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Going out on a limb - body parts and others

Throughout our history, we've hit the headlines for insuring the weird or rather wonderful body parts of celebrities.

Ben Turpin

1920s Silent film comedian Ben Turpin famously bought a $25,000 insurance policy with Lloyd's, payable if his trademark crossed eyes ever uncrossed. How serious this was is open to conjecture; such publicity stunts, centred around a performer’s trademark, were common attention-getters at the time.

1930s Jimmy ‘the Schnozzle’ Durante's infamously large nose was insured by Lloyd’s for $140,000 And in no particular order: Marlene Dietrich insured her vonderful voice for $1m and years later, Bruce Springsteen insured his for £3.5m; Bette Davis insured her tiny waist against weight gain to the tune of $28,000; and 1940s actress, dancer and pin-up girl Betty Grable insured her stupendous pins for $1,000,000 (hence the phrase ‘million-dollar legs’). 

Betty Grable

Betty Grable’s legs was the beginning of a rush of celebrity leg insurance which has since taken in ballet dancer Rudolph Nureyev’s rather more muscular legs, insured for a then-considerable $34,000, Michael ‘Riverdance’ Flatley’s legs, and in 2006, soccer giant David Beckham’s legs, insured for a cool £100m.

Dolly Parton has insured her reputedly 40DD breasts for £3.8m; Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards’ hands are insured for $1.6m; and, movingly, James Dean took out a policy on his life for $100,000 just a week before his tragic death at the age of 25.

Food critic Egon Ronay has insured his taste buds for $400,000; comedian Ken Dodd, as we all know, has insured those teeth for £4m; and former Australian cricketer Merv Hughes insured his moustache, which seems to have a life of its own and could probably have signed the policy itself, for £200,000.

Actress America FerreraUgly Betty

More recently, Ugly Betty star America Ferrera's actually very beautiful smile (once her character’s braces are removed) was insured for $10m. The policy was bought by the makers of at home teeth-whitening product Aquafresh White Trays as part of a promotion involving Ms Ferrera, which aims to raise money for US charity Smiles for Success. Said Ferrera, ‘It’s very flattering to have my smile insured. It’s not something that I ever imagined happening.