When film and racing icon Steve McQueen found himself in a dead pool organized by the Manson family, he checked on his permit.
In 1969 cult leader Charles Manson allegedly compiled a “Death List” of Hollywood celebrities that included not only McQueen but Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Tom Jones and Frank Sinatra.
The list became known that October when Susan Atkins, one of the 24 Manson Family misfits arrested following the brutal murder of actress Sharon Tate, related its contents to a fellow inmate.
A year later, with the threat fading from the news cycle, McQueen fired off a letter to his attorney to do two things: quietly check with police about the possibility of any of Manson’s bunch still at large, and get his carry permit renewed as it was only good for a year, “as it is the only sense of self-protection for my family and myself, and I certainly think I have good reason.”
As a tribute to the events of the day, McQueen’s letter is written on the stationary of his epic racing film he was working on at the time, Le Mans, and includes a Porsche 917. Why? Because Steve McQueen, that’s why.
If McQueen were alive today, he would likely have a harder time getting his permit due to strict may-issue practices in California. Riverside County, which covers McQueen’s old stomping grounds of Palm Springs, has only 1,094 active permits despite its population of over 2.3 million, one of the lowest rates in the state.
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