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RESCUE ME

IN TIMES OF NEED, THESE CELEBS SAVED THE DAY

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Beginning last New Year’s Eve, when Kevin Costner valiantly snuffed out a fearsome blaze that threatened his California home, celebrities started taking a more hands-on approach to good deeds. Just look at this year’s stellar saviors.

TOM CRUISE: It seems there wasn’t a rescue mission the actor didn’t accept. Whether it was accompanying a 23-year-old uninsured hit-and-run victim to the UCLA Medical Center and footing her $7,000 ER bill or saving two young boys from being crushed by fans at Mission: Impossible’s July 4 London premiere, the newly minted action star was never off duty. Even vacationing with wife Nicole Kidman on a yacht off Capri a month later, Cruise stayed vigilant, sending a skiff to pluck five people from a life raft just moments before the burning sailboat they’d abandoned sank.

MARK HARMON: In a harbinger of his role to come, the soon-to-be Chicago Hope star pulled a 16-year-old boy from a Jeep that crashed and ignitednear the actor’s Brentwood, Calif., home last January. Using a sledgehammer to extricate the boy, Harmon threw his own body on top of him to put out the flames engulfing the teen’s legs.

JOHN GRISHAM: On Jan. 24, the lawyer-turned- best-selling author put his legal skills back on trial in a Brookhaven, Miss., courthouse, when he made good on his promise to see through a wrongful- death suit he took on before quitting the law. Filed by the widow of a railroad brakeman who was crushed between two cars in 1991, the case took the jury two hours to decide. The verdict: $683,500 in damages for the widow; Grisham, who earns more than $8 million per script, refused to take a penny.

TONYA HARDING: Acting against type, the former ice queen gave mouth-to-mouth last October to an 81-year-old woman who had collapsed in a Portland, Ore., bar where Harding was playing video poker. Harding, who also called 911, claimed in press reports that she’d brought the diabetic woman back from the dead, a miracle she has yet to work on her own career.