Health & Spirit

How a private meeting with Billy Graham changed actor Steve McQueen's life

Tim Funk, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Religious News


A spokesman for the Charlotte-based Billy Graham Evangelistic Association told the Observer that the story the film tells about the meeting of Graham and McQueen is true. As proof, the BGEA emailed a copy of the 1980 Asheville Citizen article.

As Graham was getting ready to leave his private meeting with the actor, the film says, McQueen said to him: "I'll see you in heaven."

After he died, McQueen's widow says in the film that her first phone call was to Graham, who counseled her and gave her a prayer.

In the 1980 interview with the Asheville Citizen, Graham described his meeting with McQueen this way:

"I wouldn't have recognized him. He looked like a little old man of 90, all wrinkled and shrunk. But his eyes sparkled above the oxygen mask he was using."

"Steve McQueen: American Icon" ends with an audio of the actor talking three weeks before his death.

"I want to change some people's lives somehow, to tell people that I know the Lord," McQueen says. "I used to be more macho. And now my body is gone, is broken. But my spirit isn't broken."

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