Steve McQUEEN

Family tree of Steve McQUEEN

Actor

AmericanBorn Terrence Steven McQUEEN

American movie actor

Born on March 24, 1930 in Beech Grove, Indiana, USA , United States

Died on November 7, 1980 in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico

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McQueen was born in Beech Grove, Indiana, a suburban community bordering Indianapolis, in Marion County. His father, William, a stunt pilot for a barnstorming flying circus, abandoned McQueen and his mother when McQueen was six months old. His mother, Julia, was a young, rebellious alcoholic. Unable to cope with bringing up a small child, she left him with her parents (Victor and Lillian) in Slater, Missouri, in 1933. Shortly thereafter, as the Great Depression set in, McQueen and his grandparents moved in with Lillian's brother Claude on the latter's farm in Slater.



McQueen had good memories of the time spent on his Great Uncle Claude's farm. In recalling Claude, McQueen stated "He was a very good man, very strong, very fair. I learned a lot from him." On McQueen's fourth birthday, Claude gave him a red tricycle, which McQueen later claimed started his interest in racing. At age 8, he was taken back by his mother and lived with her and her new husband in Indianapolis. McQueen retained a special memory of leaving the farm: "The day I left the farm Uncle Claude gave me a personal going-away present; a gold pocket watch, with an inscription inside the case." The inscription read: "To Steve-- who has been a son to me."

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McQueen, who was dyslexic and partially deaf as a result of a childhood ear infection, did not adjust well to his new life. Within a couple of years he was running with a street gang and committing acts of petty crime. Unable to control McQueen's behavior, his mother sent him back to Slater again. A couple of years later, when McQueen was 12, Julia wrote to Claude asking that McQueen be returned to her once again, to live in her new home in Los Angeles, California. Julia, whose second marriage had ended in divorce, had married a third time.



This would begin an unsettled period in McQueen's life. By McQueen's own account, he and his new stepfather, "locked horns immediately." McQueen recounted him as "a prime son of a bitch", who was not averse to using his fists on both McQueen and his mother. As McQueen began to rebel once again, he was sent back to live with Claude a final time. At age 14, McQueen left Claude's farm without saying goodbye and joined a circus for a short time, after which he slowly drifted back to his mother and stepfather in Los Angeles, and resumed his life as a gang member and petty criminal. On one occasion, McQueen was caught stealing hubcaps by police, who handed him over to his stepfather. The latter proceeded to beat McQueen severely, and ended the fight by throwing McQueen down a flight of stairs. McQueen looked up at his stepfather and said, "You lay your stinkin' hands on me again and I swear, I'll kill ya."



After this, McQueen's stepfather convinced Julia to sign a court order stating that McQueen was incorrigible and remanding him to the California Junior Boys Republic in Chino Hills, California. Here, McQueen slowly began to change and mature. He was not popular with the other boys at first: "Say the boys had a chance once a month to load into a bus and go into town to see a movie. And they lost out because one guy in the bungalow didn't get his work done right. Well, you can pretty well guess they're gonna have something to say about that. I paid his dues with the other fellows quite a few times. I got my lumps, no doubt about it. The other guys in the bungalow had ways of paying you back for interfering with their well-being." Ultimately, however, McQueen decided to give Boys Republic a fair shot. He became a role model for the other boys when he was elected to the Boys Council, a group who made the rules and regulations governing the boys' lives. (He would eventually leave Boys Republic at 16 and when he later became famous, he regularly returned to talk to the boys there. He also personally responded to every letter he received from the boys there, and retained a lifelong association.)



After McQueen left Chino, he returned to Julia, now living in Greenwich Village, but almost immediately left again. He then met two sailors from the Merchant Marine and volunteered to serve on a ship bound for the Dominican Republic. Once there, he abandoned his new post, eventually making his way to Texas, and drifted from job to job. He worked as a towel boy in a brothel, on an oil rigger, as a trinket salesman in a carnival, and as a lumberjack.



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Geographical origins

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