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11 Times A-List Celebrities Became Real Life Heroes

As if you needed us to tell you this: don't mess with Tom Hardy.

And now for reason number 458,532 not to mess with Tom Hardy, who is apparently just as feral-eyed and shit-your-pants intense in real life as he is on the big screen.

According to UK's The Sun, the Mad Max: Fury Road star recently witnessed two teens in London on a stolen moped as they crashed it into a Mercedes and then fled the scene on foot. Hardy being Tom Hardy, he took off sprinting after them, vaulting over backyard fences until he eventually caught the perpetrators. (If you've seen, I dunno, Bronson, Taboo, or Warrior, which features one of the greatest fight scenes of all time, the image of Tom Hardy chasing you will forever appear in your nightmares.) He later described the scene in the most Tom Hardy-esque way imaginable, declaring: "I caught the c*nt." Hey, at least he kept his clothes on. 

Believe it or not, Tom Hardy isn't the only big-time actor known to break out an act of heroism when the situation calls for it. In fact, many of your favorite A-listers have made headlines in recent years for becoming celebrity heroes when things go south in real-life—from breaking up a drunken brawl to saving a woman from stepping into oncoming traffic. And that's just Ryan Gosling.

Herewith, we've compiled a complete list of celebrity heroes. And if you feel inclined to follow their lead and transform yourself into a full-blown, spandex-clad, evil-busting hero, know that there is a workout for that.

Ryan Gosling

Ryan Gosling celebrities heroes

Ryan Gosling was walking down 6th Avenue in Manhattan and saw a woman stepping off the sidewalk into oncoming traffic. (Turns out she was British, and was looking the wrong way.) He grabbed her by the arm, said, "Hey, watch out!" Since it was His Memeness who saved her, the Internet , of course, melted. The girl, a journalist, even wrote about the experience for the late Gawker, though she tried to play down Gosling's heroics. "I'm sure the girl standing next to me, who confirmed Gosling's identity, would have prevented me from meandering into an early grave [if he wasn't there]," she wrote. Some people just aren't impressed by celebrity heroes!

Steve Buscemi

Celebrities heroes steve buscemi

Steve Buscemi may not be able to pass off as a "fellow kid," but slap a firefighter's uniform on him, and he'll fit right in. Before the man achieved Bill Murray levels of cultural ubiquity, the actor was a New York City firefighter. In the days and weeks after 9/11, he rejoined his unit to volunteer downtown, clearing rubble and searching for survivors. He also returned to the unit in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

Tom Cruise

Celebrities heroes tom cruise

Tom Cruise gets a bad rap for being, well, a little bit on the quirky side. Some would even say crazy. But may we posit evidence that the craziness of one can help the sanity of another? Cruise witnessed a hit-and-run in Los Angeles. He instantly called 911, and then stayed with the woman through the paramedics' arrival, ambulance ride, and hospital visit—and then even paid her entire $7,000 medical bill. Turns out not all missions are impossible.

Hugh Jackman

By playing Wolverine for nearly two decades, Hugh Jackman put in a lot of practice for inevitable IRL heroism. According to a report from Austrailia's 9 News, his son got caught in a riptide—one of the most deadly and dangerous aspects of beachside fun—and Jackman jumped in and swam him back to shore. If that doesn't convince you to emulate the man, you might want to read up on his other life lessons before writing him off.

Vin Diesel

Celebrities heroes vin diesel

Is there anything more fitting than Vin Diesel being tied, no matter how tangentially, to a car crash? While riding his motorcycle through Hollywood, the Fast and Furious star witnessed a car swerve, flip over, and catch fire. He immediately stopped, and pulled two children and their father out of the car before the whole thing erupted in flames.

Jamie Foxx

celebrities heroes jamie foxx
Featureflash Photo Agency/Shutterstock

Outside the celebrity's home, a normal, who's name is apparently Brett Kyle, drove into a drainage ditch flipped his car over. Guess what? It caught fire! Foxx witnessed this, cut Kyle's seatbelt, and dragged the guy to safety. Foxx was clear to point out that this was not a heroic act, telling ET, "I don't look at it as heroic." Frankly, Jamie, you don't get to decide that; this is an act for heroes.

Brad Pitt

Celebrities heroes brad pitt

During the legendarily tumultuous production of World War Z, the story goes, an extra fell down in the middle of a 700-person stampede. Brad Pitt noticed, ran to her, and pulled her out of the stampede. Here's hoping those heroics won't be necessary on the upcoming sequel.


Celebrities heroes Arnold

In 2004, while the Governator was on vacation in Hawaii, he noticed a swimmer in distress. The action-movie star—and, at the time, political official—swam out to meet the man and pulled him, via boogie board, back to shore.

Kate Winslet

Celebrities heroes kate winslet

For whatever reason, trouble strikes whenever celebs are on vacation. Kate Winslet had a rude awakening while staying at Richard Branson's Necker Island home. Around 4:00am, the house caught fire, due to a lightening strike from Tropical Storm Not Quite Cool Enough to Be a Hurricane Irene. Winslet, after seeing her kids got out safely, ran back inside and carried Branson's 90-year-old mother to safety.

Harrison Ford

Celebrities heroes harrison ford

Two girls were climbing the 11,000-foot tall Table Mountain, in Wyoming, when one of them collapsed due to heat and exhaustion. The other hiker called it in, and rescue was sent—in the form of Harrison Ford! The guy literally flew to the mountain to pick up the girls. As it so happens, Harrison Ford frequently volunteers his piloting and rescuing skills to Teton County; saves the county the money it would cost to afford a private pilot. The only tragedy here? He was flying a plane, not the Millennium Falcon. Though in retrospect, that would've been too cocky, kid.

Ryan Gosling, Again

Ryan Gosling celebrities heroes

Ryan Gosling may not be the hero Manhattan deserved, but he apparently is the one we need. While walking down by St. Marks Place—strolls through New York seem to be the guy's favorite pastime—he came across a street fight. Of course, he broke it up. (It's all on camera here, too.) A hero, twice? Where's this man's franchise, Hollywood?

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Ari Notis
Ari is an editor specializing in news and lifestyle. Read more
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