Originally published January 14, 1961
McQueen and his wife Neile were driving to Phoenix for some location shooting. “And at this point,” he says, “I’d lost my license twice, and if I got another ticket, it would be all over: I’d be driving Pogo sticks. We were on this long stretch of highway, a nice flat road — safe, no bumps — and I was going a hundred miles an hour in the Porsche, and all of a sudden this cop came up in back of us out of nowhere. And I asked Neile, ‘Are we still in California?’ and she said, ‘Yeah,’ and I said, ‘Well, it’s all over, baby.’
At the time, Neile was six months pregnant with their daughter, and Steve got an inspiration. “I stopped the car,” he says, “and I jumped out and ran up to the cop and said, ‘You’ve got to get me to the hospital. My wife’s going to have a baby.’ And he said, ‘Okay, follow me,’ and he took off and we followed him into town.” Neile was rushed into the hospital, and a nurse began examining her. “And I thought for sure they were going to make her have the baby,” Steve says. “That’s what really scared me. And as soon as the cop walked out the door, I said to the nurse, ‘Forget it, forget it; she’s cool; don’t worry about it,’ and I got her out.”
—“TV’s Angry Young Star” by Robert Johnson, January 14, 1961
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Featured image: Ride and seek: McQueen and his wife Neile in 1963. Ever since his spectacular motorcycle leap in The Great Escape” (actually performed by a stunt double for insurance reasons), the actor was as well known for his riding and driving skills as for his theatrical talent. (SEPS)
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