Snapshot, 1963: Look mum – one hand!

It’s 11 September 1963 and Steve McQueen, casually dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, burbles through the streets of London on his Triumph TR6. What do you suppose the insurance is costing him?

Less than three months have passed since John Sturges' film ‘The Great Escape’ celebrated its world premiere at London's Odeon Leicester Square – in which Steve McQueen’s character had catapulted his motorcycle over a barbed-wire fence in his attempts to escape the German soldiers. However, although McQueen often performed his own stunts, he admitted on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show that the daring leap had – for the sake of insurance – been performed instead by stuntman Bud Ekins. What the insurance agent would have said about his client’s negligence in this photograph, without a helmet and with only one hand on the handlebars, can only be imagined.

Photo: Michel Descamps/Paris Match via Getty Images