The once and future king of cool almost wasn’t cast as Thomas Crown; director Jewison, who’d worked with McQueen on “The Cincinnati Kid,” thought the part was too different from the hot-tempered, man-of-action roles that had made McQueen a star. In retrospect, the cool, laconic rebel that Crown turned out to be was of a piece with the other roles McQueen played before and after, from the untameable POW in “The Great Escape,” to the lead-footed detective in “Bullitt,” to the hard-boiled thief in “The Getaway,” to the world-weary bounty hunter in “The Hunter.” McQueen was just 50 when he died of mesothelioma in 1980, but he lives on as an icon of style; his image in ads for products from cars to sunglasses has made him one of the top-earning dead celebrities.

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