Business Insider Edition

25 celebrities who are real-life heroes

Talia Lakritz , Business Insider US
 Jun 29, 2019, 01:26 PM

These celebrities don't just play heroes in movies and TV shows - they've intervened during real crises and saved people's lives.

Here are 25 celebrities who have saved the day both on and offscreen.

A fan says Tom Holland rescued her from being crushed by a crowd seeking his autograph.

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Twitter user @NamelessCass said that she was being crushed against a barricade by people seeking Tom Holland's autograph in New York City, her neck pressed into the metal bar, when the star stepped in.

"I'm literally going to throw your s*** on the floor if you keep pushing that girl," he told the crowd. "You're literally crushing her."

When she said she was going to have a panic attack, Holland said "I've got you. I've got you," and asked the people pushing her to back up.

"Boy Meets World" star William Daniels scared a burglar away.

William Daniels, who played Mr. George Feeny on "Boy Meets World," foiled an attempted burglary at his San Fernando Valley home.

When someone tried to force open a back door, Daniels turned on the lights in order to scare the intruder away. The 91-year-old actor and his 89-year-old wife Bonnie Bartlett remained safe and sound.

"Luckily, Mr. Daniels was able to frighten away the person and the LAPD quickly responded," his publicist told ABC7 in a statement. "They are both well. Mr. Daniels thanks all his fans for their concern."

Michael Rapaport stopped a man from opening the emergency door on a flight.

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Netflix

Actor Michael Rapaport was on a flight from Houston to Los Angeles when he saw a man with both hands on the lever of the emergency exit door, trying to open it.

The flight attendants were gathered at the back of the plane, so Rapaport ran to the man and pinned him against a seat. When interviewed by authorities, the man said he thought it was the bathroom door, according to Fox News.

The other passengers dubbed Rapaport a hero.

"Everyone thanked me and everyone did say I was brave and heroic. I consider myself a common man who does uncommon things," he said on the most recent episode of his podcast, "I Am Rapaport." "I'm not gonna confirm or deny this, but they're talking statues."

Benedict Cumberbatch saved a Deliveroo cyclist from four muggers.


"Dr. Strange" and "Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch jumped out of his Uber to help a delivery person that was being assaulted by four men in London, according to The Sun.

The four muggers reportedly punched the Deliveroo worker and hit him over the head with a bottle. Cumberbatch jumped into the fight and dodged punches as he yelled "Leave him alone." The Uber driver also helped pull the attackers off the man, and they eventually fled.

A spokesperson for Deliveroo said "We'd like to thank Benedict Cumberbatch for his heroic actions. On behalf of everyone at Deliveroo: thank you so much."

Cumberbatch confirmed that he had been involved, but maintained that he's no hero.

"I did it out of, well, I had to, you know," he said.

Dr. Mehmet Oz pulled over to help high school students whose bus caught fire.

Jason Kempin/Getty

Fox 5 News reported that a group of students from Northwestern High School in Prince George County, Maryland, were traveling along the New Jersey Turnpike when the wheel of their bus caught fire, setting the whole vehicle ablaze. Dr. Oz posted a video to his Facebook page of him pulling over on the side of the road and speaking to the bus driver, making sure that everyone was okay.

"I'm just so thankful everyone made it out safe and sound," Oz wrote.

John Malkovich stopped a man from bleeding out.

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Jim and Marilyn Walpole were visiting Toronto on a weekend bus tour for seniors when Jim stumbled and fell into scaffolding, slitting his throat. John Malkovich rushed over and pressed his neck wound to stop the copious amount of bleeding.

When paramedics arrived and Walpole asked what his savior's name was, The Toronto Sun reports that he merely said "My name is John and you're going to be alright." Walpole only later figured out that it was the famous actor.

"John Malkovich saved my life," Walpole told The Sun.

Tom Hardy nabbed a runaway thief.

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

The Sun reported in 2017 that Tom Hardy chased after two thieves who stole a moped and crashed it into a car. One of the thieves remained at the scene, but the other fled. Hardy ran after him, dragged him into a bus stop, and patted him down to make sure he didn't have any weapons before handing him over to the police.

""It was mental - like he'd switched to superhero mode in an action movie," a witness told The Sun.

Tom Cruise helped the victim of a hit-and-run.

Getty/Kevin Winter

When aspiring actress Heloisa Vinhas was struck by a car in a hit-and-run in 1996 in Santa Monica, California, Tom Cruise happened to be passing by and swooped in to help. He called 911, waited with her until the paramedics arrived, and when he found out she was uninsured, paid her $7,000 medical bill.

Cruise's spokesperson also told Entertainment Weekly that the "Mission: Impossible" actor followed up with Vinhas after her release "just to check in on how she was doing."

Kate Winslet helped save Richard Branson's mother from a fire.

John Phillips/Getty Images

Lightning struck Richard Branson's $70 million home in the Carribean in 2011, setting it ablaze, according to People. Kate Winslet and her family were staying there along with Branson and his family, totaling 20 people. All escaped the fire unharmed - including Branson's mother, with Winslet's help.

"Many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90-year mum out of the main house to safety," Branson wrote on a now-defunct blog.

Ryan Gosling stopped a woman from walking into oncoming traffic.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Journalist and author Laurie Penny tweeted in 2012 that she "literally, LITERALLY just got saved from a car by Ryan Gosling. Literally. That actually just happened." As a Brit in the US, she forgot to look the right way for oncoming traffic, and Gosling stopped her from getting run over.

The reaction to her tweet was so overwhelming that she responded with an article for Gawker called "Ryan Gosling Saved Me From a Speeding Car But There's War In the Middle East So Everyone Calm Down" where she wrote that Americans "hyperventilate about the most everyday happenings as if they are the most important thing in the world" while failing to pay attention to pressing political and global issues.

John Krasinski saved a woman from drowning in Costa Rica.

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

John Krasinski spent a few months teaching English in Costa Rica after high school. On a visit to Manuel Antonio beach, a woman got swept out by a riptide, and Krasinski told Playboy that he saved her life.

"In that moment, I didn't ask anyone," he told the magazine. "There was no one to help me. I just went out and tried to save her. And then of course when I got out there, I was in a crosscurrent with her. It was one of those moments of 'Oh my God, you just made a poor choice and it might cost you your life.' ... But I got her back. When I got within 20 yards or so of the shore, some surfers came out. Granted, not everybody needs to have life-or-death experiences, but that changed my entire life. All of a sudden I grew up."

Harrison Ford volunteers as a search and rescue pilot, and has saved quite a few people that way.

Getty Images

Harrison Ford is a licensed pilot and has helped stranded hikers on several occasions with his personal helicopter. He located and rescued 13-year-old Boy Scout Cody Clawson after he became separated from his troop in Yellowstone National Park, and saved two hikers who suffered from altitude sickness at the top of Table Mountain in Wyoming.

He's also a Good Samaritan on the ground. When a woman lost control of her car and drove off the side of the road on California's State Route 126, Ford pulled over, helped her out of the car, and waited with her until the paramedics arrived.

Jennifer Lawrence helped a woman who passed out on her front lawn.

Jeff Spicer/Jeff Spicer/Getty Images

When a young woman collapsed on the lawn outside Jennifer Lawrence's apartment building, the actress stayed with her until paramedics arrived, according to the LA Times.

"When the EMT arrived, she stayed to make sure everything was okay," said an X17 photographer who witnessed the scene. "She was really scared for the girl."

The woman's state appeared to be alcohol-related, and she was treated and taken home by a friend.

Jamie Foxx pulled a man out of a burning car.


Jamie Foxx was driving through Moorpark, California, when Brett Kyle veered off the road into a ditch, causing his car to roll over several times. According to ABC News, the car then caught fire while Kyle was still inside.

Foxx, along with an off-duty EMT, cut him out of his seat belt and removed him from the seat. Firefighters who arrived shortly afterwards said that the car was completely engulfed in flames. Kyle went to the hospital for burns and head, neck, chest, and waist trauma, but survived the crash.

"I'm not a hero, but had to do something," he told ABC News.

Steve Buscemi volunteered with firefighters in the aftermath of September 11.

Cantor Fitzgerald/Getty Images

Actor Steve Buscemi worked as a firefighter in New York City from 1980 to 1984, Salon reported. And according to the Facebook page Brotherhood of Fire, Buscemi took up the job again after September 11.

In the aftermath of the attack, he returned to the firehouse where he'd worked in Little Italy and spent several days helping search through the rubble for survivors.

"It was a privilege to be able to do it," he said, according to a post on the Facebook page. "It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside."

Zoe Saldana helped a woman who was injured in a car accident.

Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Disney

According to People, Zoe Saldana came to the aid an elderly woman who was injured in a car accident by helping her out of the car and calling 911. The actress then stayed with the woman until the paramedics arrived.

"While waiting for help to arrive, Zoe returned to the woman's car and picked up the woman's handbag and sweater," an onlooker told People. "Zoe was very caring and sweet to the woman."

Gerard Butler saved a boy from drowning.

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images

Back in 1997, Gerard Butler was having a picnic at Taymouth Castle in Scotland when he heard a boy screaming for help, The Herald reported. He ran to the riverbank and found a 14-year-old boy struggling in the water. He jumped in and pulled him to safety.

''I wouldn't call myself a hero. I just acted instinctively," Butler told The Herald. "When I brought him out he was lifeless. I'm just glad he's all right now."

Patrick Dempsey pulled a teenager out of a wrecked car.

Clemens Bilan/Getty Images

According to People, the first words Weston Masset said after his car crashed and he saw someone pulling him out of the wreckage were "Are you famous?"

It was Patrick Dempsey who replied "Yeah, I'm a doctor."

Dempsey, who is known for his role as Dr. Derek Shepherd on "Grey's Anatomy," used a crow bar to open the doors of the car and extract Masset from the crash. He also called the boy's mother. Masset walked away with a concussion and an eye injury.

T.I. talked a suicidal man down from the ledge.

A man was threatening to jump from a 22-story office building. Police were trying to talk him down. Then rapper T.I. stepped in, according to CNN.

He offered to meet with the man and talk to him, and the man accepted. After a brief conversation, he was taken to a local hospital for a psychological evaluation.

"T.I. just happened to be in the right place at the right time," Atlanta Police spokesperson James Polite told the outlet.

Amy Winehouse saved a woman from drowning.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images for NARAS

OK! reported in 2009 that Amy Winehouse saved a woman from drowning while she was in St. Lucia.

Louise Williams was enjoying a sailing lesson when she was thrown from the boat and hit a rock. Williams said Winehouse ran over from the beach and prevented her from being swept away by the tide.

"I was bowled over by her kindness," Williams said. "She went out of her way to help me … It shows there's another side to her."

Prince Harry used his army training to help an injured polo player.

As a veteran of Afghanistan and a captain in the British army, Prince Harry knows how to handle an emergency. When fellow polo player Bash Kazin fell off his horse and hit his head so hard he passed out, the royal rolled him onto his side into the recovery position to help him breathe properly. He regained consciousness and was able to finish the match. Later, he was taken to the hospital where he was given the all-clear.

"Prince Harry was the first one off his horse, doing the right thing, turning me over to make sure I regained consciousness," Kazin told The Washington Post.

Clint Eastwood saved a choking man using the Heimlich maneuver.

Getty Images / Riccardo S. Savi

Clint Eastwood was at a golf tournament in California in 2014 when the event's CEO Steve John began choking on a piece of cheese, The Carmel Pine Cone reports.

Eastwood, who was 83 at the time, performed the Heimlich maneuver, lifting John into the air three times before expelling the food from his throat.

"Clint saved my life," John told The Carmel Pine Cone.

Blake Shelton helped a group of people who got stuck in a mud hole in Oklahoma.

Bryar Blanton and three friends were riding along the Washita River in Oklahoma in 2015 when two members of their group got stuck in a mud hole, according to Entertainment Tonight. The other two went to look for help and encountered country singer and "The Voice" judge Blake Shelton driving along in his truck.

When he couldn't pull them out with his truck, he went home and came back with his tractor, which did the job.

Blanton tweeted his thanks to Shelton, who replied "No problem.. Now you boys stay outta jail!!! Ha!!!"

Demi Moore reached out to a Twitter user who was suicidal.

Getty Images / Jason Kempin

In 2009, a woman posted her intent to commit suicide on Twitter. Moore decided to respond.

"Hope you are joking," she replied, reposting the message and alerting police.

Twitter users who saw the exchange called the San Jose Police Department, who tracked the post to a 48-year-old woman. She was unharmed but in need of help, Sergeant Ronnie Lopez told CNN.

Mark Harmon rescued two teenage boys from a burning car.

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

In 1996, Mark Harmon broke the window of a burning car to rescue two teenage boys after a crash in Los Angeles.

Seventeen years later in 2013, Colin Specht, one of the boys who he saved, spoke to CBS New York about his gratitude for Harmon's bravery.

"There's no way I can repay him, except for pay it forward, and I try to do that in my life," Specht said.

Receive a single WhatsApp every morning with all our latest news: click here.

Also from Business Insider South Africa:

  • Indicators
  • JSE Indexes

Get the best of our site delivered to your inbox every day.

Sign Up