Stay home? Stay cool!

There's only one thing that helps right now: Staying cool. Our inspiration for this is Steve McQueen. The actor would have celebrated his 90th birthday today. Reason enough to look at six more or less known facts about the »King of Cool«.
Text Thomas Crown
Photo Presse

The 36 minutes of Le Mans
You read it right: for 36 minutes producer and actor Steve McQueen lets only the pictures speak in his epochal work »Le Mans«. Besides the sound of the engine and the stories of the track speaker, of course. On the other hand, dialogues are a no-go in the film about the long-distance classic. At least until McQueen in the role of Michael Delaney drives his Porsche 917 into the pits for the first time after a good 36 minutes.

Not a bit off the ground
In addition to his weakness for motorcycles, sports and racing cars, the daredevil also has a passion for flying. And that's why he buys a few planes later in life. Among them a Boeing PT-40 Stearman. With this plane, some motorcycles and his third wife Barbara he moves into a hangar in Santa Paula. In his spare time he likes to fly to various airport cafés - he is especially fond of their cakes and ice cream. A cooler and more down-to-earth flat share? There is none.

»I would rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.«

(Un)happy in front of the camera
An actor always enjoys being in front of the camera? Not quite. Steve McQueen does. Prepared for any shot in film and on set, the »King of Cool« avoids cameras in private. Only his third wife Barbara is allowed to take pictures of him in private. These are all the more authentic. Because otherwise the world would probably not have seen a very private McQueen with a full beard.

»My influences come from real life. I'm not interested in cinema for cinema's sake. I'm interested in life—what one does and how one interacts.«

Stuntwatch for the stuntman
A submarine may be the only vehicle McQueen has never moved himself. The icon nevertheless owned two »Submariners« from Rolex in his lifetime. While he likes to wear one watch himself, he gives the second chronometer to his stunt double and longtime friend Loren James. With a rather individual dedication on the back: »To Loren, The Best Damn Stuntman In The World. Steve« It goes without saying that James' Rolex later survives a catastrophic house fire virtually unscathed. It is the best damn stunt watch after all.

The King of Cool stays cool
In 1973 the Rolling Stones recorded the not exactly G-rated song »Star Star« for their album »Goats Head Soup«. And in the lyrics about lust and love they also drop Steve McQueen's name. Their record company »Atlantic Records« gets cold feet and urges the musicians to refrain from doing so. It is sure that the »King of Cool« will sue against the naming because of the delicate topic. But the Stones ask McQueen directly. And him? Unsurprisingly he stays cool and gives his »OK« after hearing the song on tape.

Free spirit until the end
Even after his life McQueen does not want to give up his usual freedom. He therefore instructs his wife and family not to bury his ashes in the usual way, but to scatter them in the Pacific Ocean. Once a free spirit, always a free spirit.

»The world is as good as you are. You've got to learn to like yourself first.«


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