Captain Save-A-Civilian: Celebs Who Turned Into Real-Life Heroes

April 2, 2013  |  
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Playing a character who rushes in to save the day on the big screen is one thing, but these 15 celebrities became real-life heroes by leaping forward to save the lives of ordinary people.

Rapper T.I. has been on a mission to rehabilitate his image since  he was released from prison after those gun possession charges, and having “hero” on his resume certainly helps. While on his way to an Atlanta radio station for an interview, the reality show star heard a news report about someone at a 22-story building ready to jump. T.I. recorded a video of himself pleading with the man to come and talk to him. The police played the video to the distressed man who agreed to come down and T.I. and the unidentified man shared a brief conversation before the cops took him to the hospital to be treated for depression.

Taye Diggs played a doctor on ABC’s “Private Practice,” but he turned into an NFL defensive end when he tackled a home intruder. After returning home from this year’s Screen Actors Guild Award Ceremony in January, Diggs was startled to find a burglar already in his house but he quickly sprang into action. Diggs chased the guy, tackled him in the streets and held him down while his wife, actress Idina Manzel, called 911. He was able to detain the suspect until police arrived and wasn’t injured at all during the scuffle.

Mega superstar Tom Cruise isn’t too big to get his hands dirty when it comes to helping someone else. Back in 1996, the Mission Impossible star witnessed a woman struck by a hit and run driver in Los Angeles. The future action hero was by her side in an instant. Cruise called 911 and stayed with the woman until paramedics arrived. Not ready to take off his super hero cape just yet, Cruise followed the ambulance to the hospital and even took care of the woman’s hospital bills (totaling $7,000) when he found out she had no medical coverage.

Actress Zoe Saldana came to the aid of an elderly woman who had just gotten involved in a car crash. Saldana, driving in a separate car, witnessed the accident herself and immediately pulled over and rushed to help. The Columbiana star was able to assist the woman out of the car and away from the crash before calling 911 for help. Saldana stayed with the woman until she received medical attention from the paramedics.

While on the set of his upcoming apocalypse film World War Z, Brad Pitt donned a superhero cape by saving a woman’s life. Pitt was in the middle of shooting a scene where a crowd of people marched in the streets when one of the extras fell and was in danger of being trampled for real. Pitt jumped down and scooped the extremely lucky woman up a la Kevin Costner style in The Bodyguard and carried her off to safety. “He didn’t have time to speak to her as it was mid-shoot. But she said afterwards how grateful she was, despite having a badly-grazed knee,” said an eyewitness.

Vin Diesel was out and about enjoying a cruise on his motorcycle when the car in front of him lost control. The vehicle rolled over several times before bursting into flames. Diesel stopped his motorcycle immediately and ran over to the burning car. The Fast & Furious star pulled two children out of the backseat before helping the driver climb over the seats evacuate through the back as well. A few minutes later, the car became fully engulfed into flames.

Arnold Schwarzenegger became famous by playing action heroes in numerous blockbuster movies. And the former governor of California turned into a real-life hero by saving a man from drowning in 2004. While on vacation in Hawaii with his family, Schwarzenegger came to the aid of a swimmer who couldn’t make it back to land on his own. The Terminator star pulled the man on his boogie board about 100 yards to shore.

Dustin Hoffman was across the pond in London when he came across a jogger in distress. Twenty-seven-year-old Sam Dempster was winding down his four-mile trek through Hyde Park in Kensington, West London, when he suddenly went into cardiac arrest. Hoffman saw Demspter collapse and he rushed right over to him. The Oscar winner called paramedics and told them Demspter was frothing at the mouth. When he came to at the hospital, the young lawyer learned the identity of his hero. ‘When my friends told me Dustin Hoffman had saved my life, I thought it was a joke and they were trying to cheer me up,” said Dempster. “Now I know it’s true, it still feels surreal. He is my new favorite actor.”

Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr. was sitting in his car outside of Roscoe’s House of Chicken ‘n’ Waffles waiting for his dinner order one day in Hollywood back in 2007 when he heard four gunshots. Gooding rushed to the aid of one of the victims who was bleeding from his neck. The Jerry McGuire star applied pressure to the wound and waited with the victim until help arrived. According to reports, the victim made a full recovery. Sadly, Gooding never got his dinner order.

Former WWE wrestler Chris Masters is one proud mama’s boy. Masters, nicknamed “The Masterpiece,” got a call from a neighbor who warned him of trouble brewing at his mother’s house. Masters arrived at his mother’s to find out someone barricaded her inside and set the place on fire. He summoned up superhuman strength and ripped a tree out of the ground to bust a window out to rescue his mother “I don’t know where it came out from, the ground or what, but all at once the tree came back and he was holding his mom,” said the neighbor.

Actor Harrison Ford does it all, including rescue damsels in distress. While spending time at his Wyoming home, the Indiana Jones star was piloting his own helicopter when he got a call over the radio that two women were out for a hike when one of them fell ill and couldn’t continue any longer. Imagine their surprise when they saw the pilot behind the wheel was none other than Ford, who flew them back to safety. Ever the gentleman, Ford didn’t even look twice when the woman threw up in his helicopter.

Would-be burglars could save themselves a lot of pain and trouble if they stayed away from LL Cool J’s home. A 56-year-old man thought to be homeless found out the hard way not to mess with the rapper turned actor when he broke into his home last August. The “NCIS” star sprang into action by confronting the unidentified. During the altercation he suffered a broken nose and jaw and had to be hospitalized. LL Cool J, who held the suspect down until police arrived, walked away without a scratch. “My understanding is he just had him in custody with his physical strength,” Los Angeles police Sgt. Frank Preciado said during a press conference about the incident.

Actress Kate Winslet could’ve easily starred in the 1991 film Backdraft. While on vacation at Richard Branson’s multi-million dollar estate on his private island in the summer of 2011, a bolt of lightning struck the home causing a fire. Once she evacuated her three children, Winslet noticed Branson’s 90-year-old mother was still inside. She rushed in and carried the billionaire’s mother out in her arms. The estate ended up burning down to the ground. “It was like being on a film set where you’re waiting for the words ‘cut’ but they just don’t come,” Winslet said describing the harrowing experience.

Patrick Dempsey has millions of women swoon over him each week as Dr. McDreamy, and one lucky resident had a front row seat to watch the “doctor” in action. After hearing a crash outside of his Malibu home, Dempsey ran outside to the rescue. Armed with a crowbar and fire extinguisher, he was able to pry 17-year-old Westen Masset out of his smashed up Mustang before he lost consciousness. Dempsey called paramedics and stayed with Masset until help arrived. The Grey’s Anatomy star even called the teen’s mother Mary Beth for an update. “He had a certain authority in his voice,” she said describing the call. “I asked if he was a paramedic and he said, ‘No, this is Patrick Dempsey.’ I thought, ‘McDreamy?’”

In 2008, Johnny Depp was on the set of his Public Enemies movie when disaster nearly struck. Dep and the rest of the film crew were in the middle of shooting a scene when the Pirates of the Caribbean star noticed an out of control stunt car heading right towards a group of six extras. Oblivious to the danger coming at the from behind, the extra were saved by Depp. He literally leapt to his feet by diving in the air and shoving all six of the extras out of the way in one fell swoop.

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