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10 fascinating facts about Wanted: Dead or Alive star, Steve McQueen

By: H&I Staff    Posted: May 24, 2024, 2:00PM Tags: Tags: Steve McQueen, Wanted: Dead Or Alive, facts, Western

Steve McQueen is one of the best known and influential actors to date. He is known for his role as Josh Randall in Wanted: Dead or Alive, among many other roles during his successful run in Hollywood. With a total of 94 episodes under his cowboy belt, McQueen left a legacy in the Western world. 

"The King of Cool" had an interesting life filled with success, fast cars, Hollywood neighbors and more. You may know McQueen only through his acting career, but how well do you actually know the legend's life? We are going to take a look back at 10 fascinating facts about Steve McQueen. Which fact surprised you the most? Tell us in the comments below!

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A famous drummer who was his neighbor, was also his enemy

After Steve McQueen had established himself as a movie star, he did what most of the rich and famous do: buy a mansion in California.

And his new nextdoor neighbor? Keith Moon, the drummer of The Who. McQueen became annoyed by the drummer's lifestyle. Moon would leave his bathroom light on, which would shine brightly in McQueen's room. After asking Moon to fix the problem, nothing changed.

So, McQueen did the most Wanted: Dead or Alive thing possible. He grabbed his shotgun, leaned out the window and shot the light out in Moon's house. Problem solved?

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McQueen had a spooky acting debut

In 1958, Steve McQueen made his debut as the lead actor in the sci-fi horror film, The Blob. His performance in the film was so impressive that it earned him dozens of offers to appear in other films. 

The Blob's success was a surprise to many. McQueen earned $3,000 for his part in the film. Aneta Corsaut, who later played the role of Helen Crump on The Andy Griffith Show, co-starred alongside McQueen.

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McQueen was a thrill-seeker on a motorcycle

Of course "The King of Cool" loved motorcycles. Early in his career, McQueen found a love for Harley-Davidson and Triumph motorcycles. Flash forward to a few years later and McQueen began to travel and compete in motorcycle races.

While shooting for the 1963 film, The Great Escape, McQueen insisted that there would be no stunt double and he would do his own stunts. The biggest stunt of the entire film was a 60 foot jump on a motorcyle. Sadly, in this attempt McQueen crashed and a stunt double was finally allowed. 

McQueen owned over 200 motorcycles.

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He was in the Marine Corps at the age of 17

McQueen was 17 when he enlisted in the Marine Corps. Being a Marine helped him learn how to use a variety of weapons that he would later utilize in fight scenes throughout his acting career. During a training exercise, McQueen even saved five Marines from drowning after their ship collided with a sandbank.

He was honorably discharged in 1950.

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McQueen was trained in Tang Soo Do

He had a ninth-degree black belt in the martial art, Tang Soo Do. It's a popular belief that he was trained by Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. However, he learned from Pat E. Johnson, who is famous for his martial arts choreography in films such as Karate Kid and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

McQueen's son was trained in karate by Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee trained him in Jeet Kune Do. McQueen was even one of Lee's pallbearers during his funeral in 1973.

Just another reason we wouldn't want to mess with Steve McQueen!

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He was a private pilot

In case you thought McQueen couldn't get more cool, here's more proof. He was issued a private pilot's license by the FAA in 1979 after learning to fly a biplane. 

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McQueen had a real need for speed

McQueen really lived life in the fast lane. 

He was known for doing his own high-speed stunts for his films, but he wasn't being reckless. He knew what he was doing.

He competed in various motorsport and car races throughout the '60s and '70s. He even had a car collection.

In 1978, McQueen was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame, and was credited in helping get the very first, organized off-road competitions off the ground.

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He was the highest paid actor in 1974

In 1974, McQueen became the highest-paid movie star in the world. In the same year, the hit film The Towering Inferno came out. It featured a star-studded cast, which included McQueen in the role of Chief O'Halloran.

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Something strange happened with Charles Manson

McQueen was almost the victim of one of the most shocking and disturbing crimes of all time. 

In 1969, McQueen was invited over for dinner at the home of Roman Polanski. McQueen was not able to go. That night Charles Manson murdered five people, including Sharon Tate, who originally invited McQueen to dinner.

Later, it was discovered that Steve McQueen's name was at the top of Charles Manson's list of celebrities to murder.

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He had a celebrity as a bodyguard

Who better to protect McQueen than B.A. Baracus of The A-Team? We can't think of one. 

Mr. T was a bodyguard in the '70s for many high-profile celebrities. These include: McQueen, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Slyvester Stallone and more.

McQueen and Mr. T in the same room would be one scary combo to see coming.

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