Name an iconic actor who loved the thrill of riding motorcycles, almost started a Western war (between the genre's popular actors) and had a fight with his beloved horse. We'll do it for you; his name is Steve McQueen. He's a legend to many—but beyond the Hollywood lights and fame—rebel was the word that suited the true Steve.
In 1958, though, the actor was a reformed rebel because he wouldn't be the star of Wanted: Dead or Alive if he reverted to his young and reckless ways. He was only 28 years old then but went through many hardships as a child and throughout his teenage years. "I was so broke I'd go into New York drug stores, pick up an alarm clock or something and walk up to the cashier and say, 'Gimmie a refund on this, please,'" McQueen told The Daily Item in '58.
"I found culture in Greenwich Village. I found it on Stageville where I could open up, and no one could touch me," he added. "It's a good thing I did, too. Otherwise, I'd probably be locked up by now. I never liked to talk my way out of anything. I liked to punch my way out."
Well, he certainly punched his way out of the past and into a successful acting career. Despite running away from home a few times after being abused, joining gangs, getting arrested and more, McQueen looked forward to a better life. One that allowed him to finally put his fists down and enjoy what life has to offer.
The actor made his Broadway debut in the play A Hatful of Rain in 1955. He got a huge break when Frank Sinatra used him to replace Sammy Davis Jr. in the film Never So Few in 1959—while being the star of the hit Western series Wanted: Dead or Alive.
Steve McQueen is the perfect example of not letting your past hinder you from pursuing a bright future. Although the actor died at 50, still a very young age, he lived his life to the fullest and now his legacy will never have to fight for a spot in our minds for generations to come.
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