Steve McQueen Avoided Assassination at Sharon Tate’s Home Despite Being on Charles Manson’s ‘Hit List’

Steve McQueen and several of his friends were all on Charles Manson's "hit list," but his unorthodox ways helped the award-winning actor escape a gruesome death.

Steve McQueen was a heartthrob with a tender roughness and an unforgettable physical beauty. His soft-spoken nature and faultless style saw flocks of women swoon over him, and men wanted to be him.

He had a successful on-screen career that saw him feature in movies such as "The Towering Inferno," "Bullitt," "The Thomas Crown Affair," "The Great Escape," and "The Magnificent Seven," among many others.

Steve McQueen. Second photo Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate on their wedding day | Source: Getty Images

Steve McQueen. Second photo Roman Polanski and Sharon Tate on their wedding day | Source: Getty Images

On August 7, 1969, Jay Sebring, a professional hairdresser and a friend of McQueen, went this home to give him a trim, and the two later went to El Coyote to have some Mexican food. 

It was while there that Sebring let McQueen know that Sharon Tate, who was McQueen's friend and an ex-girlfriend to Sebring, was throwing an evening party at her house and that they should go together. 

Tate was married to Roman Polanski and was eight months pregnant, and as such, her movements were limited, which was against her liking.

American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) as Lt. Frank Bullitt in Peter Yates' crime thriller 'Bullitt', 1968. | Source: Getty Images

American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) as Lt. Frank Bullitt in Peter Yates' crime thriller 'Bullitt', 1968. | Source: Getty Images

While her husband was mostly away in England looking for movie locations and her pregnancy restricted outings, Tate often threw home parties.

McQueen also made Adams carry a gun with her wherever she went.

And the next one was scheduled for August 8th - the next day. Invited were Coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, Sebring, and McQueen. 

Steve McQueen (1930-1980), US actor, on the set of, 'The Thomas Crown Affair', 1968.| Source: Getty Images

Steve McQueen (1930-1980), US actor, on the set of, 'The Thomas Crown Affair', 1968.| Source: Getty Images

The following day, McQueen met up with a blonde beauty he'd been seeing and asked her to accompany him to the party, but she suggested they get away, just the two of them, and so McQueen's plans to go up to Tate's Cielo Drive home were canceled. 

That night, after the group at Tate's home had had their dinner, the Manson gang hit and killed all four of them in cold blood. McQueen's philandering ways had, after all, been for good. His then-wife Neile Adams recalled the fateful incident saying:

“Going off with that girl saved his life."

American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980), in Firestone racing suit, at Riverside Raceway, Riverside, California, July 1966.|Source: Getty Images

American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980), in Firestone racing suit, at Riverside Raceway, Riverside, California, July 1966.|Source: Getty Images

The Manson cult leader, Charles Manson, had had it out for McQueen and several other celebrities for a while. They even had a "hit list." Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Steve McQueen, and Tom Jones were on the list.

McQueen made the list after he disagreed with the ruthless Charles at McQueen's Solar production company offices when he rejected Charles' manuscript for a movie. An altercation had risen, and McQueen had punched Charles, breaking his nose. 

 American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980). circa 1960 | Source: Getty Images

American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980). circa 1960 | Source: Getty Images

The murders hit McQueen hard, and he became paranoid, understandably so, never leaving his house without a weapon. He also made Adams carry a gun with her wherever she went. 

McQueen wired and burglar-proofed all of his homes with only the best security equipment he could find. He also made himself inaccessible to his fans during wild nights.

But despite escaping the Manson murders, he still unpleasantly met his death, finally succumbing to cancer from the exposure of Asbestos. He died at 50. 

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