Posted November 2, 2010 by Marcia Degia - Publisher in Features

Steve McQueen: A Tribute to The King of Cool

Steve McQueen fans have reason to rejoice: a new 384 page coffee table book by official McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill.

Steve McQueen fans have reason to rejoice: a new 384 page coffee table book by official McQueen biographer Marshall Terrill.

Entitled Steve McQueen: A Tribute to The King of Cool, this book collects insights and stories from those who knew him best: family, friends, co-stars, along with adoring fans. The book contains over 200 passages, but together they weave together a multifaceted narrative of the actor’s life. Tributes comes from a diverse selection: retired race driver Sir Stirling Moss, actors Martin Landau, Karl Malden, Jaqueline Bisset, Faye Dunaway, Lee Majors and Alec Baldwin, directors Peter Yates and Robert Wise, and Gene Simmons, to name just a few. The tributes are deeply personal, and often very humourous, and they work together to provide an all-encompassing depiction the man known as the ‘king of cool’. The book also features a foreword by McQueen’s widow Barbara McQueen, an introduction by Mark Osborne, and the McQueen family tree.

The book itself is gorgeous and glossy, featuring approximately 600 imagines of McQueen, illustrating his life and movie career, as well as his passions for cars, motorcycles and antique airplanes. Many of the pictures are being seen for the first time, and together they create a glorious montage to this well-known actor.

The book is designed for McQueen junkies; it assumes you already know and love the man – it stokes your appreciation, rather than creating it. It is not, therefore, a Christmas gift to give to someone who knows little about McQueen – cute anecdotes are only going to entertain the already devoted. In fact, it feels a little like the book was created for McQueen’s number one fan: the author, Marshall Terrill.

Terrill, a veteran Hollywood biographer, has already written two books on McQueen (including a 600 page bio out earlier this year), and has spoke in interviews of his desire to understand every little aspect of McQueen’s life. He spent three years collecting material for this most recent endeavour, and you wonder if he was driven by the glamour of associating with those that McQueen associated with, by the thought of getting close to those who McQueen was close to, as much as he was driven by literary curiosity. McQueen was a great actor, and still is a Hollywood icon, to be sure, but how many books can be written about one man?

One of the most useful elements of the book are the passages that deal with McQueen’s last days. McQueen died of Mesothelioma, a cancer caused by exposure to asbestos. It is not known how McQueen came into contact with the fibres, although plenty of explanations have been offered (ranging from contact with old pipes during his time in the Marines to materials used to make Hollywood sets). According to the British Lung Foundation, Mesothelioma kills one person every five hours in the UK, and yet, the general public knows very little about the disease. The British Lung Foundation are working with McQueen’s widow, Barbara to raise awareness about the dangers of being exposed to asbestos-containing materials, See their website for more information.

The book has been published in two versions, a “Regular Edition” and a “Special Edition”. The latter comes in a slip case and is limited to 2000 numbered copies signed by both Marshall Terrill and Barbara McQueen. It also includes a CD recording of a lecture given by Steve McQueen at Loyola Marymount University in 1978, where he talked about the making of An Enemy of the People, and afterwards took questions from the audience.

To mark the books launch, and the 30th anniversary of McQueen’s death on November 7th, Barbara McQueen and Marshall Terrill will attend a special exhibition and book signing between 6-9pm at London’s Movie Poster Art Gallery on Thursday, November 4th. The exhibition will include a selection of Barbara McQueen’s personal images of Steve, along with a large selection of vintage original McQueen film posters and stills. The gallery is at 1 Colville Place, London W1T 2BG.

Released on 1 Nov, the book is published by: Dalton Watson Fine Books. Buy it now!

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia has worked in the media industry for more than 10 years. She was previously Acting Managing Editor of Homes and Gardens magazine, Publishing Editor at Macmillan Publishers and Editor of Pride Magazine. Marcia, who has a Masters degree in Screenwriting, has also been involved in many broadcast projects. Among other things, she was the devisor of the documentary series Secret Suburbia for Living TV.