1963's "The Great Escape," which recounted a true story of Allied soldiers escaping from a Nazi prison camp. The film was a huge success.


How did McQueen put together enough money to study acting?

Not only did the Marines teach McQueen discipline, but the G.I. Bill helped pay for his early acting studies. He wound up on Broadway in 1955.


Where did McQueen get his first big break?

McQueen moved to L.A. and landed a role in a TV Western series called "Tales of Wells Fargo," which then led to his role in a show called "Wanted: Dead or Alive."


What job did McQueen's father have when he met McQueen's mother?

McQueen's biological father was a stunt pilot when he met his mother. He ditched the family and never played a role in Steve's life.


In 1978, McQueen acted in "An Enemy of the People." What other role did he have the film's creation?

In "An Enemy of the People," McQueen discovers pollution at a profitable local hot springs and sets out to uncover the truth. He was also the film's executive producer.


In which movie did McQueen play a character by the name of Erik Stoner?

In "The Cincinnati Kid," he was Erik "The Kid" Stoner, an aspiring poker player working to make his fortune.


What city is the setting for "The Cincinnati Kid"?

The movies was filmed in New Orleans. It also starred Edward G. Robinson and Joan Blondell.


In how many 1970s movies did McQueen appear?

By the 70s, he was one of the hottest names in Hollywood. He appeared in seven movies released during this decade.


McQueen narrowly escaped a murder scene made famous by which killer?

In the late 60s, McQueen rejected a screenplay written by Charles Manson, who later killed two of McQueen's friends … and had a hit list with Steve's name on it. On the night of the murders, McQueen was at home with his girlfriend.


In "The Thomas Crown Affair," McQueen starred opposite which Hollywood actress?

"The Thomas Crown Affair" found McQueen in a steamy relationship with Faye Dunaway, an investigator tasked with solving a crime that McQueen's character committed.


What was NOT one of McQueen's nicknames?

Wheeler? Not so much. His most commonly cited nickname was "The King of Cool."


McQueen was a teetotaler.

McQueen had a nearly insatiable appetite for substances, from booze, to pot to cocaine and hallucinogens.


Which of McQueen's movies was based on a William Faulkner novel?

"The Reivers" was based on a Faulkner novel of the same name. The movie shows McQueen hitting the road for a series of misadventures.


How any Academy Award nominations did he receive during this career?

McQueen was a celebrated movie star but received just one Oscar nomination for his work -- a Best Actor nomination.


For which movie was McQueen nominated for Best Actor?

"The Sand Pebbles" saw McQueen as an unruly Navy man whose ship gets caught up in a series of adventures near World War II-era China. It was nominated for eight Academy Awards.


In "Bullitt," McQueen's character has what job?

McQueen plays Frank Bullitt, a police officer in San Francisco. It did very well in theaters, becoming one of the highest-grossing movies of 1968.


"Bullitt" has a famous chase scene featuring which car?

A famous 11-minute chase scene features a Ford Mustang GT 350, and McQueen did much of the driving himself. No one is quite sure what happened to one of the cars used on set, but it's clear McQueen was a lifelong fan of speed, including a pre-Hollywood stint as a professional motorbike racer. The actor was also widely known for his impressive collection of cars and motorcycles.


How old was McQueen when he died?

McQueen lived a relatively short (but action-packed) life. He died in 1980 at the age of 50.


In which movie did McQueen play a character by the name of Jake Holman?

His turn as Jake Holman in "The Sand Pebbles" was a high point of McQueen's career. It landed him his single Oscar nomination, although he never did win a golden trophy.


How did McQueen die?

He developed a form of mesothelioma, a lung cancer caused by asbestoes exposure, probably due to his days in the Marines. He died during surgery meant to remove some of the tumors.


What was the name of the last film to feature an appearance by McQueen?

"The Hunter" and "Tom" were both released in 1980, but "The Hunter" was McQueen's final film role, ending the career of a man whose legacy still endures.


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