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Revealed: What Led to Steve McQueen Accepting Christ before his Death

Dan Wooding : Oct 6, 2010
ASSIST News Service

Pat Boone wrote a letter to the actor 30 years ago that was found by the wife of McQueen's airplane mechanic. When the woman found the letter she prayed, "Lord, one day please let me meet this man."

(Beverly Hills, Ca.)—When American entertainer Pat Boone heard that Hollywood actor, Steve McQueen, had cancer, he penned a letter to him about 30 years ago telling that him that he "loved him" and was "praying for his battle against cancer."

Steve McQueenTerrence Steven "Steve" McQueen (March 24, 1930—November 7, 1980) was a popular American movie actor who was nicknamed "The King of Cool." His "anti-hero" persona, which he developed at the height of the Vietnam counterculture, made him one of the top box-office draws of the 1960s and 1970s. McQueen received an Academy Award nomination for his role in The Sand Pebbles. His other popular films include The Magnificent Seven, The Great Escape, The Thomas Crown Affair, Bullitt, The Getaway, Papillon, and The Towering Inferno. In 1974, he became the highest-paid movie star in the world. Although McQueen was combative with directors and producers, his popularity put him in high demand and enabled him to command large salaries.

Sadly, McQueen died at the age of 50 on November 7, 1980, in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, following an operation to remove or reduce several metastatic tumors in his abdomen.

Boone had forgotten about the letter; that was until last Saturday (September 25, 2010) when, while he was attending the 12th Annual Media Fellowship International Praise Brunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel, a lady called Judy Ragsdale approached him and told him that she had found the long lost letter.

Mrs. Ragsdale told me, "My husband, Grady Ragsdale Jr., worked with Steve during the last two-and-a-half years of his life. He was Steve's mechanic for his airplane and he was right at his side in Ciudad Juárez, when he passed away. He then flew back to California with Steve's body in a casket."

Judy revealed that Steve McQueen had "accepted Christ" three months before he ever knew he had cancer. "I am sharing this otherwise people might have thought it was a death bed decision," she said.

Judy went on to say, "That was in 1979, and later Grady wrote the book ‘The Final Chapter' and the Reverend Billy Graham wrote the forward to it. My husband has since passed away, but I still have the book and the memories."

Her late husband's book focuses on Steve's final year on earth as he bravely battled the cancer that killed him and in it Ragsdale wrote about McQueen's views on life, the changes in his life, his marriage to Barbara Minty, and his beliefs in the afterlife.

As Pat Boone was standing at her side, Judy explained that she was recently going through her memorabilia and had discovered the letter from Pat Boone. When she found it, she said she prayed, "Lord, one day please let me meet this man."

Well, this occurred on Saturday and with a big smile on her face, Judy said, "See how the Lord works in mysterious ways as I have finally met him today."

Pat Boone then said, "I had forgotten about the letter which I wrote to Steve McQueen all those years ago in which I was encouraging him and letting him know that we loved and admired him and were praying for his battle against cancer.

"I don't even know what else I said but I have now asked Judy if she would send me a copy because it's one of many that I've written over the years. I mean, I've written people like J. Paul Getty, H.L. Hunt and Howard Hughes, not asking for anything, but instead offering to be of spiritual help. I didn't want to receive, but I just wanted to give them something."

Steve's wife, Barbara Minty McQueen, in her book, "Steve McQueen: The Last Mile," writes of McQueen becoming an Evangelical Christian toward the end of his life. This was due in part to the influences of his flying instructor, Sammy Mason and his son Pete, and Barbara. McQueen attended his local church, Ventura Missionary Church in Southern California, and was visited by evangelist Billy Graham shortly before his death.