When Ringo Starr cheated death - Remembering when The Beatles drummer survived a near-fatal car crash
(Credit: Bent Rej / United Artists)

When Ringo Starr cheated death: Remembering when The Beatles drummer survived a near-fatal car crash

Stepping back into the Far Out archives, we’re revisiting the moment Ringo Starr cheated death in a dramatic and new-fatal car crash.

The incident, which occurred 40 years ago today, saw Starr involved in a horrific car crash which nearly took the drummer and his wife Barbara Bach’s life. In eerie circumstances, the accident took place just half a mile away from the site of Marc Bolan’s fatal car crash just three years prior.

Bolan, who was also a close friend of Ringo Starr, made the coincidence even more bizarre. The former Beatle, so closely affiliated with the Bolan family, is even the godfather to his son, Rolan. Thankfully, however, Starr would not suffer the same fate but it could quite easily have been a completely different story.

Starr had met his now-wife and former Bond girl, Barbara Bach, on the set of the film Caveman a few months prior to the crash. The two would then get married in a ceremony at Marylebone Town Hall a year later in 1981 and they remain married today while splitting their time between London and Los Angeles.

Bach famously starred as Anya in the tenth James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me alongside Roger Moore and, upon meeting the Beatle, was a Hollywood star in her own right. The actor later discussed how her and Ringo’s real-life relationship mirrored the love story in the film with the two deciding to leave their respective partners near the end of filming in a bid to be together.

Reminiscing about the formation of their relationship, Bach said: “Working, we got along fine, we spent time together, but we each had other people, our respective friends. Then, suddenly, two weeks before the end of shooting, we fell in love. We changed from friendly love to being in love, but it as just before we left Mexico. We had an on-camera love affair and somehow it just spilled over nicely into real life. It wasn’t quite love at first sight but it began to grow within days of meeting each other.”

The damage caused to Ringo’s Mercedes. (Credit: Tomni Classics)

The couple, who were were driving to a party in Surrey on May 19th, 1980, attempted to navigate their way through the fog when the catastrophic incident would occur. Ss they approached a black-spot at the Robin Hood Roundabout on the A3, a terrifying collision which would completely write off Starr’s white Mercedes.

Starr had to swerve, at 60 mph, to avoid hitting an oncoming lorry. His evasive action sent the couple on a fifty-yard somersaulting skid in the process which resulted in his supercar colliding head-on into two lampposts. However, despite the leg injury that Ringo suffered, he heroically pulled Barbara safety. Removing her from the car, Starr then comically headed back into his wrecked car to retrieve a pack of cigarettes like a true rockstar.

Both walked away from the crash, luckily, with only minor injuries. Three weeks later Bach told her father that she was going to marry Ringo and, in the next April, the couple will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary—a love story that could have been ever so different if the drummer had not reached so valiantly on that fateful night in 1980.

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