Steve McQueen Praised Wright King as the Perfect Addition to ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’

by Michael Freeman
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Steve McQueen was a man of many talents and names, but something you likely remember him for is his appearance in Wanted: Dead or Alive. Though he was the star of the show, he had nothing but praise for his co-star Wright King, saying he was the perfect addition to the show.

Steve McQueen may have been the “King of Cool” and the face of Wanted: Dead or Alive, but the show truly was the sum of its parts. In 1960, Wright King had his big break on the show when he was cast as a series regular. MeTV obtained an interview Steve McQueen conducted around the same time where he spoke about it. In the interview, he also discussed King, saying his talent brought the character he portrayed to life.

“Wright King brings to our series an unusual ability to portray in full dimension a young man seeking to find the delicate balance between financial satisfaction – the reaping of a bounty – and the upholding of law and order by bringing criminals to justice,” McQueen told The Daily Capital News in 1960.

Like McQueen, King appeared in a number of television shows and movies from 1949 to 1978. If you’re a fan of his, you may remember him best for his Twilight Zone episodes, though Westerns seemed to get him the most attention. Luckily, when he scored roles in the latter category, he had an Oklahoma accent he developed to fall back on, as well as horseback riding experience. “I thanked God for my early horseback riding on the farm and that old Okie accent that I could drag up on a moment’s notice,” King once said.

Eventually, he retired to a quiet life with his wife June.

Steve McQueen Stated he Regretted One Stunt from ‘The Great Escape’

Besides acting, one thing Steve McQueen also enjoyed doing was riding motorcycles. This passion serves as the basis for one stunt he regretted from one of his biggest movies, The Great Escape.

Hagerty revealed interesting information about Steve McQueen a few years ago and one of them involved a decision he had to make. Apparently, his attorney said he had to choose between racing and acting. He chose acting but found ways to incorporate his love of riding into his roles. One of those happened to be The Great Escape.

If you’ve seen the movie, you likely remember the scene with his character Virgil Hilts outrunning German cyclists. The bike jump in it is a classic and though you may think he performed it, his stuntman Bud Ekins did. McQueen always regretted that but said he couldn’t have handled it.

“I always felt a little guilty about that,” McQueen stated. “A lot of people thought it was me making that jump, but I’ve never tried to hide the truth about it. I could handle the jump now, I’m sure. Back in ’62, I just didn’t have the savvy.”

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