We all know him as one of the heroic astronauts in Armageddon, but did you know Steve Buscemi is also a hero in real life?
Yes, before Buscemi starred in films like Con Air, Fargo, and Reservoir Dogs, he was actually a firefighter in his youth. He took the FDNY civil service test when he was 18, and served in downtown Manhattan in the 1980s.
And even after leaving the FDNY for Hollywood, he still did related advocacy work, as well as hosted an HBO documentary called A Good Job: Stories of the FDNY.
In the wake of the September 11 terror attacks, Buscemi went back to his former firehouse and volunteered. He worked 12-hour shifts alongside other servicemen, searching for survivors trapped in the World Trade Center rubble.
“It was a privilege to be able to do it,” he later said of his efforts. “It was great to connect with the firehouse I used to work with and with some of the guys I worked alongside.
“And it was enormously helpful for me because while I was working, I didn’t really think about it as much, feel it as much.”
In 2013, the Brotherhood of Fire Facebook page shared the actor’s story of selflessness and bravery.
“Do you recognise this man? Do you know his name? Lots of people know he’s an actor, and that his name is Steve Buscemi. What very few people realise is that he was once one of New York’s Bravest.
“In 1976 Steve Buscemi took the FDNY civil service test when he was just 18 years old. In 1980 Steve Buscemi became a New York City Firefighters. For four years, Buscemi served on one of FDNY’s busiest, Engine Co. 55 in Manhattan’s Little Italy. He later left the fire service to become a successful actor, writer and director.
“After 9/11/2001… Brother Buscemi returned to FDNY Engine 55.
“On September 12, 2001 and for several days following Brother Steve worked 12-hour shifts alongside other firefighters digging and sifting through the rubble from the World Trade Center looking for survivors.
“Very few photographs and no interviews exist because he declined them. He wasn’t there for the publicity.”
343 firefighters died during the 9/11 attacks, giving their lives saving others. Today, Buscemi still serves on the Board of Advisors for Friends of Firefighters, an organisation dedicated to NYC firemen and their families.