Although he was dubbed the King of Cool in Hollywood, his personal story was far from glorious. Born Terrence Steven McQueen in Indiana on March 24, 1930, he was a regular guy who had a rough beginning and big dreams. Steve worked diligently, accomplished his goals, and became a legend. If his life can teach us anything, it’s that when life gives us lemons, we really can squirt it in the eye and tell it to fuck off, then make lemonade. Because why not? Live it up and do cool shit.
"I learned that life was a long and difficult road, but you have to keep going or you’ll fall by the wayside.”
Steve McQueen’s Early Life
Steve never knew his father, who left before he was a year old. His mother left him to be raised by his great uncle on a farm. To say the guy had some insecurities was an understatement. Until the day he died he never felt as cool as the characters he played on screen.
"I’m not a great actor - let’s face it. I don’t have a great deal of scope.”
By the time his mother came back, he was a rebellious teenager. She moved to L.A. with him, where he joined a gang and ran into trouble with the law.
"I would have ended up in jail or something. I was a wild kid."
So his mother sent him to a school for troubled teenage boys... which he tried to escape from multiple times. After he graduated, he went his own way and more problems followed. Even the U.S. Marines didn’t have an easy time with him, especially after he supped-up his tank’s engine and broke it. Man, that would have been one badass tank if it went well! McQueen was too much of a rebel to fit in with the military life.
"I was busted back down to private about seven times. The only way I could have been made corporal was if all the other privates in the Marines dropped dead."
McQueen was highly competitive. Whenever he did something, he wanted to be the best at it. After many years of trying to find his way in life, he tried acting. Even though the first role he landed was a small part... that he was fired from, acting was something he was damn good at and people instantly recognized it. He earned a scholarship at Uta Hagen-Herbert Berghof School which led him to study with Lee Statsburg at Actors Studio.
"I live for myself, and I answer to nobody.”
His difficult past made stirred emotions in his performances a breeze. That made people believe and empathize with his characters. McQueen was known for taking over every role he played and making them his own. Soon enough his roles became bigger and better and his fan base grew. He had more money than he knew what to do with and started one fucking amazing collection of cars and motorcycles, the likes of which would make any one of us jealous. He loved anything with an engine on and off screen.
"I’m not sure whether I’m an actor who races or a racer who acts.”
But what does this have to do with watches?
Beginning Monday, June 1st, 2020, Gear’d Hardware will be releasing our newest model, the McQueen. We proudly present it as our classiest creation yet. Its inspiration comes from the watch Steve McQueen modeled in Le Mans in 1971, a movie about a 24-hour race. McQueen himself designed his own costume to match professional racer Joe Siffert, right down to the original Tag Heuer Monaco on his wrist. The King of Cool advertised the timepiece for 15 minutes on screen, causing the brand instant fame. Much like Gear’d Hardware, and like Steve himself, the watch began to carry with it the bold determination to push the limits with style.
“Steve McQueen.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 17 Sept. 2019, www.biography.com/actor/steve-mcqueen.
Steve McQueen: Man on the Edge. Directed by Gene Feldman, Documentary, 1990.
This article was based on fact. Any similarities or resemblance to Gear’d Hardware watches and fictitious or non-fictitious events or characters is purely coincidental. Gear’d Hardware has no association with Tag Monaco or Steve McQueen.