Here is Steve Buscemi in his role as Nucky Thompson in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. He’s a gangster, but his wardrobe is almost cool enough to justify a full pardon.
Buscemi is less than handsome, and he specializes in characters—crooks, crazies and losers—that you wouldn’t introduce to your Mother. But the man himself is a really, really good guy.
At age 22 he became a New York City fireman. Off-time work in amateur theater eventually led him to a career in movies, which led to fame and fortune.
After the terrorism of 9/11, the now-famous Buscemi reported for work at his old firehouse. He took upon himself the horrible and dangerous work of removing bodies from the rubble, working a week of 12-hour shifts. During this time he granted no interviews and allowed no photographs. He was there to work, not to promote himself; and he waited several years before even mentioning the experience.
He could have sipped champagne and watched it all on cable news. But he willingly marched into the smoldering heart of Hell because he believed it was his duty.
Who’d have imagined there’s an actor who’s a jerk onscreen, but a hero in reality?