All of us need role models as we grow up and make the difficult decision about identity that shape how are lives progress on a day to day basis. The lucky ones can look up to their parents for an example of how to live a good life, while others who may be just as lucky emulate sports heroes, television and movie actors, or their favorite characters from literature. It can be terribly difficult to lionize a celebrity and then learn that celebrity is actually a massive disappointment in real life. Whether being morally bankrupt in idea or action, a celebrity role model who lets us down has a real, visceral effect on our reality. Bill Cosby for example creates a huge dichotomy in our lives from the father like (maybe grandfather like to you readers) mentor who loves pudding pops and voiced Fat Albert to the alleged despicable rapist we now have learned.
In our times of uncertainty, deciding who we want to be and who we can learn that from, it is so necessary to have role models who are actually deserving of our admiration. There isn’t much more of a heroic act than saving a life, and this list looks at some celebrities who have done just that. These men and women aren’t perfect, but for at least a moment, they have defined perfection as they have come to the aid of someone else, sometimes at their own expense. Whether they saved lives as members of the United States military (double heroes for serving our country in the first place) or just happened upon people in distress (burning houses and cars abound apparently in the lives of celebrities), they have had a major positive impact in lives of at least one family, and therefore in the lives of all families.
14. Arnold Schwarzenegger – Saved Drowning Man
Back when Arnold the barbarian was governor of California, he saved a distressed swimmer while on vacation in Hawaii. While hanging out with his family on the beach, Schwarzenegger noticed a man drowning in the ocean. The man was suffering from severe cramping and could not maintain his crawl stroke back to the beach. Arnold immediately went into action, his years of real body building and fake action sequences kicking in, and swam almost 100 yards to rescue the man and pull him back to shore. This is a definite case of a life saved and shows that even though Arnold was not a very good husband, he can be a great and brave human being.
13. Kate Winslet – Saved Richard Branson’s 90-Year-Old Mom
How do you pay back a friend for letting you crash at his house? How about you rescue his mom from a burning inferno? Once upon a time, actress Kate Winslet was staying in the massive island mansion of her friend Richard Branson, the Virgin Group founder. The mansion caught fire, forcing an evacuation of all the guests including Winslet and her kids. However, Branson’s 90-year-old mom was too frail and slow to escape. Winslet pitched in and reentered the home, leading the old matriarch to safety. Winslet’s heroic action not only saved Branson’s mom, but impressed Branson’s nephew so much he grew close to Winslet and is her current husband.
12. Bam Bam Bigelow – Saved Children From Burning Building
Scott, Bam Bam, Bigelow was one of the most memorable wrestlers from the 198o’s and 1990’s. His giant frame and fiery tattoo on his bald head broadcast that the man was dangerous and tough, but his agility and speed in the ring really cemented Bigelow’s place as a major contender in the WWE, ECW, and WCW.
In real life, Bigelow struggled with drug abuse issues that contributed to his untimely death in 2007. But before that, he proved himself a real life hero when he rescued three children from a burning building. Bigelow severely burned almost half of his body, which enforces how selfless of an act it was. Hopefully the “Beast from the East” has found some peace in death, and we should always remember Bigelow as a great wrestler and hero.
11. T.I. – Stopped Man From Committing Suicide
Rapper T.I. fulfilled his “good human certification” in 2010 when he stopped a man in Atlanta, Georgia from committing suicide. T.I. (whose real name is Clifford Harris) was doing his own thing when he heard about a suicidal man about to jump off a building. Harris contacted the police and offered to help. He surprised the jumper by acting as a celebrity counselor and convinced him to come down from his ledge. The man survived, the police were grateful for the rapper’s help, and Harris proved himself to be an altruistic hero. Whether he continued his path as a hero or turned into a villain when he introduced Iggy Azalea to the United States can be left up to the reader.
10. Jaime Foxx – Pulled Driver Out Of Burning Car
How great is Jaime Foxx? He was so funny on In Living Color back in the day, and then transitioned to a serious actor with ease. He can sing, he can be dramatic, and he can be a hero when the situation calls for it.
Two months ago, Foxx witnessed a terrible car accident in front of his home. The driver of a pickup, possibly drunk, wound up off road and rolling the truck over and over until it came to a deadly stop in front of Foxx’s mansion. The pickup burst into flame, and Foxx was first on scene to pull the man out of the hellish blaze. Within minutes the entire truck was consumed, but the driver was safe, with moderate but survivable injuries only. The photo of Foxx hugging the driver’s dad that the actor posted to Instagram really demonstrates how people are at their absolute best when they help each other.
9. Dustin Hoffman – Helped Jogger Suffering A Heart Attack
Dustin Hoffman is a great actor, winning a couple Oscars and numerous other awards for his work in cinema. He is also a good person and once helped a jogger who was having a heart attack. Hoffman was walking through the park, Hyde Park in London specifically, probably trying to maintain a low key position, when he noticed a jogger collapsing onto the sidewalk. After checking that the man was in serious duress, Hoffman called the paramedics and waited with the jogger until an ambulance arrived. The jogger was saved, and Hoffman was awesome to help a stranger in need. It’s rare that anybody would help a stranger in a park, much less someone who is trying to not draw a crowd of fans at all times.
8. Dara Daivari – Fought Off Dangerous Man On Train
Pro Wrestler Dara Daivari isn’t very well known, although he had some memorable runs in WWE and TNA before appearing recently on the greatest wrestling program on television: Lucha Underground.
Currently wrestling as the evil DelAvar Daivari, Dara actually is a pretty tough and helpful guy in real life. Daivari was minding his own business on a commuter train, when a drunk passenger began threatening to kill other passengers. Whether the man was actually a danger or just posturing is luckily something we won’t have to know. Daivari subdued the man and removed him from the train before he could hurt anybody on board. His fast thinking kept everyone on the train safe and possibly saved a life.
7. Steve McQueen – Saved Soldiers In The Arctic
Steve McQueen was one of the United States’ greatest action heroes in films from the 1960’s and 1970’s. Men idolized his cool demeanor, and his dashing good looks made the women swoon. Known for movies mostly involving driving stunts, McQueen had it all, until his life was tragically cut short by a particularly nasty fight against cancer.
However, before becoming a Hollywood hero, he was one in real life, serving with the Unites States Marine corp. In the late 1940s, he was serving on a ship in the Arctic ocean when a terrible tragedy occurred. The ship, upon hitting solid ground, nearly capsized, spilling a number of soldiers, supplies, and tanks into the freezing ocean. McQueen dove into the icy waters and rescued five fellow soldiers from drowning. Cool demeanor? Try arctic demeanor. Having a career where he pretended to save people when he had actually done it for real must have been surreal.
6. Vin Diesel – Helped Evacuate Family From Burning Car
Vin Diesel‘s name is mostly synonymous with action roles, which makes it no surprise that he would be equipped to be an action hero in real life as well. Back in 2002, Diesel saw a car accident and ran to help. As the car burst into flame, Diesel helped the entire family evacuate from the vehicle, carrying two small children in his own massive arms. The entire family survived before the car was engulfed in the inferno. It is this kind of heroism that allows audiences to understand that sometimes our heroes can be literal as well as fictional role models.
5. Chris Masters – Saved His Mom From Burning House
“The Masterpiece” Chris Masters worked as a professional wrestler with WWE for several years, in which he was, in my opinion, underutilized in forgettable story lines. Masters, whose real name is Chris Mordetzky, also helped rescue someone from a burning building, but his story is pretty amazing as well heroic. Mordetzky’ mother’s house caught on fire, and Mordetzky arrived at the same time as the firemen. The problem was the firemen could not get egress into the house, leaving Mordetzky to helplessly watch as his mother burned to death. To save her, Mordetzky pulled a tree out of the ground with his bare hands and used the tree to break open a window that was blocked. His mother was saved by the firemen thanks to Mordetzky’s tremendous feat of strength and bravery.
4. Patrick Dempsey – Used Crowbar To Get Teen Out Of Car Wreck
I used to watch the movie Can’t Buy Me Love all the time, where Patrick Dempsey plays the lovable nerd who cheats his way into popularity and wins his way into the popular girl’s heart. It’s nice to know that in real life Dempsey has done some real good for people. For example, when he rescued a teenager from a car accident. Dempsey witnessed a brutal car crash in front of his home and ran to scene. Using a crowbar, Dempsey pried open the car door and helped the teen from the wreckage. He then contacted the paramedics who quickly got the boy to a hospital. I wonder if Dempsey’s training for scenes on Grey’s Anatomy helped prepare him for this real life medical trauma.
3. Tom Cruise – Three Separate Incidents
Despite all the bad press he gets for his Scientology stuff, Tom Cruise is actually a pretty heroic dude. In 1996, he saved two kids from being crushed by a mob of Cruise obsessed fans who were getting too worked up for their own safety, rescued five people from a burning boat in the Mediterranean sea, and helped a young woman closer to home when she was run over by a motorist. Heloisa Vinhas was walking to the bus when a car raced up onto the sidewalk and struck her. The driver escaped, but Cruise saw the accident and, made like a good samaritan, took care of the injured woman until medics could arrive on the scene. Cruise then followed the medics and Ms. Vinhas to the hospital to make sure she was okay. On top of all that, he paid for her medical bills! That’s got to be enough goodwill to allow us to forget about Vanilla Sky right?
2. John F. Kennedy – Saved Soldiers During His Time In The Navy
Before becoming President of the United States, John Kennedy was already somewhat of a celebrity and rightly so. While working with the Unites States Navy he saved the lives of ten of his men, cast into the ocean when their ship, PT-109, was destroyed by a Japanese destroyer. Kennedy gathered his men together in the burning wreckage and led them in a group swim to an island three miles away. One of Kennedy’s men had been badly injured in the wreck, severely burned in the attack, as had Kennedy himself, whose lower back had been comprised. Despite his own pain, Kennedy swam his injured colleague the entire three miles pulling him through the ocean with his teeth! Kennedy’s men all survived the ordeal thanks to Kennedy’s bravery and heroism. Looking at the current batch of politicians, and evil business men (I don’t want to exclude Donald Trump here), running this country now, it’s easy to get pretty depressed. What happened to heroes like John F. Kennedy? We could use more of them.
1. Harrison Ford – Aids Search And Rescue Missions
Iconic actor Harrison Ford loves flying both airplanes and helicopters. He has had a passion for aviation for most of his life, and he leads the Young Eagles, an organization dedicated to sharing this love for flying with children. As a responsible and heroic man, Ford often helps search and rescue missions in Wyoming, where he does most of his flying, and other states if he happens to be airborne.
As such, he has rescued several hikers from certain death, appearing out of the sky like an angel to save hopelessly lost vacationers from the daunting wilderness of the Western United States. Not only is Ford a great hero for doing his part to help United States search and rescue operations, I believe his presence on scene would actually elevate the experience of near death. Being stranded, lost, scared, starving, and dehydrated are terrible, but I think if Han Solo picked me up in a helicopter the entire ordeal would be totally worth it.