Steve McQueen Mural by Kent Twitchell

The “Steve McQueen Monument”

Alison Martino Hollywood

In early 1971, Los Angeles street artist Kent Twitchell painted his first realistic mural. He called it “Steve McQueen Monument”.

The mural stood as a landmark for nearly 30 years, possibly the oldest extant LA Mural of the movement that influenced similar movements throughout the world. Then it was mysteriously painted over.

Rumor was that a family from a different country had moved into the house. They did not speak English and did not realize its cultural importance to the city. Eight years later graduate Art History major Fernando Cervantes, working on a paper about the art of Kent Twitchell, took it upon himself to go to the house and knock on the door. He discovered that yes, there were language issues but the new owners very much wanted the mural restored. Workers had painted over it by accident. Twitchell decided this was the ideal time to restore his landmark monument, the 30th year after his favorite actor’s death.

It now appears again on the side of an old Victorian-style house at 12th and Union street as it did in 1971. Steve would have turned 88 this weekend.

Steve McQueen Monument, 1971

Steve McQueen Monument today, appearing much more life like:

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Alison Martino is a writer, television producer, and pop culture historian. She founded the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles in 2010. Alison muses on L.A’s. past and present on Twitter and Instagram.