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The Rock-itt : November 2011
sta rred with Richard Crenna and Candace Bergen that put Steve right up there in the list of my favourite actors. In the role of navy engineer, Jake Holman, Steve gave the perfect performance showing the world that this boy could act any given part and was now top of the Hollywood male actors’ heap. The top roles began pouring in with The Thomas Cro wn Affair (1968), Bullitt (1968), The Reivers (1969), Le Mans (1971), Junio r Bonner (1972), The Ge taway (1972) which he played alongside future wife, Ali McGraw, and finally my other favou rite Steve McQueen Film, Papillon (1973) where he co-starred with the b rilliant Dustin Hoffman. In this collabo ration of the two best actors of their time, McQueen and Hoffman play th e parts o f convicts b anished to the harsh penal colonies of St Lawrence on the infamous Devil’s Island . The story derived from the book written by Henri Charriere is the stru ggle to survive an d escape by bo th McQu een and Hoffman and the abominable conditio ns they are faced with. Steve con tinued making some memorable films well into the 70s with his last film being in The Hunter (1980). It was at this point in time that Steve was battling the aggressive disease known as Mesoth elioma, a cancer caused by contact with asbestos. Though Steve put up a courageous fight, even tually o n November 7 th 1980 Steve suffered a fatal heart attack brought on by his arduous o rdeal. In summarising, Steve McQueen the actor, to me was the best of his era. He was an excellent actor and his charismatic personality reached out to his audience, embracing them and making them believe that the actor playing the part was actually the real thing. My video and DVD shelves are stacked with Steve McQueen movies wh ich I never seem to tire of watching.