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“I became a slut in New York looking for sluts.”

Book Review from Shelf-Awareness

Steve McQueen, King of Cool: Tales of a Lurid Life by Darwin Porter (Blood Moon Productions, $26.95, 9781936003051/1936003058, December 25, 2009)

Darwin Porter approaches Steve McQueen through his cinematic image: “A man’s man and a woman’s dream” to his admirers or a star saddled with a face that “looked like a Botticelli angel who had been crossed with a chimp” to those less enchanted with his Bad Boy appeal. Exhibiting a tabloid reporter’s enthusiasm for dirt, Porter investigates how McQueen developed the unique persona that captivated audiences in such movies as The Magnificent Seven and Bullitt.

McQueen’s early years were a nightmare of abandonment, neglect, abuse and exploitation. His mother was an alcoholic; purportedly one of his “step-fathers” put him on the street as a child prostitute; he spent time in reform school and ran away to kick around brothels as a towel-boy. All that was a nasty prelude to a direction-changing three-year stint with the Marines (he enlisted at 17) and acting classes in Greenwich Village.

If McQueen was secure in anything, Porter assures us, it was his physical appeal and sexual allure. Notorious for having the morals of an alley cat (according to many sources), he admitted to one of his girlfriends that he would do anything with anybody–men, women, acting coaches, co-stars, competitors, idols–if it landed him a part. He told Rod Steiger, “I became a slut in New York looking for sluts.” There are no complaints on record.

[ click to continue reading at Shelf-Awareness ]

Posted on October 31, 2009 by Editor

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