Hollywood Heroes: 15 Real-life Instances of Celebrity Selflessness

Hollywood’s Real Life Heroes: 15 Stars Known For Coming To The Aid Of Others


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We all have our heroes of music, TV, and movies, but how many of them can also be counted as real-life heroes? Sure, it’s easy to admire these celebrities for their talents, but hearing about them helping their fellow man is nothing short of inspiring. Here are 15 actors and musicians known for their heroic deeds.

Jennifer Lawrence

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Last year Jennifer Lawrence was declared a hero by the paparazzi when pictures leaked of her helping a woman who collapsed in front of her apartment complex. When Lawrence rushed to her side, the girl claimed she had drank too much vodka. “I was like, ‘Hon, I’m a vodka expert; this does not happen from vodka,’” Lawrence remarked when recounting the story. “So I tried to get her phone to call her mom.” Lawrence has since downplayed any sort of heroism, joking “I didn’t save anyone’s life; I just got her in really big trouble with her mother.”

Brad Pitt

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Last August, Brad Pitt was shooting a big zombie chase sequence for his upcoming film World War Z. When cameras began rolling, Pitt and a crowd of 700 extras began running for the zombie invasion sequence. Mid shoot, the actor noticed a woman who had fallen during the chase. Pitt quickly grabbed the woman, helped her to her feet, and continued shooting the scene without missing a beat. This, of course, kept her from being trampled by hundreds of zombie extras.

Hadyen Panettiere

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Heroes star Hayden Panettiere can be a considered a hero among animal rights protestors. In 2008 actress was documented in the award winning feature The Cove alongside five surfers who took to the waters outside the Japanese village of Taiji to disrupt a dolphin hunt. In the process, the actress earned herself an arrest warrant from local officials. This didn’t stop her from returning to the village in 2010, this time in a less confrontational mode, to meet with officials to come up with new ways for the village to create income. The actress continues to be a spokeswoman for the campaign Save The Whales Again!

Arnold Schwarzenegger

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In 2004, Terminator star Arnold Schwarzenegger performed real-life heroics without the help of guns, swords, or fists. The action star (and then California Governor) was swimming off the coast of Hawaii when he detected a distressed swimmer nearby. Arnold proceeded to drag the swimmer via boogie board a hundred yards to the beach resort he was staying at. The swimmer quickly recovered from the event and the scene became a press sensation.

Renee Zellweger

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Last year, Bridget Jones actress Renee Zellweger came to the aid of a collapsed woman while hiking in California’s Runyan Canyon. The actress was with her personal trainer when they saw the woman faint and fall down a cliff. Zellweger risked her own life by sliding down to help as they waited for paramedics to come. When they finally took the woman away, Zellweger returned to her workout routine with her trainer.

Ryan Gosling

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In April of last year, London-native Laurie Penny was crossing a street in New York and wasn’t looking the right direction. She soon found a Taxi hurtling towards her when suddenly an arm pulled her back and out of the way of the car just in the nick of time. Laurie found herself face-to-face with actor Ryan Gosling and later Tweeted about the event, only to find her story at the center of media attention. This wasn’t Gosling’s first heroic deed— in 2011 he broke up a street brawl while shooting Crazy, Stupid Love.

Kate Winslet

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In 2011, a fire broke out a British Tycoon Richard Branson’s home. Kate Winslet, there attending a party with her boyfriend and two children, soon found herself as one part of a rescue operation that hoisted Branson’s 90-year-old mother away from the flames. Though the house was engulfed, no one was hurt and Branson later credited Winslet with saving his mum.

Matthew McConaughey

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In 2001, 49-year-old mother of three Janice Flisfeder blacked out during a Toronto International Film Festival screening of Thirteen Different Conversations About One Thing. Flisfeder’s first hand account said the next thing she remembered was “A man stroking my hair and kissing my forehead saying, ‘It’s okay, sweetheart.’ She opened her eyes to find that none other than the film’s star, Matthew McConaughey, had come to her aid. Flisfeder later left the theater okay, while McConaughey brushed off the incident selflessly.

Taye Diggs

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Taye Diggs, star of Private Practice, came face-to-face with a burglar after returning home from the SAG Awards last month. Diggs confronted the thief, chased him down and “detained” him in a heroic citizen’s arrest. Hassan Omar Juma now faces up to six years in prison for the attempted burglary.

Tom Hanks

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In 2002, Tom Hanks saved a drowning man while jogging near his home in Malibu. Hanks came upon the man screaming as the tide pulled him. The actor encouraged the drowning man to calm himself until he felt the tide weaken, then instructed him to swim diagonally back to the shore. Hanks then went out into the water and dragged the swimmer to safety.



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Rapper T.I. has intervened on more than one suicide attempt. In 2010 he drove to the scene of Atlanta’s 400 Colony Square Building without an entourage or bodyguards to help talk a suicidal man down off the roof. T.I. recorded a video for the man that was played by a hostage negotiator. Later, the man agreed to meet with T.I. in the lobby of the building. The pair talked and the man agreed to be taken into custody for psychiatric care. In 2012, Creed lead singer Scott Stapp reported that T.I. came to his aid after a drug addled suicide attempt. Stapp jumped off a balcony 40 feet up, fractured his skull, only to find his old friend T.I. by his side, talking him through accident and alerting the authorities.

Tom Cruise

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While on the set of his new sci-fi film Oblivion, Tom Cruise came to the aid of David, a British crew member who was crushed by a large weight during filming. Fearing the man could be paralyzed, Cruise had his private jet prepared to rush him to a hospital. Cruise later paid a visit to David during his four day stint in intensive care. This is just one example of Cruise’s real-life heroics—he’s also helped fans avoid being trampled at premieres and helped comfort and pay for a hit-and-run victim’s hospital bills after witnessing the accident.

Harrison Ford

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Indiana Jones star Harrison Ford has used his piloting skills to rescue hikers-in-distress and generally help those in need. He’s rescued a woman from the top of a mountain in Idaho, located and recovered a 13-year-old boy lost in Yellowstone Park, flown Special Olympics athletes to competitions and oversaw an airlift of supplies and volunteers for Haiti’s Operation Smile.

Vin Diesel

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In 2002, Vin Diesel was riding his motorcycle through Hollywood when the car in front of him lost control, rolled three times and burst into flames. The Fast Five star quickly stepped into action, pulling two children out of the backseat and getting the driver to pull herself out of the car to safety. Diesel’s actions saved the family’s life as the car was engulfed in flames within minutes.

Sean Penn

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Sean Penn’s humanitarian and political causes may lend him more heroic cred that anyone else on this list. In 2005 he took to New Orleans to provide personal aid and relief to victims in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In 2010 the actor co-founded the Haitian Relief Organization and managed a 55,000 person tent camp following the country’s earthquake. Most recently he traveled to Pakistan to visit and provide relief to the flood-stricken villages of Karim Bux Jamali, Dargah Shah Gurio and Peero Lashari.

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