Our encounters with celebrities are typically limited to watching them perform in concert, act in a blockbuster movie, or walk the red carpet. And while we know there’s a lot that goes into their public appearances—and that they’re only human like the rest of us—there’s something undoubtedly special about them.
Every once in awhile, their actions transcend the big screen. Just take these 20 celebrities who risked their lives in order to help others, proving once and for all that you don’t have to be in front of a camera to be a hero. They might not win Oscars for their actions, but they definitely made a serious impact on the world around them!
1. Kate Winslet: Clearly all that time working on Titanic taught Kate Winslet a thing or two about how to stay cool in a crisis. When a bolt of lightning hit the summer home of tycoon Sir Richard Branson, it went up in flames. Winslet, who happened to be staying there as a guest, carried Branson’s 90-year-old mother to safety.
2. Sean Penn: Celebrities are known for quickly supporting a cause of the moment and then moving on when the cameras leave, but not Sean Penn. When hurricanes devastated the island of Haiti in 2017, he led a relief mission and continues to work tirelessly to help the people of that country to this day.
3. Kelly Slater: Professional surfer Kelly Slater happened to be in the right place in the right time. He was surfing off Kamehameha Highway in Oahu when he spotted a mother and child get pulled out by the current. He managed to swim out and bring them both back unharmed!
4. Rihanna: Some celebrities use Twitter to only promote their latest projects, but not so for this singer. Every so often, Rihanna will jump on the social media platform and help out, particularly children in need of bone marrow transplants.
5. Tom Cruise: In 1997, this superstar happened to witness a hit-and-run. He tried to catch the perpetrator and when that failed, he covered the entire hospital bill for the victim. Talk about going above and beyond the call of duty!
6. Simon Cowell: Mr. Mean actually saved a singer’s life. When Jacqui Grey was auditioning for X-Factor, he said to her: “Something happens to your throat when you sing. It is quite raspy… like you were choking on something.” Grey went to a doctor and found out she had lung disease!
7. Clint Eastwood: Dirty Harry himself was enjoying a nice dinner at a PGA event when he heard another guest choking. He jumped up, performed the Heimlich maneuver, and saved the man’s life. Can you imagine Clint Eastwood trying to save you? You’d be too scared to risk giving up!
8. John Oates: When John Oates of Hall and Oates fame was eating at a restaurant, a man in a mask carrying a shotgun entered and tried to rob the place. Oates pushed him through a glass door and detained him until the authorities arrived!
9. Garth Brooks: This country star was visiting his family in Oklahoma when a deadly grass fire broke out. The fire started to spread quickly, but Brooks didn’t panic. He calmly and quickly evacuated his family as well as some of his neighbors.
10. Jennifer Lawrence: This actress might be known for her pratfalls and goofy sense of humor, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t heroic. When she spotted a woman passed out in front of her house, she called 9-1-1 and stayed with the woman until help arrived.
11. Dustin Hoffman: Hoffman was in London to work on a film, and while he was walking through Hyde Park, he watched as a jogger staggered and then fell to the ground. He rushed to the man’s side and called the paramedics; thanks to his quick-thinking, the man survived.
12. Ryan Gosling: When Gosling spotted two men going at it in the streets of New York City, he refused to be just another observer. Instead, he actually jumped into the fray, pulling the two men apart and ending things amicably.
13. Mila Kunis: This actress had no idea that, when she hired a man to work on her home, he was going to suffer a dangerous seizure. She didn’t panic. Instead, she called for help and stayed with the 54-year-old until she knew he would be okay.
14. Mark Harmon: When there was a terrible car crash just outside of his home, Mark Harmon rushed outside. He used a sledgehammer to break open the windows of the car and pull out the two teenage boys inside before they were engulfed by flames.
15. Ryan Kwaten: He might have played a total ditz on the show True Blood, but Ryan Kwaten is no slouch. When he spotted a man bleeding on the street in Hollywood, he assisted by moving him to the side of the road and finding medical attention.
16. Luke Wilson: This actor was involved in a massive five-car-pile-up on a freeway in Los Angeles once. He escaped unscathed and helped others at the scene remove an injured woman from her crushed car just moments before it burst into flames.
17. T.I.: This rapper hasn’t just saved one life—he’s saved two! According to Creed frontman Scott Stapp, T.I. took care of him when he nearly overdosed on drugs. He saved the day yet again when he recorded a message for a man threatening to jump off a building. The message convinced him not to jump—and the man stepped back.
18. Prince Harry: This royal isn’t just a pretty face! During a polo match, a man’s horse collided with another player, causing him to fall from his mount and black out. The prince, well-trained during his time in the army, jumped down and tended to the man until he was well enough to leave the pitch.
19. Harrison Ford: This rough-and-tumble actor doesn’t just play heroes; he is one. This professional licensed pilot participated in two searches for missing children. Both times, Ford was the man who found the kids from up in his airplane.
20. Demi Moore’s Twitter feed: This star must get countless of messages on Twitter each day, but when one follower tweeted at her that they were feeling suicidal, her other followers flooded authorities with calls. They were able to intervene and get the woman all the help that she needed.
You might think of celebrities as being just faces on a big screen, but these stories prove that they are no different from everyday people who are willing to risk it all to save their neighbors!
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