The Untold Story of How Steve McQueen Met the King of Kings

(Charisma News archives)
Nearly 40 years after his death, acting legend Steve McQueen is still often referred to as the "King of Cool." His style and movies have proved to be timeless hits in each generation, but one story about McQueen slipped through the cracks—his salvation.

His rags-to-riches life story still fascinates fans, new and old. But one chapter of that story is rarely shared. Now there's a powerful new film about his life and what finally led him to choose Christ.

McQueen overcame many hardships to become the Hollywood "boy wonder" of the 1960s and 1970s.

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California—and a lifelong Steve McQueen fan—talked about the actor's childhood in a recent interview with CBN News.

"He had no father, and his mother really did not raise him," Laurie said. "She was a raging alcoholic, with a lot of guys, and I tracked with that part of the story because I, too, had an alcoholic mother, married and divorced seven times and I never knew my biological father."

An American Icon

By today's Hollywood standards, Steve McQueen's resume could be considered relatively short. But he is an American icon.

"Not everybody from his generation is an icon," Laurie said.

"But James Dean, another contemporary of McQueen is an icon. Elvis is an icon. The Beatles are iconic. Certain people transcend time and they become iconic characters. I think maybe one of the things that makes a person an icon is when there is sort of a timelessness about them. In other words, when new generations can discover them."

"I actually read this article in a men's fashion magazine, and it asked the question, 'Who was cooler, Steve McQueen or James Dean?' And they were examining their lives based on the cool cars they drove ... the movies they made ... and kind of their fashion sense. And the conclusion was McQueen was cooler than Dean."

Laurie is such a fan of McQueen's that he owns a replica of the 1968 Bullitt Mustang McQueen made famous with his racing abilities on film. But beyond McQueen's style points and his famous car, there's an even bigger story about the movie icon that Laurie spent time chasing.

"I started delving into Steve's life more, and I had heard that he had become a Christian, and I believed it to be true, but I never had checked it out."

The Pastor Who Led Steve McQueen to Christ

"I had seen a documentary film last year. And it talked about his rise from the worst childhood imaginable to superstardom, where he was the number one star in the world, in films like Bullitt, The Great Escape, The Magnificent 7, The Thomas Crown Affair, et cetera, and then how he walked away from Hollywood and became a Christian, and I thought it this true?"

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