This week is Steve McQueen Week on our blog. So you all should have no trouble recognizing the gentlemen awkwardly pictured in the police mug shot above .
He was an acknowledged bad boy. Even during his heyday as a STAR everyone knew he’d been in reformatories. It was part of his image.
McQueen was born in Indiana on March 24, 1930. (See, that date listed on the police clapboard is correct.) And, yes, he really did suffer a troubled childhood, and spent time in reformatories decades before this shot was taken.
After joining the Marines at the age of 17, McQueen found himself working as a tank driver and mechanic. He also found himself in hot water (and fined $90) for going AWOL for 30 days. But after his discharge he parleyed the GI Bill to study acting. Smart move.
Keep in mind that you are looking in this picture at the world’s most popular movie actor at the peak of his career in the 1970’s.
As far as we can determine, this mug shot was taken in 1972 when the actor was 42. The location is put as Anchorage, Alaska.
The offense? Drunk driving.
McQueen doesn’t appear to be unduly upset at being apprehended. Note the wry smile and the left-handed peace sign. And as for his driving, he always had a way with controlled recklessness (see 1968’s Bullitt). McQueen posted bail, and departed Anchorage. He was subsequently convicted in absentia for (apparently uncontrolled) reckless driving.
We are not sure why McQueen was in Alaska. His previous movie, the 1971 auto racing saga Le Mans, was filmed in France. In 1972, McQueen starred in two memorable films from director Sam Peckinpah — Junior Bonner, filmed in Arizona and The Getaway, filmed in Texas. So, again, why he was in Anchorage remains a mystery.
We surmise that 1972 was not McQueen’s happiest year personally. He had just divorced his devoted first wife, Neile Adams, with whom he had two children. He was soon to sweep actress Ali MacGraw , then married to Paramount production chief Robert Evans, off her feet as his Getaway costar. (The couple married in 1973.)
This mug shot was taken about eight years before McQueen’s death in 1980, after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. At the urging of his third wife, Barbara Minty, the actor became a born-again Christian shortly before he died.