A new film set to be released this week tells the story of Hollywood icon Steve McQueen and how he became a Christian before he received a lethal cancer diagnosis and succumbed to the disease.
Called “Steve McQueen: American Icon,” the film will appear in theaters beginning Sept. 28. The film’s producer Greg Laurie and McQueen’s widow Barbara Minty McQueen spoke with Newsmax TV’s Bill Tucker on “Newsmax Now” about the project.
“I wanted to tell the story of how Steve, when he was the No. 1 movie star in the world, became a Christian,” said Laurie, who is also a pastor and author. “And most people don’t know the story that the king of cool met the king of kings.
“We all know that Steve tragically got cancer and died at the very young age of 50 in 1980. But he came to faith before he found out he had cancer. … He walked away from [Hollywood], found faith in Christ that brought him what he was searching through his whole life.”
McQueen contracted mesothelioma from what is believed to be his time in the Marines (1947-1950), when he was removing asbestos from ships. He died after having surgery to remove multiple tumors.
Laurie explained how McQueen “walked away from Hollywood” in 1979 despite being offered some of the top movie roles available. He had previously starred in such films as ‘The Magnificent Seven,” “The Great Escape,” and “The Thomas Crown Affair.”
“I think he was disillusioned with Hollywood and he wanted something else,” Laurie said. “I think Steve was, in effect, on a lifelong search.”
Said Minty McQueen, who married McQueen in January 1980: “I think he was happier not making movies, just being a normal person. Flying his airplanes, driving his old trucks, his motorcycles, and just tinkering around the house.”
She noted that her husband’s discovery of his faith helped him through challenging times at the end of his life.
“Absolutely. Yes, it did,” she said. “It helped him a lot.”