Many actors play heroes in movies and on TV, which prompts many fans to see them as larger-than-life figures in real life. Unfortunately, some stars only go out of their way to help others on screen and don’t deserve that level of hero worship. However, some go above and beyond to be real-life heroes worthy of admiration long after the cameras have stopped rolling.
Some celebrities have actually saved people’s lives or helped them escape danger. One star even played a critical role in getting a fan a much-needed organ donation. Here’s a look at some of our favorite celebrities who deserve to truly be called heroes.
A man was about to jump from a 22-story building, and police were trying to talk him off the ledge. That’s when rapper T.I. offered to talk to the man and got him to step down. T.I. and the man talked for a bit before the would-be jumper was escorted to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
If T.I. hadn’t been there during that crucial moment, who knows if the police would have been successful in saving the man’s life — maybe yes, maybe no. Sometimes, the wise, soothing words of a superstar can really come in handy.
For starters, Leonardo DiCaprio is a climate change hero who has used his influence and resources to try to save the planet for a long time now. Aside from that, he once saved a man’s life. The man had fallen from a cruise ship — yes, apparently, that can really happen — and had been treading water for 11 hours when DiCaprio came to the rescue.
He and some friends were on his boat near St. Barts when a message came over the radio that a man was overboard in the area. They immediately joined the search and found the man, pulling him out of the water and saving his life.
Sofía Vergara and her friend saw a woman fall to the ground when they were leaving Bellagio’s Hyde nightclub in Las Vegas at 3:00 in the morning. Vergara had some medical training, so she rushed to the woman’s aid and took her pulse.
The pair stayed with the fallen woman until security and the paramedics arrived and took her to the hospital. It takes a certain kind of person to go out of their way to help a person in need, and Vergara is clearly that kind of person.
Ryan Gosling saved a woman’s life by preventing her from walking into traffic. The British woman was traveling in the U.S., and she looked the wrong way for oncoming traffic, as cars drive on the other side of the street in Great Britain. She would have gotten hit by a car if it wasn’t for Gosling stepping in to stop her.
After it happened, the woman tweeted about it, letting the world know that Ryan Gosling “literally” saved her life. The tweet got a lot of attention, and now we all know that Gosling is more than a hottie — he’s a hero!
Country music star Garth Brooks and a friend were driving in Oklahoma in 2003, when they came upon a grass fire that was moving toward a house. The two stopped the car, ran over to the house and pounded on the door. Two young brothers, a 14-year-old and a 10-year-old, were inside alone.
Brooks got them to evacuate immediately, and shortly thereafter, the house was overtaken by flames. If Brooks and his friend hadn’t stopped to alert them, the brothers could have been trapped and died in the burning house. They were true heroes for taking quick action to save lives.
Harrison Ford is known for being a hero on the big screen, but what many people don’t know is that he’s also a hero in real life. Two hikers were lost in the mountains of Wyoming and sounded an alarm as a cry for help. One was suffering from extreme dehydration.
Upon hearing the alarm, Ford took off in his Bell 407 helicopter, as he is on the sheriff’s department’s task force for rescue missions in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He found the hikers and transported them to safety. What a real hero Ford is for actively volunteering to save people’s lives.
When an elderly woman was injured in a car crash, Zoe Saldana witnessed the accident and came to her rescue. She helped the woman out of her car and called 911 right away. Then she stayed with the woman until the ambulance arrived.
An onlooker reported that Saldana not only got the elderly woman to safety, but she also picked up her handbag and sweater. High profile stars don’t often put themselves in the spotlight out in public, but Saldana readily put helping save someone’s life over her own privacy and convenience. That’s what real heroes do.
Dustin Hoffman was in Hyde Park in London when he noticed a jogger start to stagger and then collapse. Without hesitation, he rushed to the jogger’s side and called an ambulance immediately. Luckily, the paramedics got there in time to perform an emergency procedure and save the jogger’s life.
Quick action in response to an emergency isn’t always an easy thing to do. Many people panic in the face of a crisis, but not Hoffman. If it wasn’t for him and his urgency in dealing with the situation, the jogger would have died.
Danny Trejo commonly plays dastardly villains on screen, but he is exactly the opposite in real life. Trejo was driving in Sylmar, California, when he witnessed a car crash. One of the cars rolled upside down. He pulled over, and when he got to the rolled car, he saw a baby inside, strapped into a car seat.
That’s when Trejo stepped in and quickly removed the baby from the car. When interviewed at the scene, he told the reporter, “Everything good that has happened to me has happened as a direct result of helping someone else.” Truer words have never been spoken.
After high school, John Krasinski moved to Costa Rica to teach English. One day at the beach, he saw a woman get taken out to sea by a riptide. Krasinski was the only one there, so he knew what he had to do. He jumped into the water and went after her.
That’s when he found himself in the crosscurrent with the woman and thought to himself that they both might die. However, he was able to grab her and get them both near shore. At that point, a few surfers saw what was happening and came to help.
From 1980 to 1984, Steve Buscemi worked as a firefighter in New York City. When 9/11 happened, the city was desperately in need of firefighters, and Buscemi didn’t hesitate to volunteer. He went back to the Little Italy firehouse where he had worked and helped search the rubble for survivors.
No one wants to volunteer in those types of dangerous situations, and celebrities certainly don’t seem like the most likely candidates to do it. However, with his previous experience as a firefighter, Buscemi felt it was his responsibility to do what he could after such an enormous tragedy.
Just because Jamie Foxx played a supervillain in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 doesn’t mean he is anything like a supervillain off screen. Instead, he has proven himself to be quite the hero in real life. In 2016, an elderly man crashed his car outside Foxx’s house.
Because it hit a drainage ditch, the car rolled over and quickly caught on fire. Without giving it a second thought, Foxx ran to the scene and rescued the man from the burning car, carrying him to safety. Despite suffering head and other injuries, the man survived, thanks to Foxx.
In the summer of 2012, Jennifer Lawrence and her mom were out walking her dog when they noticed a woman collapse on the grass outside their apartment complex. Lawrence, her mom and another bystander stopped what they were doing and rushed to help the woman.
They called 911 and waited for the police and paramedics to arrive, staying by the woman’s side all the while. Lawrence showed her true colors that day, going out of her way to help a stranger in need. That’s a quality of a genuine hero.
PGA tournament director Steve John was at a volunteer party in 2014 when he suddenly choked on a piece of cheese. Clint Eastwood also happened to be at the same party and witnessed John start to choke. He rushed over and performed the Heimlich maneuver on the choking man, saving his life.
John was lucky someone nearby knew how to perform the life-saving method and was able to dislodge the cheese from his throat. He was also lucky that Eastwood was able to get the job done, given that he was 84 years old and John weighed 202 pounds.
In 2010, Chris Rock was at a mall in New Jersey when he stumbled upon a woman who had just gone into labor. Just like in the movies, her water broke in an elevator. Rock didn’t deliver the baby — how cool would that have been? — but he called for professional help. In the meantime, he did what he could to help soothe the woman.
Rock told her jokes to calm her down — which also entertained the rest of the people who had crowded around — and it really worked. Who would have thought humor could come in handy during the early stages of labor in a New Jersey mall?
Tom Cruise may seem a bit — or maybe a lot — crazy, but that doesn’t mean he’s a bad person. There’s proof that he may even be a bit of a hero. Once, Cruise saw a hit-and-run take place in Los Angeles. Without hesitation, he called 911 and then went to help the victim.
Cruise stayed with her while waiting for the paramedics, rode with her on the ambulance and even spent some time at the hospital. To top it off, he ended up paying her entire medical bill. While he may be weird, he has got some excellent real-world hero instincts, for sure.
The Haiti earthquake of 2010 devastated a lot of people. Two survivors of the quake, a woman and a child, may have Sean Penn to thank for their survival. He pulled both of them out of a pile of rubble after an aftershock caused even more damage.
Penn then drove them to safety at the University of Miami hospital camp and even stayed with them until he knew they had somewhere to go. What’s more, Penn stayed in Haiti for more than a month to help other survivors of the tragically impactful natural disaster.
Vin Diesel went from action movie star to real-life hero in a matter of moments after he witnessed a horrifying crash while riding his motorcycle. The situation escalated quickly when the car caught on fire. That’s when Diesel moved in to rescue all the passengers from the burning car.
Shortly after he got all the passengers to safety, the car exploded. If it hadn’t been for his quick thinking and action, all the passengers in the burning car wouldn’t be alive today. Instead, they all left the accident scene remarkably unharmed.
A thief in London who decided to steal a moped would have probably gotten away with it if Tom Hardy hadn’t stepped in to stop him. Hardy saw the crime and went after the thief in a dramatic chase, much like what you would expect to see on the big screen. The thief crashed the moped, and Hardy chased him on foot until he caught him.
Hardy, who has starred in both action and superhero films, must have been influenced by his roles to pursue a criminal like this. You don’t see those kinds of chases in real life too often, and you certainly don’t see action stars doing the chasing.
Demi Moore used social media to carry out a risky act of heroism to save a stranger’s life. In 2009, she got a Twitter message from a woman who told her she was going to use a sharp knife to cut into her own arm. Moore was so alarmed by the message that she decided to share it publicly to seek widespread help.
It was a tough decision to share the message, but because Moore felt the woman was a genuine threat to herself, she ultimately decided to do it. As a result, the woman was tracked down before she was able to injure herself.
During a weekend tour for seniors in Toronto, Jim Walpole tripped and fell into scaffolding, which slit his throat. John Malkovich happened to see the accident happen, and he took immediate action by putting pressure on the wound to stop the excessive and dangerous bleeding.
During the incident, Malkovich told Walpole, “My name is John, and you’re going to be all right.” So, not only is Malkovich a hero, he’s humble too. It wasn’t until later that Walpole figured out that his savior wasn’t just any John — he was Oscar-nominee John Malkovich!
Blake Shelton was driving in Oklahoma when he spotted some men whose vehicle had gotten stuck in a ditch. He stopped what he was doing and immediately went to help them. First, Shelton tried to pull the vehicle out with his truck, but that didn’t work. He didn’t give up, however.
Instead, he went home and got his tractor, which certainly solved the problem. Afterward, he even posed for a photo with the grateful men, who undoubtedly felt Shelton was their hero. What a selfless act to take so much time and effort to help strangers in need.
Kate Winslet stayed on Richard Branson’s private island in 2011, and a very rare thing happened. The home caught on fire from a lightning strike. There were about 20 people in the $70 million property at the time, including Winslet’s family and Branson’s family.
Luckily, no one was harmed, partially thanks to Winslet herself. She was crucial in helping Branson’s 90-year-old mother get out of the house quickly and safely. The scene probably felt a little too familiar to the actress, as things like that generally only happen in movies, and she’s been in more than a few.
Professional surfer Kelly Slater saved an Australian woman and her baby boy in Oahu after a 30-foot rogue wave crashed over the road. Sarah White was pushing her son in a stroller when the wave crashed over them, sweeping them rapidly across the highway. Luckily, Slater was nearby checking out the ocean’s surf potential when it happened.
He saw the whole incident and immediately rushed to their rescue. The baby was strapped into the stroller and was found with his ears and mouth full of sand. If it hadn’t been for Slater, both mother and son could have drowned.
Benedict Cumberbatch watched in horror from his Uber as a delivery cyclist was assaulted by four men. However, he didn’t just sit there and do nothing. He jumped out of the car and into the fight to defend the victim, dodging punches all the while.
The Uber driver also got involved by pulling the attackers off the innocent man. Once they realized the odds were more even, the attackers fled the scene. Cumberbatch claims that he did it because he “had to, you know.” However, he could have called the police instead of jumping in. His decision to take immediate action at great personal risk makes him a hero.
Idris Elba was performing at a Manchester theater when a young woman in the audience began to have a seizure. Elba saw what was happening and jumped off the stage to help the woman, who it was later revealed had regular seizures that were ultimately connected to an undiagnosed condition.
The woman came out of her seizure and regained consciousness with Elba there monitoring her. He then helped get her to the ambulance. It takes a certain kind of person — a hero really — to leap off the stage in the middle of a performance to help a random person in need.
Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the hero in a lot of movies, although he might not have imagined that he would have to be one in real life too. That all changed when he was in Hawaii in 2004 and saw a swimmer out in the ocean who looked like he was really struggling.
Without pausing to think, Schwarzenegger dove right in, swam out the 100 meters to the man and helped him safely to shore. It turned out that the man was having major cramps and was unable to swim because of them. Schwarzenegger saved his life.
On a flight from Houston to Los Angeles, a man was trying to open the emergency exit door when actor Michael Rapaport saw him. The flight attendants were at the back of the plane, so Rapaport took it upon himself to pin the man against his seat, preventing him from opening the door.
The man claimed he thought the emergency door was the bathroom. While that certainly seems like a lie, what’s true in this situation is that if he had opened that door, it would have been deadly. Rapaport is undeniably a hero for taking action to stop him.
Social media has more uses than simply being social these days, and Donnie Wahlberg is proof of that. One of Wahlberg’s fans desperately needed a kidney, so he did something truly remarkable to help save her life. He sent out a tweet to his massive Twitter following asking for help to find this fan a kidney donor.
It wasn’t long after Wahlberg’s tweet went out that a suitable kidney donor was found for her transplant. While it may seem like a small act to post on Twitter, in the end, he probably saved her life.
Mila Kunis helped save a man’s life after he collapsed in her home from a seizure. He was working in Kunis’ home when it happened. The seizure was so intense that the man bit through his entire tongue. When she saw what was happening, she rushed over, turned his head to the side and stayed next to him so he would be safe.
Kunis didn’t leave the man’s side until the paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital. He eventually fully recovered, thanks to Kunis’ care for him during his dangerous seizure.