The iconic Steve McQueen is best known for being a Hollywood actor, but behind the scenes, he was known for womanising, drinking, smoking and loving fast cars. He even had an ongoing feud with Paul Newman over getting top billing on films.
But McQueen held a deep admiration for John Wayne. And when the two legendary stars got together, there was hell to pay.
Wayne had dominated the film industry throughout the 1940s, 1950s, and well into the 1960s. McQueen likely grew up watching the Duke (as he was known) and admired his style of acting.
McQueen’s biographer Marshall Terrill recalled how much the star adored Wayne.
He said: “McQueen greatly respected the Duke and held him up as the gold standard for movie stars.”
Terrill then revealed a story told to him by McQueen’s widow, Barbara Minty McQueen.
Barbara spotted photos of McQueen and Wayne together before chuckling and recalling the chaos they got up to together.
Terrill said: “She said the two legends were at an awards ceremony in the 1960s and were either presenters or co-presenters.”
The pair were actually co-presenters for an award at the 1966 Golden Globes.
“They were hanging out backstage, waiting to go on,” Terrill went on. “When Wayne didn’t feel like going to the restroom – or there wasn’t enough time to find a restroom.
“So Wayne took a leak against a wall or curtain.”
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While McQueen and Wayne were good friends behind the camera, they never seemed to share the big screen together.
Despite the fact Wayne shot more than 130 films, he never worked with McQueen on any of them. But there is an eerie connection between their deaths.
Wayne died aged 72 on June 11, 1979, from stomach cancer.
18 months later, on November 7, 1980, McQueen died.
He suffered a heart attack in Mexico, in a connection to cancer he was treating due to asbestos exposure.
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