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Real American Idols

In Real American Idols on April 26, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Real American Idols: The Anti-hero, Steve McQueen.   

"I live for myself and I answer to nobody."

 Ali MacGraw – “I remember seeing him across the swimming pool and my knees were knocking. He radiated such macho energy. Men wanted to be like him. Uptight society ladies and biker molls wanted to be with him.”   

Donal Logue from The Tao of Steve – “Steve is the prototypical cool American male. He’s the guy on his horse, the guy alone. He has his own code of honor, his own code of ethics, his own rules of living. He never, ever tries to impress the women, but he always gets the girl.”   

Sheryl Crow – “Steve McQueen was from a time when you didn’t know every little dirty thing about our public figures. He and James Dean were very mysterious, archetypal American heroes.”   

I have never been the biggest Steve McQueen fan, but that does not deter me from the fact that he is a person who ignites great curiosity. When I was a kid I never watched many of his films, or could ever put a face to the name.  

The first time I saw Steve McQueen, whilst playing pool in a bar, he was on a poster staring ahead defiantly from the seat of his motorbike, next to a sign saying “Halt” and “Achtung”. Two warnings you can tell he was going to perceptibly ignore.   

The Great Escape

Achtung? Mein arsch!

 I started reading about the so called “King of Cool” during my late teens. The story of the dyslexic, partially deaf, Vietnam era anti-hero, the rebel who was spent his childhood in Indiana switching homes between his alcoholic mother and his uncle, fighting with his step-father and being sent to a Junior Boys School in Chino Hills, California.  He worked in a circus, he was a stunt man, a rebel, a gangster, a lumberjack, a racer and a marine during WWII.  

 As an actor, he became the highest paid movie star in 1974 and the films which most caught my eye were The Great Escape, The Thomas Crown Affair, and more importantly, Bullit.  

 Those are obviously a select few from the many films he did, but after all this is not a wikipedia entry, he also turned down many other films that would have further enhanced his cult status, like Apocalypse Now, Ocean’s Eleven, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The French Connection or Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  

Away from the movie spotlight, McQueen was reportedly an asshole but in the most charming way. He often seemed brash and self-absorbed, but it wasn’t always the case. McQueen was noted for his generosity, in particular with the reformatory wherehe had been as a teenager, where he often sent large supplies of products and attended visits. He was an avid racer, charmer, smoker, exerciser and drinker. A man of the era. He married three times and died in Chihuahua, Mexico, at the age of 50 after an operation to remove or reduce some tumours in his abdomen.  

 More info:

Look like McQueen Let’s face it, resembling the essence of McQueen is quite a tough task. First of all, the attitude is something you cannot buy, and then there are things you simply cannot afford, like a vintage 1968 Mustang GT390. But then you can still get a tinge of his style, I do not recommend the gun though.  

1: A turtleneck. McQueen loved turtlenecks, not too bulky. (€70, Gant)

 2: Slim dark blazer, McQueen often wore corduroy.  

3:Wool trousers, Dark flatfront, not baggy. (€221 Versace Collection)  

4: Suede shoes.  (€150, J.Crew) or (€177 Grenson)  

5: Persol Sunglasses PO 0714 (€150)  

6: Gray sweatshirt, anywhere  

7: Grey cotton cardigan, (€259 Michael Bastian) or (€70 Zara)  

8: Flatfront Chinos (€50 Dockers)  

9: White Converse (€60)  

10:  Gulf Racing Jacket  

11. Dark Blue Jeans (€80 Abercrombie and Fitch)  

12: Lambskin Leather gloves  


Cord Jacket


Abercrombie jeans

Dune Boots

Gulf Racing Jacket


Monaco Vintage Le Mans watch


Persol sunglasses

Leather gloves

jacket, trust me he wore it often.