Charting Hollywood charity from Aug '95 to May '98
Is that Leonardo DiCaprio under that halo? Despite his partying reputation, the cherub-faced heartthrob has of late gone on an altruistic tear. Recently, the Titanic star hosted an L.A. luncheon for nine terminally ill fans. Then, July 30, DiCaprio granted the wish of Sang Lan, the 17-year-old Chinese gymnast who was paralyzed after a vaulting accident at the Goodwill Games, and spent an hour at her hospital bedside in New York. Though it wasn’t exactly Babe Ruth swatting a tater for ailing tyke Johnny Sylvester, the charitable acts place Leo in a long line of celeb angels. Herewith, a recent roster. — Will Lee
— Aug. 22, 1995: Baywatch beefcake David Hasselhoff rescues a 2-year-old from drowning off Malibu after the girl is dragged into the waves by her Labrador. Girl and pup are okay.
— Jan. 3, 1996: TV lifesaver Mark Harmon (St. Elsewhere, Chicago Hope) extracts Colin Specht, 16, from a fiery car. Harmon uses his body to smother the teen’s burning thighs. Specht survives.
— July 4, 1996: Tom Cruise prevents 7-year-old Laurence Sadler from being crushed by a swarm at the London premiere of Mission: Impossible by pulling the boy clear of a confining barricade. Sadler later says, ”Every night I say good night to him when I pass his poster in my room.”
— May 29, 1998: Country singer Chely Wright, 27, saves pining boy David Showalter, 19, by accepting his mailed entreaty to be his date at the Altoona (Pa.) Area HS prom. The couple dance to Wright’s hit ”I Already Do.”