While many people in the world try to be as generous as possible throughout their lives, it is not something that everybody actually manages. This is compounded by the fact that those with very little in terms of wealth are still charitable but those who are seen to have a great deal of money can be seen to be relatively greedy, spending their money on extravagant and luxury items rather than helping those in need.
Successful actors, the likes of who star in Hollywood blockbusters and huge box office hits, are not only lucky enough to have very healthy finances, but they are also very much in the public eye. That means that they do not just have to use money for good, but that they can also use their public image and influence to affect changes or raise the profile of problems and charities that need publicity.
There are plenty of examples of actors and other celebrities donating to charity or being the face of a good cause, but the ones listed here have gone above and beyond the typical acts of generosity that those with an excess of wealth will carry out. Rather, all of the actors here have been incredibly kind with both their time and money in helping organizations, charities and even individuals.
13. Mila Kunis
In July of2011, Sgt. Scott Moore posted a video on YouTube asking the then 28-year-old actress Mila Kunis, to accompany him to the annual Marine Corps Ball. Moore was serving in Afghanistan at the time he posted the video, and said that he made the request knowing there was very little chance that Kunis would even see it, never mind accept. She did see the video though, and accepted the offer, meaning that the ball that celebrates the founding of the Marine Corps in 1775, was attended by the voice of Meg Griffin and star of movies such as Black Swan and Friends With Benefits. According to Moore, Kunis spent plenty of time talking to him and his fellow marines, as well as their families.
12. Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks is widely considered by many to be one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. He has consistently shown that he is willing to spend time with his fans and be more than generous with his money. In the past few years alone, the Forrest Gump and Castaway star has donated large amounts to various charities and has helped keep the Rosslyn Chapel running after it featured in the Da Vinci Code. More recently, he also took time out while in a pizzeria to take a number of staged photographs with a fan pretending he was drunk and in 2014, he gave a cabbie a very generous tip before inviting him and his wife to a Broadway show, inviting him backstage and hanging out with the cabbie.
11. George Takei
George Takei is most famous for his role as Sulu in Star Trek. Taking part in such a famous television series with such a dedicated fan following, puts the actor in high demand for fan conventions and panels. He will often spend far more time than other attendees, staying behind to sign autographs and talk to fans. One prime example came when he turned up 2 hours early for a press conference so he could meet a child who was too sick to attend at the later time.
In addition, the actor has been noted for his activism for LGBT rights, where he regularly takes up roles in highlighting charities that can help those who have been abused because of their sexual orientation. The 77-year-old has also been presented with various awards for the time he has dedicated to battling to uphold human rights and for helping to improve Japanese-American relations.
10. Johnny Depp
Much like many celebrities and well-off public figures, Johnny Depp has never shied away from making charitable contributions. In 2008, he made a £1 million donation to Great Ormond Street Hospital, a year after they had saved the life of his daughter. To say thanks to the staff at the hospital, he took them all out to see a show before returning to the hospital a few days later in his Captain Jack Sparrow guise to spend time with the children and read them stories. Because the children enjoyed the experience so much, Depp now travels with the costume and regularly shows up at children’s hospitals in full attire.
9. Zach Galifianakis
Before Zach Galifianakis hit it big in the entertainment business as both a stand-up comedian and actor, he was a frequent visitor to a local laundrette in Santa Monica. An older woman worked at the laundrette folding the clothes for tips, with her and Galifianakis striking up a friendship. Many years later, The Hangover star learned that the woman, named Mimi Haist, was now homeless and was now having to live in the laundrette. Galifianakis realized that the 87-year-old had no family to help her get back on her feet, so he found her a small apartment to which he paid the rent and utility bills. Not only that, but he also took Mimi to a number of movie premieres, including for The Hangover: Part II.
8. Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe is invariably known for his work in the Harry Potter series of films, where he portrayed the title character over a ten-year period. However, unlike many other child stars who can often go off the rails, Radcliffe has remained very grounded after his success and has dedicated much of his time to aiding charities and fighting for human rights. He has donated large sums of money, as well as volunteering time for public announcements to organizations such as the Lupus Foundation of America, Book Aid International and The Trevor Project. He considers his work discouraging homophobia and promoting equal rights some of the most important things he has ever done.
7. Steve Buscemi
Before he got his movie debut in the 1985 film The Way It Is, Steve Buscemi worked as a firefighter in New York City for a total of four years. He was stationed with Engine Company No. 55 before moving full-time into acting. However, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks that took place in New York, Buscemi volunteered for his old fire station and worked 12 hour shifts every day for a week, in order to help with recovery efforts and search for missing firefighters. He has also since protested against the closing of fire stations in the New York area in 2003 and 2011, joining those who believed that the closures would put lives at risk.
6. Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Downey Jr. has had somewhat of a controversial life, most due to his drug addictions that have led to arrests and long stays in rehabilitation facilities. After cleaning up in 2003, the actor has remained clean of drugs, got married and has since spent a significant portion of his time being a really nice guy. Some prominent examples include a special screening of Iron Man 3, for children who volunteered to help in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in which Downey surprised those in attendance by appearing, or by inviting a group of kids and their parents round to his house to watch a screening of Captain America 2.
5. Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise has something of a bad reputation amongst many people because of the Scientology views he holds, his sometimes erratic public behavior and a variety of conspiracy theories that have abounded about him. Despite all of this though, Cruise has been known to be very generous with both his time and money. For example, the actor will regularly spend hours with fans after premieres and conventions, signing autographs and chatting. He has also been known for being something of a hero, especially after helping a woman involved in a hit and run incident, in 1996. Not only did Cruise take the victim to the hospital, but he also paid for her hospital bills after discovering she did not have insurance.
4. Matt Damon
While Matt Damon is most famous for his roles in films such as Good Will Hunting and the Bourne trilogy, he has also been very generous with his time and energy in other less glamorous work. Over the past 20 years, the actor has dedicated much of his efforts to a large number of charitable organizations that operate around the world. These include the H2O Africa Foundation (that went on to become Water.org) that aims to provide clean drinking water to those in Africa who have none, the Not On Our Watch organization that fights to prevent atrocities and the One Campaign that combats AIDS in Third Wold nations. Other work includes being an ambassador for the Feeding America charity and the ONEXONE foundation.
3. George Clooney
George Clooney has a reputation in Hollywood and around the world for being an incredibly generous person. Whether it’s his donations to various causes, such as with the 2007 writers’ strike and the ONE Campaign, or with singular acts of kindness that he has been known to make, such as giving various shelters and homeless people monetary aid. He has also contributed to a large number of charitable organizations, including Realizing the Dream, Not On Our Watch and Oxfam. The movie star was even arrested for a peaceful protest outside of the Sudanese embassy, after contributing to the ENOUGH Project. Other acts of generosity include picking up the bill for those sitting next to his table in restaurants if he thinks his company was to lively.
2. Jami Gertz
According to the non-profit organization The Giving Back Fund, Jami Gerts and her husband were the most generous celebrities in 2012, after donating more than $10 million to various charities and causes including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Cedar Sinai Medical Center. However, Gertz also runs her own foundation along with her partner, known as the Ressler-Gertz Foundation. The foundation aims to provide assistance to those who need financial help to further their education and also offers scholarships and donations to organizations that promote education.
1. Keanu Reeves
Keanu Reeves was considered by many to be the archetypal surfer guy early in his career, but he has shown, over the last 20 years, that he is fact very intelligent and well-read, as well as being incredibly generous. He has supported numerous charities, including PETA and the SickKids Foundation, and after his sister was diagnosed with leukemia, he set up a cancer foundation, all without his name attached. He has also shown on several occasions that he is relatively uninterested in accumulating wealth by being willing to take pay cuts of up to 90% to ensure other actors and directors can be brought on board to movies.
Most spectacularly though, Reeves has also shown extraordinary kindness to those who have worked on his movies. The biggest example of this came when the star gave $75 million of his pay for working on The Matrix sequels to the special effects and makeup teams and by handing out a Harley Davidson motorcycle to every stuntman who worked on the films.
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