For a woman to board a plane in England on her own and come all the way to L.A. just to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the death of actor Steve McQueen, surely means she has been a lifelong fan of the “King of Cool,” right?
“Actually, only four-and-a-half months,” laughs Teresa Peacock, a 59-year-old administrative assistant from outside London, with a delightful British pronunciation of “hoff” for the word “half.”
“You see, I always knew about Steve McQueen, but I never really paid attention until one day recently when I was bouncing around the channels looking for something when I chanced upon The Magnificent Seven. I asked, “Where have you been?””
I had written a DD post about the same time on McQueen’s last years, which were spent in the city of Santa Paula northwest of L.A. Teresa happened to catch it online, and we have been trading emails ever since. Yesterday, we finally met at the dedication of “Steve McQueen Square” at the corner of Highland Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood.
Teresa arrived at the square in style in a 1968 Mustang owned by Mike Farrell (not that Mike Farrell) from Redondo Beach. She had hooked up the sweet ride through a mutual friend who hosts a McQueen fan-site in Germany. The car was one of a long procession of Mustangs, Porsches, and motorcycles that motored through Hollywood, briefly pausing at McQueen’s star on Hollywood Boulevard, before stopping at the newly-minted square.
The brief dedication ceremony was led by L.A. City Councilman Tom LaBonge and was attended by several McQueen family members, including his son Chad and his first wife Neile Adams McQueen. Dozens of fans milled about the high-performance vehicles that filled the lot of a gas station. The McQueens were photographed with most everyone in the crowd and were kind enough to Sharpie everything placed in front of them. This included the back of the T-shirt that Teresa wore, which sported the “JJZ 109” license plate from McQueen’s Mustang from Bullitt on the front.
This is Teresa’s first real trip to Los Angeles and most of her other scheduled stops this week will be to other McQueen-related events, including a special screening of Bullitt on Thursday night at the Arclight Hollywood Theater.
Are there any non-McQueen sites she plans to see in L.A.?
“I’m going to Santa Monica to the pier because I understand they have a roller coaster, and I love roller coasters. Then on to Venice Beach to see the men. I have got to see the men!”
We lost Cool’s King thirty years ago, but we may have just discovered a suitable queen.