Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Slater announces 2007 Steve McQueen Days

Slater, Missouri is throwing a special birthday party for Steve McQueen this spring.

The actor, box-office champion and icon of cool will be honored by civic and business officials from his hometown with a special weekend festival to celebrate his life and commemorate what would have been his 77th birthday. McQueen was born on March 24, 1930 in Beech Grove, Indiana but moved to Slater when he was an infant and remained there for most of the next decade.

The Slater Chamber of Commerce and the City of Slater, Missouri will host the 2007 Steve McQueen Days on March 24 and 25 with a slate of events honoring the town's most famous resident.

“The city of Slater decided it was time to recognize the amazing accomplishments of a man who spent his early years in our community and had a lasting impact on the history of film and popular culture,” said Mayor Steve Allegri.

Events are still in the planning stages, but organizers say the festival will include a film retrospective, a motorcycle ride, an antique car show, a panel discussion and a visit of McQueen's old haunts, including his boyhood home and the one-room schoolhouse where he was educated. Barbara McQueen, the superstar's widow, will also take part in a special sign unveiling and as well as sign copies of her new book, Steve McQueen: The Last Mile.

McQueen, who was a worldwide box-office champion in the '60s and '70s, starred in blockbuster films such as The Great Escape, Bullit, The Thomas Crown Affair, Papillon and The Sand Pebbles, which garnered him an Academy Award nomination for best actor. McQueen was the highest paid actor in the world at the time of his death in November 1980.

McQueen's film legacy as “The King of Cool” as well as his passion for motor sports and aviation, have elevated him to the same status of other fallen screen idols such as James Dean and Marilyn Monroe. The McQueen name is magic to both baby boomers and to a new generation of hipsters young enough to be his grandchildren.

The actor's “anti-hero” persona and hell-bent-for-leather take on life has been the subject of approximately 20 books and 10 documentaries. Even posthumously, McQueen remains one of the highest paid iconic stars. His image and likeness has been used by more than 30 companies to sell various products such as cars, motorcycles, vodka, blue jeans, watches, jackets, T-shirts, sunglasses and video games.

Founded in 1878, Slater is located in central Missouri in Saline County and has approximately 2,100 residents.

For more information about the 2007 Steve McQueen Days, call Dan Viets at (573) 819-2669 or go to www.cityofslater.com or e-mail info@cityofslater.com.

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