There are many different kinds of heroes, both famous and not famous. Some celebrities fit that description simply by donating a portion of their vast fortunes to charities. Sandra Bullock, for instance, donated $1 million to the Red Cross after the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and Angelina Jolie donated the same impressive sum to the U.N. Afghan relief fund.
Then there are the other types of celebrity heroes; the men and women who happen upon dangerous situations, but instead of running away, they run towards it to see if they can help. The following ten superstars have all acted bravely under stressful circumstances, and they’re all heroes in our book!
1. Rapper T.I. talks suicidal man off a ledge
While on his way to a recording studio in Atlanta, GA, rapper T.I. heard a news report about a man standing on a 22-story downtown building, threatening to jump to his death. After contacting a radio station that was located within the building, T.I. recorded a video for the man, saying, “Nothing is that bad. Nothing in life is worth taking your life. I’m here to help you. Please come down to talk to me.”
After police showed the man the video, he agreed to step away from the ledge and went inside to have a brief conversation with the rap star. The man was then taken into protective custody and treated at a local hospital for his severe depression.
2. Harrison Ford rescues sick hiker
Harrison Ford has a home in Wyoming, and like a good citizen, he sometimes offers the use of his private helicopter for rescue missions to save his town the $1,000 fee for an airlift. Recently, two young women were hiking on Table Mountain when one of them fell ill and could not make it down the mountain on her own. Her friend called for help on a cell phone, and they were able to move the injured hiker to a nearby meadow to await rescue.
Imagine their surprise when the helicopter landed and they got on board to find that the pilot was non-other than Hollywood superstar Harrison Ford! Wearing a cowboy hat and a simple tee shirt, Ford flew the sick woman to safety… and didn’t even complain when she threw up in his helicopter. What a guy!
3. Ryan Gosling breaks up a street fight
While walking along a New York City street, actor Ryan Gosling spotted a disagreement between a street vendor and another man. Without saying a word, Gosling stepped in and broke up the fight, using his intimidating muscles as incentive to stop the men from becoming physical. Gosling then gave the vendor $20 to end the dispute over the $10 painting, and then he carried on with his business as if nothing had happened.
Thankfully for us Gosling-lovers, a couple of excited fans captured the whole thing on their cell phone camera:
4. Tom Cruise helps woman who was hit by car
Tom Cruise gets a lot of bad press, but he has also done several heroic acts that don’t get a lot of media attention. In 1996, for instance, Cruise witnessed a woman get hit by a car (which then sped off without stopping) in Los Angeles. Cruise called for help and stayed with the woman until the ambulance arrived. He then followed the ambulance to the hospital, and when he found out that she wasn’t insured, he paid for the whole $7,000 hospital bill himself.
Cruise is also credited in 1996 with saving two young boys from being crushed against a fence by crowds of fans and paparazzi at one of his premiers, and for sending help to a sinking ship while vacationing with then-wife Nicole Kidman. Sounds like a busy year!
5. Kate Winslet rescues elderly woman from burning home
Actress Kate Winslet was staying at British billionaire Richard Branson’s multi-million dollar Virgin Island estate in Summer 2011 when the home was struck by lightning. After Kate made sure that her children were safely outside the house, she went back in and scooped up Branson’s 90 year-old mother, Eve, in her arms, carrying her out of the house to safety. The entire estate then burned to the ground.
Branson, who says he woke up and fled into the night buck-naked, describes how Winslet said, “It was like being on a film set where you’re waiting for the words ‘cut’ but they just don’t come.”
6. Nomar Garciaparra rescues women from harbor
In 2005, Boston Red Sox player Nomar Garciaparra rescued two women who had fallen into Boston Harbor. Garciaparra and his uncle had been in his harbor-side condominium when he heard a scream and a splash. They ran outside just in time to see a second woman fall in, hitting her head on the pier as she fell.
Garciaparra and his uncle jumped into the water (reportedly from the 20 foot high balcony!) and pulled the women to shore. One woman was unconscious at the time, but the other was apparently alert enough to recognize her rescuer, asking, “Are you Nomar?!”
7. Garth Brooks saves two kids from fire
Two young brothers, ages 10 and 14, were home alone on school vacation when they heard someone pounding on their door. When they opened it, there was country music star Garth Brooks and another (unidentified) man, yelling for them to leave the house because a dangerous grass fire was heading their way.
The boys got in Brooks’ truck, and he drove them through thick smoke to safety. The fire burned over 600 acres of land, but firefighters were able to save the boys’ home. The fire was stopped just a few feet from the house.
8. Arnold Schwarzenegger saves struggling swimmer
While vacationing in Hawaii with his family, then-California governor and action hero Arnold Schwarzenegger noticed a man in the water who seemed to be struggling. Schwarzenegger swam out to the man, who told him that he was having cramps and couldn’t swim back to shore. Schwarzenegger then helped the man onto a boogie board and swam him back to shore, then sat with him until he regained his breath and composure.
9. Vin Diesel pulls family from burning car
Vin Diesel was riding his motorcycle through Hollywood, CA, when the car in front of him lost control, rolling several times and bursting into flames. Thinking quickly, Diesel stopped his bike, ran to the burning car, and pulled the two children from the backseat. He then calmly instructed the driver to climb over the back seat and get out of the car. Minutes later, the car was engulfed in flames.
10. Twitter Heroes: Demi Moore, Rihanna, and Donnie Walberg
Sometimes an heroic act can be as simple as calling attention to someone’s needs. That was the case for these three celebrities, all of whom sent tweets that ended up saving lives.
When one of Demi Moore’s many Twitter followers posted about killing herself, Moore responded to ask if she was serious. Just doing so directed enough attention that the authorities were able to locate the girl and get her some help before she could inflict harm upon herself.
When one of Donnie Walberg’s fans tweeted about needing a kidney transplant, he retweeted to get the word out, and a donor was found. Rihanna has helped many children who suffer from cancer by searching for donors for bone marrow transplants.