Neile Adams McQueen began her career as one of Broadway’s foremost Jazz dancers and performers. She has also appeared in movies and on television shows in a career spanning eight decades.
Born in the Philippines on July 10, 1932 of Eurasian descent, Neile Adams McQueen is 57% Basque (Spanish), 10% English and Irish, 26% Asian (Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian) and 7% Polynesian. She spent the Second World War in Japanese-occupied Manila, emigrating to America with her mother in 1948.
She graduated high school from Choate Rosemary Hall in Greenwich, CT. Marjorie Webster Junior College in Washington D.C. followed, and as soon as she was able, she moved to New York and was given a scholarship to the Katherine Dunham School of Dance.
A year later she was part of the opening act of the Lena Horne Show at the Cocoanut Grove in Los Angeles, CA. Shortly thereafter the 21-year-old was selected by choreographer Jack Cole to become a featured dancer and a Princess of Ababu, in the original Broadway production of “Kismet.” Her appearance in New York’s Versailles Club prompted director George Abbott and legendary choreographer Bob Fosse to immediately cast her as the dancing lead, Gladys Hotchkiss, in the Broadway musical, “The Pajama Game.” There she first saw her name in lights on Broadway.
She danced her way into the hearts of producer Joe Pasternak and director Robert Wise where a seven-year contract at MGM awaited her. Her first feature film was “This Could Be The Night” and she became the studio’s hottest young starlet.
During this period, Neile Adams met and married young actor Steve McQueen after only four months of dating. When Steve’s star rose, they wound up on the cover of LIFE magazine and became Hollywood’s newest “power couple.” They were married over 15 and half years and had two children together: a daughter, Terry Leslie McQueen (1959–1998), and a son, Chadwick Steven McQueen, born in 1960. The union produced four grandchildren: Molly, Steven R., Chase and Madison McQueen.
Neile Adams later married Alvin Toffel, then president of the Norton Simon Museum. They remained married until Toffel’s death in 2005.
As a performer, Neile Adams guest starred in over 20 television shows such as “The Bob Hope Christmas Special” (twice), “The Pat Boone Show,” “The Eddie Fischer Show,” “The Perry Como Show,”and dramatic shows like “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (three times), “Fantasy Island,” “The Bionic Woman,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” and“The Rockford Files.” Film credits include: “This Could Be The Night,” “Fuzz” and “Chu, Chu and The Philly Flash,”among others.
Neile’s proudest accomplishment is being the model, and the only American to have that honor, for Pablo Picasso’s PICASSO EROTIC, which hangs in the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, Spain.
Neile Adams McQueen is a member of the charitable organization, SHARE (Share Happily And Reap Endlessly) and is a board member of The Boys Republic of Chino Hills, CA.
She performs her Cabaret shows, which are often autobiographical, in Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris. She has also performed at a Royal Gala at The London Palladium.
A feature film is currently in development based on Neile Adams McQueen’s first book, her memoir,“My Husband, My Friend.” In addition, a documentary film on the life of Neile Adams McQueen is also currently in development.