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2:38 AM Fri, Dec. 14th

Barbara McQueen exhibits photos in Chandler of husband actor Steve McQueen

PRESCOTT - In 1976, Barbara Minty already was a famous model when actor Steve McQueen spotted her picture in a magazine advertisement. He arranged to meet her under a false pretense of wanting to cast her in his upcoming film, "Tom Horn."

She went, they met and eventually they married.

Barbara McQueen loved photography and she documented her love affair with Steve until he died in 1980 from cancer.

Tonight, Barbara finishes up a two-year world-tour exhibition of her behind-the-scenes photographs during a free opening reception at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 N. Arizona Ave., Chandler.

Barbara teamed up with author Marshall Terrill to co-write a book, "The Last Mile," which documents her intimate life with the movie star and movie-set photographs of his last two movies - "Tom Horn" and "The Hunter."

"It's the last stop for 'The Last Mile,'" Barbara said. She showed her exhibition in galleries from London to San Francisco.

In addition to Barbara's talk about her photographs and life with Steve McQueen, other McQueen friends and professional colleagues are attending the open house that starts at 7 p.m.

Scottsdale resident Jeb Rosebrook wrote the screenplay for the 1972 hit, "Junior Bonner," which centered around the Prescott Frontier Days Rodeo. Rosebrook will share his McQueen experiences during the filming of "Junior Bonner."

Also attending the reception and another "Junior Bonner" alum is Prescottonian Bill Pierce. Director Sam Peckinpah hired Pierce with the vague job description of "Prescott coordinator." Rosebrook said that Pierce held the movie together and he has a special credit line at the end of the movie.

Barbara McQueen's photographs and book depict a down-to-earth Steve McQueen that loved simple things like old pickup trucks and antique toys. He loved Old Milwaukee beer and spur-of-the-moment road trips and he shunned the stereotypical Hollywood lifestyle.

He was more annoyed by his stardom than happy with it, she writes in her book. He loved motorcycles, fast cars and vintage bi-planes. Barbara's photographs and the accompanying book show a couple in love that were sometimes mistaken for father and daughter - he died at the age of 50 at nearly twice her age.

"Steve McQueen: The Last Mile" opens tonight at the Chandler Center and runs through April 11. For more information about the photography exhibit or opening reception, call 480-917-6859, or visit www.chandlercenter.org.