Celebrity action heroes
WE professional media types can recognize trends from as far as three football fields away.
The one we've just spotted involves celebrities riding to the rescue of persons far less famous than themselves.
In the latest example, Oscar-nominated actor John Malkovich, in Toronto to appear in a play, recently saved a U.S. tourist after the elderly man tripped on a curb downtown, slashing his throat on a piece of scaffolding.
Finding Ohio native Jim Walpole, 77, lying in a pool of blood, Malkovich heroically applied pressure to the man's neck, keeping him alive until the ambulance arrived.
Speaking of heroes, in a brand-new memoir, one of the British Army's first openly gay soldiers reveals Prince Harry saved him from being beaten by homophobic members of a rival regiment during training in Alberta in 2008.
In a just-released excerpt, Lance Corporal James Wharton says six soldiers threatened to beat him up, but the flame-haired prince, Wharton's tank commander, confronted the troops and, in the strongest possible terms, told them to back off.
These are just two names on a growing list of celebrities who have become action heroes in real life. Here are five more who got going when the going got tough:
Forget jumping on Oprah's couch, Tom Cruise leaped into action in 1996 when he saw a woman struck by a hit-and-run driver and not only stayed until the ambulance arrived, but followed her to the hospital and, learning she wasn't insured, paid the $7,000 hospital bill himself. Later that year, the superstar was hailed for saving two young boys from being crushed against a fence by crowds of fans and paparazzi at one of his premieres. In 1998, according to the Chicago Tribune, Cruise ran to rescue a neighbour, who was being robbed of $153,000 worth of jewelry while stepping out of her sports car in London. "Tom was brilliant," cooed Rita Simmonds. "He rushed down the road with his bodyguards and chased the attackers away."
Famous for driving fast and saving lives on the silver screen, actor Vin Diesel combined the two in real life in 2002. The famously bald actor was riding his motorcycle down a Hollywood freeway when a car in front of him got in an accident, rolled and burst into flames. According to news reports, the star of XXX and Fast and Furious screeched to a halt, ran to the car, pulled several children out of the back seat before it was engulfed in flames.
In 2012, Canadian heartthrob Patrick Dempsey got a taste of what his TV character, Dr. Derek Shepherd, goes through on Grey's Anatomy. Weston Masset, 17, lost control of his Mustang, which flipped and rolled three times near Dempsey's Malibu, Calif., home, leaving the teenager trapped and barely conscious. Armed with a crowbar and a fire extinguisher, Dempsey pulled the boy to safety.
Gazing up at Dempsey, the dazed kid chirped: "Are you famous?"
Quipped "McDreamy": "Yeah, I'm a doctor."
Legendary Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra made a lot of saves with his glove, but he really stepped up to the plate in 2005. Garciaparra and his uncle were in his Boston Harbor condo when they heard a scream and a splash. The all-star shortstop ran outside to help the woman, just as her friend fell in and struck her head on the pier. "I swam towards them and by the time I reached them, Nomar was already there holding the girls up," his uncle, Victor, told reporters. When the unconscious woman came to, the first thing she said was: "Are you Nomar?"
Our favourite rescue involves two plucky women who were on a five-hour climb of a mountain in Idaho in 2000 when one of them, Sarah George, 20, was overcome by heat, altitude and dehydration. Her friend used a cellphone to call for help and then moved her ill companion to a nearby meadow.
When the emergency helicopter arrived and George was placed on board, she discovered the pilot -- "He was wearing a T-shirt and a cowboy hat" -- was none other than Harrison Ford, star of blockbuster films and the owner of his own Bell 407 chopper.
With about a minute to go before landing at hospital in Jackson, Wy., George lost her cookies in an emergency medical technician's hat.
"I can't believe I barfed in Harrison Ford's helicopter!" she later told The Associated Press.
And if that doesn't deserve to be on a T-shirt, we don't know what does!