Well-known actors aren’t always the self-righteous, fame-hungry elitists that the paparazzi make them out to be. In many cases, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Over the years, actors known for being grade-A, silver-screen badasses have gone out of their way to raise awareness and build support for charitable causes and foundations. Some have even gone as far as to set up their own.
In the interest of commending such efforts, here are three actors who’ve kicked their fair share of ass in the charity department:
1) Leonardo DiCaprio
When he’s not busy demonstrating his venerable acting chops in hardboiled blockbusters like Gangs of New York or The Departed, DiCaprio occupies his time as a philanthropist. And much like his onscreen performances, he really knows how to commit to the role.
Proving he’s got what it takes to make a difference, he set up the aptly named Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which aims to “secure a sustainable future for our planet.” His foundation participates with several other charitable organizations and “places particular emphasis on the issues of global warming, alternative and renewable energy sources, and the preservation of the planet’s amazing biodiversity.”
DiCaprio even partnered with the World Wildlife Foundation in 2010 for their Save Tigers Now campaign, which is still an ongoing endeavor.
Check out the PSA:
2) Matt Damon
Even Jason Bourne himself – a chief exporter of duty-free badassery – has a compassionate side. Off the screen, the only fisticuffs this guy throws down are the ones directed at the problems facing underdeveloped parts of the world.
Problems like unsanitary drinking water.
As it turns out, Damon is quite the altruist. In 2009, he co-founded Water.org, a project that seeks to “foster high quality, sustainable, community-level water supply projects” in areas where the current drinking water supplies are unclean or inadequate. Working with local communities in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Ghana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Kenya, and Uganda, the project members are well underway in directing global attention to the problem and implementing solutions:
3) Michael J. Fox
He might not have been a traditional big-screen “badass” when he was in his acting prime, but Fox managed to become a household name nonetheless, due in no small part to his memorable roles in films like Back to the Future, Teen Wolf, and the criminally underappreciated The Frighteners – not to mention his seminal roles on TV shows like Family Ties and Spin City.
Fox is now largely known for his strong advocacy of Parkinson’s disease research. He was diagnosed with the disease in 1991, and since the late 90s, he’s been integral in accelerating public awareness of the condition.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation was set up in 2000 with an achievable goal in mind: to find “a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressively funded research agenda and to [ensure] the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today.”
Sure, these guys have taken names and kicked some major you-know-what at the box-office, but their real heroism is on display in their real lives. Want to know what it really means to be a badass? Take some notes on the above.
Are these guys the real deal? Who are some other actors or actresses whose charities make a difference?