McQueen finally decided to embrace the Marines Corps’ discipline and to improve himself. Over the next three years he conducted himself to be a true military man. He risked his life saving five Marines in an Arctic exercise by pulling them from a tank before it broke through the permafrost and sank into the icy depths of the sea. As reward for his exemplary service, he was also assigned as an honor guard for former President Harry Truman’s yacht.
After his honorable discharge in 1950, he used his G.I. Bill benefits to study acting at the Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse in North Hollywood, California and took on various acting jobs that eventually led him to fame.
Steve McQueen’s greatest role was "The Cooler King" in The Great Escape, a 1963 American film about an escape by Allied prisoners of war from a German POW camp during World War II. The film cost $3.8 million, an enormous amount of money at the time. But the profit was considered colossal when the film earned $11,744,471 at the box office. Steve McQueen died a U.S. Marine in his heart in 1980 at the age of 50.