Steve Buscemi is an actor who needs little introduction. The Boardwalk Empire star is one of the greatest character actors of his generation, playing everyone from misfit, weirdos, and oddballs, to psychopathic gangsters.
However, Buscemi's professional life, distinguished as it is, pales in comparison to his off-screen story. Indeed, while acting is a celebrated profession, Buscemi use to be a fireman from 1980-1984, argubally one of the most respected jobs you can have, which is what makes his story on 9/11 even more commendable.
Despite already earning millions on the fatal day two planes crashed into the Twin Towers, the former fireman returned to his old fire station ready for work. But his gesture wasn't for the cameras- far from it. Over the next week, he put in 12-hour shifts, assisting his former colleagues in their search for the many bodies that were presumed dead. When journalists cottoned onto his gesture, he refused to acknowledge them.
Buscemi's four-year stint as a firefighter saw him work at the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) in Little Italy. After his acting career took off, he remained in touch with some of his colleagues. Tragically, many firefighters also lost their lives in their quest to help others.
Eventually, the celebrated thespian started opening up about that heroic period in his life. "It was a privilege to be able to do it.
"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.
"It wasn't until I stopped that I really felt the full impact of what had happened. It would have been much harder for me to get through it if I hadn't been able to do that."
A proud former firefighter, Buscemi has since made an HBO documentary in the leadup to the 17th anniversary of the attacks to encourage others to join the FDNY.
What a man.