May the force be with you indeed. A surprising entry on this list, before creating one of the world’s largest sci-fi film franchises, George Lucas was a prolific drag racer, often found racing in the underground scene in a souped-up Autobianchi Bianchina, an Italian supermini based on the Fiat 500.
While his heart at that time lay in automobile racing, and movie-making barely figured, a crash shortly before his graduation in June 1962, which left him with crushed lungs in intensive care, changed his perspective.
Speaking to Starlog in 1981, he said: “I spent some time in the hospital, and I realised that it probably wouldn’t be smart for me to be a race driver – especially after this accident.
“Before that first accident you are very oblivious to the danger because you don’t realise how close to the edge you are. But once you’ve gone over the edge and you realise what’s on the other side, it changes your perspective… And I just decided that maybe that wasn’t for me. I decided I’d settle down and go to school.”
And thus he became the billion-dollar movie-maker that he is today.
Rowan Atkinson image by Nick Dungan, Muniz, McQueen and Lucas images courtesy of Motorsport Images.