Terrence Stephen McQueen (March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980), nicknamed the “King of Cool”, was an American actor. His antihero persona, emphasized during the height of the counterculture of the 1960s, made him a top box-office draw during the 1960s and 1970s. His first two films were uncredited parts in Girl on the Run (1953), with Richard Coogan and Frank Albertson; and Robert Wise’s Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956), with Paul Newman, Pier Angeli, and Everett Sloane. He made his credited feature film debut in Robert Stevens’ Never Love a Stranger (1958), with John Drew Barrymore, Lita Milan, and Robert Bray. He had his first starring role in the cult sci-fi horror film The Blob (1958), with Aneta Corsaut. This was followed by The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959), with David Clarke Crahan Denton; and John Sturges‘ Never So Few (1959), with Frank Sinatra, Gina Lollobrigida, Peter Lawford, Richard Johnson, Paul Henreid, Brian Donlevy, Dean Jones, Charles Bronson, and Philip Ahn.
McQueen received an Academy Award nomination for his role in Wise’s The Sand Pebbles (1966), with Richard Attenborough, Richard Crenna, Candice Bergen, Mako, Simon Oakland, Larry Gates, and Marayat Andriane. Robert Anderson. His other popular films include Robert Mulligan’s Love With the Proper Stranger (1963), with Natalie Wood, Edie Adams, Herschel Bernardi, Harvey Lembeck, and Tom Bosley; Norman Jewison’s The Cincinnati Kid (1965), with Edward G. Robinson, Ann-Margret, Karl Malden, and Tuesday Weld; Jewison’s The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), with Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke, and Jack Weston; Peter Yates‘ Bullitt (1968), with Robert Vaughn, Jacqueline Bisset, Don Gordon, Robert Duvall, and Simon Oakland; Le Mans (1971), with Siegfried Rauch and Elga Andersen; Sam Peckinpah‘s The Getaway (1972), with Ali MacGraw, Ben Johnson, Al Lettieri, and Sally Struthers; and Franklin J. Schaffner‘s Papillon (1973), with Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Don Gordon, Anthony Zerbe.
McQueen was also in the all-star ensemble films The Magnificent Seven (1960), with Yul Brynner, Eli Wallach, Bronson, Vaughn, Brad Dexter, James Coburn and Horst Buchholz; The Great Escape (1963), with James Garner, Attenborough, James Donald, Bronson, Donald Pleasence, Coburn, John Leyton, David McCallum, and Hannes Messemer; and John Guillermin’s The Towering Inferno (1974), with Newman, William Holden, Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Susan Blakely, Richard Chamberlain, Jennifer Jones, O.J. Simpson, Vaughn, and Robert Wagner.
Other notable films in the 1960s include Richard Thorpe’s The Honeymoon Machine (1961), with Brigid Bazlen, Jim Hutton, Paula Prentiss, Jack Mullaney, and Dean Jagger; Don Siegel‘s Hell Is for Heroes (1962), with Bobby Darin, Fess Parker, Coburn, Bob Newhart, and Nick Adams; Phillip Leacock’s The War Lover (1962), with Wagner and Shirley Anne Field; Ralph Nelson’s Soldier in the Rain (1963), with Jackie Gleason and Weld; Mulligan’s Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965), with Lee Remick and Don Murray; Henry Hathaway‘s Nevada Smith (1966), with Malden, Brian Keith, Arthur Kennedy, and Suzanne Pleshette; and Mark Rydell’s The Reivers (1969), with Sharon Farrell, Rupert Crosse, Mitch Vogel, and Burgess Meredith as the narrator.
Later films include Peckinpah’s Junior Bonner (1972), with Robert Preston, Ida Lupino, Joe Don Baker, Barbara Leigh, and Johnson; George Schaefer’s An Enemy of the People (1978), with Charles Durning and Bibi Andersson; Tom Horn (1980), with Linda Evans, Richard Farnsworth, and Slim Pickens; and Buzz Kulik’s The Hunter (1980), with Wallach, Kathryn Harrold, LeVar Burton, and Johnson. In 1974, McQueen became the highest-paid movie star in the world, although he did not act in film for another four years. He was combative with directors and producers, but his popularity placed him in high demand and enabled him to command the largest salaries.
Each review will be linked to the title below.
(*seen originally in theaters)
(**seen rereleased in theaters)
- Girl on the Run (1953) – directed by Arthur J. Beckhard & Joseph Lee – uncredited
- Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) – directed by Robert Wise – uncredited
- Never Love a Stranger (1958) – directed by Robert Stevens
- The Blob (1958)** – directed by Irvin Yeaworth – credited as Steven McQueen
- The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery (1959) – directed by Charles Guggenheim
- Never So Few (1959) – directed by John Sturges
- The Magnificent Seven (1960) – directed by John Sturges
- The Honeymoon Machine (1961) – directed by Richard Thorpe
- Hell Is for Heroes (1962) – directed by Don Siegel
- The War Lover (1962) – directed by Philip Leacock
- The Great Escape (1963) – directed by John Sturges
- Soldier in the Rain (1963) – directed by Ralph Nelson
- Love with the Proper Stranger (1963) – directed by Robert Mulligan
- Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965) – directed by Robert Mulligan
- The Cincinnati Kid (1965) – directed by Norman Jewison
- Nevada Smith (1966) – directed by Henry Hathaway
- The Sand Pebbles (1966) – directed by Robert Wise
- The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) – directed by Norman Jewison
- Bullitt (1968) – directed by Peter Yates
- The Reivers (1969) – directed by Mark Rydell
- Le Mans (1971) -directed by Lee H. Katzin
- On Any Sunday (1971) – directed by Bruce Brown – himself – documentary
- Junior Bonner (1972) – directed by Sam Peckinpah
- The Getaway (1972) – directed by Sam Peckinpah
- Papillon (1973) – directed by Franklin J. Schaffner
- The Towering Inferno (1974) – directed by John Guillermin
- An Enemy of the People (1978) – directed by George Schaefer – also executive producer
- Tom Horn (1980) – directed by William Wiard – also executive producer
- The Hunter (1980) – directed by Buzz Kulik