Legendary actor Steve McQueen returned to the screen Sunday (June 11) before an audience of 38,000 packed into a Phoenix stadium for the Harvest America Crusade as Pastor Greg Laurie shared the most important part of McQueen’s saga.
Laurie, a McQueen fan whose book, Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon has now been made into a documentary, gave the audience a preview of his film.
“I thought this is a story that needs to be told,” Laurie said. “It’s a story McQueen, in his own words, worried he’d never be able to share with the world. Now, almost 40 years after his step into heaven, he’ll finally get the chance.”
“And one thing Steve said before he died was, ‘My only regret in life is that I was not able to tell people about what Christ did for me,’” he added.
McQueen, who starred in more than two dozen films from 1953-1980, died in 1980 at the age of 50 from mesothelioma.
“In a significant turn toward the end of his life, ironically, just before he found out that he had cancer and while still the top movie star on earth, Steve did something that showed me that he really was ‘the coolest of them all.’ He put his faith in God and became a believer in Jesus Christ,” said Laurie.
“He was simultaneously the most unlikely and then again maybe the most likely person to come to faith in God,” Laurie said.
Steve McQueen: Something was missing
Despite being one of the most in-demand actors in Hollywood at the peak of his career — and one of its highest-paid — Laurie said McQueen sought out a spiritual significance in his life.
“When you’ve experienced everything that this culture offers, you will see how empty it is,” Laurie said. “That was true of Steve: He had it all, but something was missing, and that led him to a little church in Santa Paula, California, where he heard the message of Jesus Christ for maybe the first time in a way he understood it.”
Laurie said McQueen’s experience was like that of many others: He asked a church-going friend if they could attend church together. In this case, Laurie noted, the friend was flight instructor Sammy Mason, who was teaching McQueen to fly a biplane.
Leonard DeWitt, the pastor of Ventura Missionary Church at the time, helped McQueen accept Christ, Laurie said.
“I know this because Pastor DeWitt met with Steve maybe a month after that, and they had a long discussion where the pastor answered a lot of Steve’s questions,” Laurie said. “The pastor asked Steve, ‘Have you become a born-again Christian?’ And Steve said he had.”
Steve McQueen: American Icon Official Trailer
Laurie said there is a message in McQueen’s journey.
“Steve had the statistical cards stacked against him — no father in his life, an alcoholic mother who really didn’t have time for him,” Laurie said. “The fame and all the power he acquired actually, in some ways, made his life worse. It was like throwing gasoline on a fire.
“He could have ended up overdosing on drugs or killed behind the wheel of an automobile, but yet he made his way to hear the gospel and so I think the takeaway truth is, ‘Wow, if God can reach someone like Steve, he can certainly reach me,’” he said.
The article above was originally published at Western Journalism.