Actor and Hollywood icon Steve McQueen famously accepted Christ just months before he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. But pastor Greg Laurie has revealed something astonishing about the 'Great Escape' star: he was clutching Billy Graham's bible when he died. Laurie is set to release his book, Steve McQueen: The Salvation of an American Icon, on June 13.
"There was a statement that McQueen made, which was, 'My only regret in life was that I was not able to tell others about what Jesus Christ did for me,'" Laurie told The Christian Post, quoting what McQueen had told Pastor Leonard DeWitt of Ventura Missionary Church just before he died.
"I thought, that's a wrong that needs to be righted," Laurie added.
McQueen began attending Church and asking serious spiritual questions not long before his grave diagnosis.
"Leonard remembered that Steve wanted to know if the Bible can be trusted. He wanted to know if all of his sins can be forgiven. He wanted to know what being a Christian looked like," Laurie said. "I think McQueen was trying to wrap his mind around it."
McQueen was subsequently given the terrible news about his cancer and headed to Mexico to seek alternative treatments. "Now that he had become a believer, one of the first things he does when he arrives in Mexico at a center where he was going to receive some of these treatments is he starts talking to the lady (Teena Valentino) about his faith in Christ. I thought that was very interesting that he was initiating conversations with people about it," Laurie said.
"He had organized a time to feed a lot of the other cancer patients there in the clinic. He wanted to join them. It was a little food that they weren't supposed to eat but he was sort of treating them. He wanted to go spend some time with them but he wasn't able to do it because he was feeling so sick," Laurie continued. "So he made a recording that he played for them. In that recording, he prays for them and he talks about his faith in Christ."
Then, McQueen met famed evangelist Billy Graham. This would prove to be a significant time. "I know they had a lengthy meeting where they talked in depth about a lot of things in Steve's life," Laurie said. "Billy was really impacted by Steve and felt his conversion was genuine because all Steve wanted to talk about was his faith."
In an amazing show of grace, Graham gave McQueen his Bible as they parted ways. Not long after this meeting, McQueen succumbed to his illness and died, aged 50.
When he was discovered by his son, Chad, he was clutching that same Bible Billy had handed to him after they talked.
"He was holding onto that Bible and I think he probably was praying," Laurie said. "He could tell that his condition was worsening. No one was with him in those final moments of his life in that room because when they came in, he had already died."
"He probably saw that Bible, or maybe he was already holding and reading it and just held onto it. There it was under the sheet, as I am told. They pulled the sheet back and found the Bible."