Steve McQueen 'would have been proud' of Slater fest

Monday, March 26, 2007
Barbara McQueen, widow of actor Steve McQueen, thanked the town of Slater for honoring her late husband and said he would not only have been proud of the event but would have loved to be part of it. McQueen and Slater Mayor Stephen Allegri unveiled an addition to the "Welcome to Slater" sign noting that the town is the boyhood home of the actor.

"Like Steve McQueen

All I need's a fast machine

And I'm going to make it all right ..."

-- Sheryl Crow

It was Steve McQueen's kind of event, according to his widow, Barbara McQueen. Fast cars. Rumbling motorcycles. Good people. And maybe a beer or two.

McQueen spoke at the unveiling Saturday, March 24, of the addition to the "Welcome to Slater" sign on Highway 240 at the south edge of town.

She described the movie star as a down-to-earth guy who would have fit in naturally with the people of Slater.

"If he was here today you wouldn't even know it," she said. "He'd probably be down at the bar, having a beer."

McQueen said she didn't know much about any other posthumous honors her late husband had received because, like him, she doesn't pay much attention to Hollywood glitz.

A self-described "gearhead," McQueen paused in her remarks as members of the Mid-America Cobra Club roared past on their way to Main Street.

She and McQueen had planned to visit Slater while working on a book project, but the actor died before they could make the trip.

"This was his kind of place," she said.

Barbara McQueen said she and the actor were together for about four years, married less than one, but were soul-mates from the moment they met.

She described the first time she saw him. She went to an audition for a movie and didn't even know who he was at the time.

But when she saw the scruffy looking actor she told her agent, "There's just something about him. I'm going to marry him."

"I married a man, not an actor," she said. "I didn't even see his movies."

She learned a lot from McQueen, she said, noting that he was both smart and wise, with good values that he'd acquired during his time in Slater.

McQueen had great praise for Slater's efforts to honor her late husband.

"This town is awesome," she said. "This makes my heart feel good. Steve would be so proud."

"But you won't catch this free bird

I'll already be long gone ..."

-- Sheryl Crow

Contact Eric Crump at

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