Steve McQueen (March 24, 1930 - November 7, 1980) was an American movie actor. He was born Terence Steven McQueen in Beech Grove, Indiana. He never knew his father, who abandoned his wife and child shortly after he was born. He was raised in Slater, Missouri by his uncle, where his mother left him. At the age of 12 McQueen moved with his mother to Los Angeles. When he was 14, his mother sent him to a reformatory school. Soon McQueen left the school and drifted before joining the Marines in 1947. In 1952, he took advantage of the "G.I. Bill" to study at the Actors' Studio in New York, making his Broadway debut in 1955 in A Hatful of Rain.
McQueen moved into film in 1956 with Somebody Up There Likes Me, securing his first lead role in the 1958 movie The Blob. Between 1958 and 1960 he gained recognition with the television series Wanted: Dead or Alive. His breakthrough, however, came in 1963 with The Great Escape, and his fame peaked in 1968 with Bullitt. Before, he had already earned an Academy Award nomination for the 1966 film The Sand Pebbles. From then on he mixed character roles in works such as 1973's Papillon, with pure spectacle in the 1971 car races film Le Mans or in The Getaway in 1972. After The Towering Inferno in 1974, McQueen did not return to film until 1978, when he played in An Enemy of the People.
McQueen was a motorcycles and race cars enthusiast. He liked fast machines, and when he had the opportunity to drive these vehicles in a movie, he did it himself, performing many of his own stunts. During his acting career he even seriously considered becoming a professional race car driver.
After 1978 he appeared only in two further films before he died in November of 1980, only 50 years old, in Juárez, Mexico due to a heart attack following last-ditch lung cancer treatment. He had married Barbara Minty only in January of this same year. Before, he had been married since 1973 to actress Ali McGraw, from whom he divorced in 1978. His first wife had been Neile Adams, from 1957 to 1972, from whom he also divorced. From this marriage he had a son and a daughter.