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Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Friday, November 7, 2014

King of Cool

This Day in History: November 7, 1980

Today in Music History has provided insight into many 'kings' and 'queens', even a 'godfather', within the music arena. To recap from last month, some iconic musicians include Paul Whiteman,"The King of Jazz"; Benny Goodman, "The King of Swing"; B.B. King, "King of the Blues"; Elvis Presley, "King of Rock 'n' Roll", Arethra Franklin, "Queen of Soul"; Mary J. Blige, "Queen of Hip-Hop Soul"; Koko Taylor, "Queen of the Blues" and James Brown, "The Godfather of Soul". 

In the spotlight today is yet another 'king' but this time his kingdom is Hollywood. Meet the "King of Cool" who died on this day in 1980...

March 24, 1930 – November 7, 1980

Steve Terrence McQueen: one of the most popular and well-paid actors of the 60s and 70s

It did not take long for Steve McQueen to score BIG! This happened when he snagged a leading role in the 1960 film, The Magnificent Seven. Then, with 1963's The Great Escape earning top billing, he showed everyone he had what it took to be a star. 

From an early age McQueen was considered a rebel with his good looks and cool tough-guy persona earning him the nickname "The King of Cool". Here are a few snippets of his life before Hollywood:

  • Getting involved with some local gangs in Los Angeles, CA, McQueen (around 12 years old) got caught stealing hubcaps from cars, not once, but twice. His mother decided to send him to reform school.
  • At 16, he reunited with his mother only for the reunion to be short-lived. He took off and joined the Merchant Marines. This, too, did not work out as he left ship while it was docked in the Dominican Republic.
  • Before making his way back to the United States, McQueen accepted a job working in a brothel as a towel boy.
  • Upon returning to the U.S., he worked various odd jobs barely getting by, including working on old rigs and in a carnival.
  • In 1947, he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and became a tank driver. However, even his military endeavor did not tame his rebellious nature. After a two-day pass turned into a two-week holiday, he ended up in the brig.
    McQueen was far from the model soldier. "I was busted back down to private about seven times. The only way I could have been made corporal was if all the other privates in the Marines dropped dead," he said, according to Marshall Terrill's Steve McQueen: Portrait of an American Rebel.
  • In 1950, after being discharged from the Marines, he spent time in South Carolina and Washington, D.C. before returning to New York City. For a time, McQueen seemed aimless continuing to move frequently never holding on to a job for any significant period of time.

Steve McQueen finally discovered his calling thanks to a girlfriend who was an aspiring actress. In spite of early setbacks, he established his place in movie history to go on to leave an indelible place in the film industry.

 Steve McQueen, Wanted Dead or Alive, TV Series 1959

Steve McQueen, The Magnificent Seven, 1960

Steve McQueen, The Great Escape, 1963

 Steve McQueen, The Cincinnati Kid, 1965
 Steve McQueen, The Sand Pebbles, 1966
Academy Award Nomination

the 20 best Steve McQueen Films

Steve McQueen, The Hunter, 1980
Final Movie