Really Good People
February 1, 2012 7:36 PM   Subscribe

Mr. Rogers, Dolly Parton, Keanu: Who else out there is considered to be genuinely good human being, in addition to being well known?
posted by leotrotsky to Society & Culture (94 answers total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Bruce Springsteen seems to be loved by everyone who has met him.
posted by Toothless Willy at 7:38 PM on February 1, 2012 [8 favorites]

Best answer: Besides being an extremely likeable actor, Harrison Ford has saved people's lives.

Werner Herzog who I've never heard anyone say a bad thing about, saved Joaquin Phoenix from a car accident after seeing the crash because he lived next door.

I'd say that makes both of those guys famous and a good human being. However, if you look hard enough at anyone's life, I'm sure they've done something wrong.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:40 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Albert Pujols
posted by blargerz at 7:40 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Paul Newman was pretty well regarded, from what I understand.

I have the impression that George Clooney seems like a genuinely decent guy as long as you don't date him.
posted by gauche at 7:40 PM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

Oh yeah, and Paul Newman was actually the prototype for actor/awesome person. Racecar driver, humanitarian, etc.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:41 PM on February 1, 2012

Johnny Depp seems to be an honestly good person. Such as visiting a little girl's school.
posted by sbutler at 7:43 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I appreciate Stephen King because his stories always advocate for doing the right thing/sticking up for the little guy. In addition, he lets anyone use his works for non-profit films and projects. That's pretty cool.

Plus he wrote a surprisingly excellent book about writing, and seems great to his fans. He's like an anti-Harlan Ellison.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:47 PM on February 1, 2012 [10 favorites]

Best answer: Pete Seeger
posted by scruss at 7:48 PM on February 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Neil Gaiman does quite a bit of arts-for-charity type stuff, and regularly updates a blog in which he communicates with his fans. He seems pretty cool.
posted by Emms at 7:49 PM on February 1, 2012 [6 favorites]

Hugh Jackman.
posted by Sassyfras at 7:51 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Tom Hanks is a pretty nice guy.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:54 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Billy Bragg.
posted by maudlin at 8:01 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Meryl Streep
posted by Obscure Reference at 8:01 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Tom Hanks is the only famous person I can say I have sufficient personal knowledge of his "good human being" qualities to really testify to that fact. Andy Serkis is also genuinely very nice as far as I can tell (same with Sean Astin,) though a bit of a prankster type. I also hear good things about Jamie Lee Curtis.
posted by SMPA at 8:01 PM on February 1, 2012

Stephen King also played a major part in kicking off off the Wavedancer foundation for audiobook readers and other people in the field who became disabled and unable to work. His introductions to his books that speak to his trusty "Constant Reader" are also wonderful and down to earth. He did have a stint with drug addiction of course so there's that.

Issac Asimov seems to have wit/love/ability to spare and anyone that, as wikipedia says, was an atheist, a humanist, and a rationalist and did not oppose religious conviction in others, but he frequently railed against superstitious and pseudoscientific beliefs that tried to pass themselves off as genuine science. is likely A.O.K in my book. Hugely popular and given the Humanist of the Year award, he's a man I would have loved to have met/heard speak. His wikipedia page speaks volumes.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:01 PM on February 1, 2012

Ron Howard
posted by cazoo at 8:04 PM on February 1, 2012

I've heard this about Jay-Z
posted by downing street memo at 8:06 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Jamie Oliver - I know several people who have met him in real life, including one friend who gave a talk at TED the year he won the TED Prize - said friend says he is "the real deal" WRT healthy eating activism. Another person says he is the most charming and friendly person she has ever met (this person works in TV).
posted by purlgurly at 8:07 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Stephen Fry
posted by pompomtom at 8:07 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Never heard of anything but love for the late Peter Falk.
posted by Adventurer at 8:08 PM on February 1, 2012

Sorry, but I've heard some really grim stuff about Peter Falk in his private life...
posted by Scram at 8:15 PM on February 1, 2012

Best answer: surely neil degrasse tyson is the messiah in some religion or another
posted by elizardbits at 8:15 PM on February 1, 2012 [14 favorites]

Best answer: John Hodgman.
posted by tristeza at 8:15 PM on February 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: George Takei seems pretty solidly good.
posted by needs more cowbell at 8:22 PM on February 1, 2012 [14 favorites]

zach galifinack5?&xbor. ... the weird fat guy from the hang over movies.
posted by cupcake1337 at 8:22 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Barbara Stanwyck was famously nice and kind to everyone she encountered. Frank Capra said she was "destined to be beloved by all directors, actors, crews and extras. In a Hollywood popularity contest she would win first prize hands down."
posted by apparently at 8:36 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

Lucille Ball helped a lot of people get their start in acting/entertaining. Old school, I know.

Conan O'Brien has a good reputation.
posted by annsunny at 8:36 PM on February 1, 2012

A friend of mine who worked at a coffee shop in LA says that Vin Diesel is very nice, and a good tipper. Drew Berrymore, too (also, she is apparently very, very small in real life). She's mentioned some other celebrities, too, but I can't recall. I'll ask her.

I haven't watched any of his movies since, like, Nacho Libre, but I have a huge soft spot in my heart for Jack Black. I work at a health care organization, and one of the events we're involve with is a prom for teens and people in their early 20s with a specific chronic illness that has usually meant they miss a lot of regular school events. Jack Black shows up every year, and doesn't make a big deal of it, and does use it as a photo op, and spends time talking with the folks. Everyone has nice things to say about him.
posted by Ideal Impulse at 8:41 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Philip Glass, I've heard, quietly does all sorts of things to support young musicians, and is an all-around lovely person.
posted by neroli at 9:02 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

Yeah, Stephen King was by all accounts a colossal fuck until he got off cocaine, but he seems to have been sort of balancing out ever since then by being pretty decent and likeable.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:07 PM on February 1, 2012

Phil Hartman
posted by moxiequz at 9:08 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Henry Winkler is universally regarded as a total mensch in Hollywood. He was a regular at a restaurant where my partner worked as a waiter back in his struggling actor days, and he said without fail that Winkler was hands-down the absolute nicest guy among the celebs who ate there. (Fun little side-story: my boyfriend was working at this restaurant shortly after he had appeared in a movie with Jim Carrey. Apparently, Henry Winkler's kids had recognized him from the movie and were really excited, but apparently too shy to say anything. So Winkler approached my boyfriend and said, "I know you're busy, but if you have a chance my kids would love to get your autograph." Of course, my boyfriend was just as excited as the kids to do so. Afterwards, Winkler took him aside and thanked him again, and said "not only did you make their day, you made me hero around the house for awhile. They're not so impressed with me, but you they like.")

Not so famous in the U.S., but very well-regarded in Britain as a lovely, generous, upstanding guy: Midge Ure, of Ultravox/Band Aid/Live Aid fame.
posted by scody at 9:09 PM on February 1, 2012 [23 favorites]

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just had a profile today on where several people remark that he's a great guy. You could say the same about many top-level athletes -- Drew Brees, Blake Griffin, etc.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:18 PM on February 1, 2012

Best answer: Everything I've heard is that Michael Palin is a thoroughly nice man.

It seems to me that a good measuring stick for celebs is to see how long they've been married to their current spouse (if they have been married; not everyone does that). Palin has been married to the same woman since 1966.

Winkler married his wife in 1978. Ron Howard married his high school sweetheart in 1975. Paul Newman and Joanna Woodward got married in 1958. People with really long marriages seem to be good folks in other ways as well.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:25 PM on February 1, 2012 [14 favorites]

Bruce Springsteen was already mentioned, but not only is he loved for being so personable, friendly, and respectful to people, he is also an enormous charitable donor in the county where he lives and I grew up in, particularly for anti-hunger causes. He's also been really generous about playing for benefits for disease research and the like, and he donates to campaigns of politicians who represent his values. He's definitely more than just a nice guy.
posted by Miko at 9:27 PM on February 1, 2012

Audrey Hepburn, obviously.

Henry Rollins. Not only is he one of the nicest, most thoughtful and intelligent people you'll ever have the pleasure of talking to, he fucking walks the walk.
posted by LuckySeven~ at 9:31 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh, and Jimmy Stewart is often held up as a salt of the earth kind of guy. I remember seeing him read the poem about his old dog on the Johnny Carson show as a teenager, and it broke me up for weeks. I still choke up thinking about it!
posted by Miko at 9:33 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Peter S. Beagle
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:50 PM on February 1, 2012

Best answer: I'm sure people will disagree with me, but Yoko Ono. Back in the early 80's in NYC, right before Christmas, a little girl was run over by a hit and run driver, and it was a big story in the news for a while. Then days later, while the family was at the hospital with her, thieves broke into their apartment and stole all the christmas presents. This also became a big news story, and lots of people donated toys and money to the family so they could have a christmas. It happened that a coworker of mine was a friend of the family, and she was handling the donations and writing thank you notes for them. She told us that Yoko Ono had sent a check for $1000.00, and had insisted that they didn't tell any about it.

Considering how much bad press Yoko Ono has gotten over the years, she could have used this as a way to get some good publicity. But she didn't. She donated because she wanted to help the family, not because she wanted publicity. I've always thought very highly of her since then.
posted by MexicanYenta at 9:54 PM on February 1, 2012 [9 favorites]

Best answer: I would have to say Bill Gates. It's quite a big deal when the once-richest man in the world commits to giving away 99% of his wealth before he dies and whose aid budget exceeds that of many countries. He definitely walks the walk.
posted by fearnothing at 10:24 PM on February 1, 2012 [19 favorites]

Pat Rafter; donated half of his prizemoney from his two US Open wins to charity and was got the ATP Sportsmanship Award 4 times.
posted by N-stoff at 10:24 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Patrick Rafter also became a resident of tax haven Bermuda to avoid paying his fair share of Australian income tax, despite the amount of money that the Australian Institute of Sport and Tennis Australia invested in his career so, you know, YMMV.
posted by smoke at 10:32 PM on February 1, 2012

Danny Trejo is widely accepted to be the nicest, scariest looking man that you'll ever fall in love with after meeting him once.
posted by sarastro at 10:40 PM on February 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Tim Gunn! I met him when he was in Chicago for his book tour and he really is as charming and delightful as he is on TV.

I've also heard this about Lady Gaga.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:59 PM on February 1, 2012 [7 favorites]

I used to be friends with an Australian 60 minutes reporter before he died on the job. :-(

. He said that of all the people (outrageously famous and political figures-not impressed with Madonna!) he had ever interviewed...the two loveliest of all time's an odd combo...Christie Brinkley and Imran Khan.

He didn't interview them at the same time, by the way
posted by taff at 11:15 PM on February 1, 2012

Matt Damon does some good charity work that isn't a huge egoboo trip. I've met him a few times (at functions, we're not buds) and he is always super pleasant.

J.K. Rowling is beloved by book tour escorts, as is romance superstar Nora Roberts. Both writers have done a lot of charity support.

Yo Yo Ma is a super nice guy, and really supportive of younger musicians.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:17 PM on February 1, 2012

She's a weirdo, but I'm going to say Angelina Jolie. She has done a lot of excellent work, with and without Brad Pitt.

Also, Stephen Colbert. He is so genuinely caring and has deep, deep beliefs about the welfare of our weakest citizens.
posted by elizeh at 11:19 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I was reading about Patsy Cline yesterday, link followed link off of that Dolly Parton thread, here is an excerpt from the Wikiedia page on Patsy Cline:
... believing that there was "room enough for everybody", and confident of her abilities and appeal, Cline befriended and encouraged a number of women just starting out in the country music field at that time, including Loretta Lynn, Dottie West, Jan Howard, sixteen-year-old Brenda Lee and a thirteen year old steel-guitar player named Barbara Mandrell with whom Cline once toured, all of whom cite her as a major influence today.

According to both Lynn and West, Cline always gave of herself to friends to such a degree as buying them groceries and furniture when they were having difficulty making ends meet and even taking them on the road with her as wardrobe assistants or some such. On occasion, she would even pay a singer's rent for a time, enabling them to stay in Nashville and continue pursuing their dreams of a career.

And Willie Nelson is supposed to be a great guy, a real giver, a soft touch for someone down on their luck, whether he knew them or not; you need a new wheelchair for your daughter, be outside the bus when he got there, that sort of thing.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:39 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Alan Alda comes to mind.
posted by painquale at 1:04 AM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Dave Grohl is known as the Nicest Guy in Rock and Roll.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 3:02 AM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry, but I'm gonna have to dispute Issac Asimov being on this list: he was pretty well known in the SF community to be free with both his hands and sexist commentary --- and I'd say it's hard to be a 'genuninely good person' if you consistantly treat 50% of humanity as nothing more than sex toys.
posted by easily confused at 3:05 AM on February 2, 2012 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Jeff Daniels is just a good dude. He has a stellar rep where I grew up and he's there enough that being a jerk would be well-discussed by now. Madonna's short foray into the area did not leave people with a similar level of like.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 4:02 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bonnie Hunt is the first person that sprang to mind for me.
posted by dgeiser13 at 4:13 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Danny Trejo is widely accepted to be the nicest, scariest looking man that you'll ever fall in love with after meeting him once.

Isn't that basically how Machete got made? Everyone in Hollywood likes Danny Trejo so they were able to get a lot of big names in the cast without paying a lot of money for them.
posted by atrazine at 4:25 AM on February 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

Much as I loathe football and footballers, someone I know worked in a major bookshop and says David Beckham was by far the nicest person they had for a signing.

Also, I met Johnny Ball when I was a child and he was unbelievably nice, supportive and genuinely interested in my vague childish aspirations.

I'm not sure I can accept Stephen Fry being on this list, due to his support for foxhunting, being a convicted credit card fraudster, not to mention shilling for both Apple and Rupert Murdoch.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 4:27 AM on February 2, 2012

Best answer: I always heard that John Ritter was the sweetest guy in Hollywood. I've heard similar things about Steve Carell.
posted by amarynth at 4:57 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've always considered Douglas Adams to be one of the good guys, though I don't really know that much about him.
posted by rjs at 5:04 AM on February 2, 2012

Best answer: I've never heard anyone say anything bad about Nathan Fillion, particularly past coworkers. The crews of his shows particularly seem to just LOVE him, which says a lot.

Arthur Ashe also seems to have been a genuinely admirable man.
posted by lemniskate at 5:18 AM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Yo Yo Ma, for sure. As a child, my father was a music school director, and his school invited Yo Yo Ma to play a concert (this was in the Greater Boston area, so - Yo Yo Ma's home turf). Not only did Yo Yo play the concert, but he stayed afterward to talk to the music school's kids. I was only 6 at the time, and had been playing the violin for just over a year. I had absolutely no idea who Yo Yo Ma was in any larger sense; I just knew I liked his cello playing. I went over and asked if I could try out his cello, and he ACTUALLY SAID YES. He sat me on a chair and let me play a few notes. It was only 10 years later that I realized that the "nice cello man" was Yo Yo Ma and that that cello was a Stradivarius.

My father directed other music schools and presented many other concerts after that, and he has hosted Yo Yo several times. One of the jobs of the concert presenter for is to make sure the musicians are comfortable, have everything in their contract, get to the hall on time, and are taken to their hotel afterwards. This meant that my dad (with me tagging along, when I was old enough to be out that late) was driving Yo Yo around before and after his concerts and seeing to his needs, and he says that Yo Yo was hands down the nicest, friendliest and most joyful person he's ever hosted. Not just a good guy, but kind of glowingly warm.

Hilary Hahn and Midori were also really friendly and warm when I met them. Actually, my dad presented a concert by Midori when I was 11. I wasn't able to come to the concert because I was in my OWN concert (youth orchestra). I was SUPER bummed out about this because Midori was one of my heroes (I had a poster of her in my room). Somehow she found out about this - probably by asking my dad about his kids - and invited me to her dress rehearsal. I got to sit in the HUGE hall all alone and listen; it was amazing. And then, after the concert, she sent one of the roses from her bouquet home to me. I still have it.

When I met Hilary Hahn - another hero to me, because her recording of the Bach sonatas and partitas was the first recording I ever owned - she had the same sneakers as me and told me we were "shoe twins".

As a young violinist, these interactions were incredibly encouraging to me - and kind of thrilling.
posted by Cygnet at 5:48 AM on February 2, 2012 [28 favorites]

Best answer: A friend of mine is a former radio engineer/producer in Indianapolis and spent lots of time with Peyton Manning, both "on the job" and socially. According to my friend, Peyton is just a really, really nice guy. He'll do anything for any legitimate charity, he'll spend hours talking to kids, and he's the kind of guy who asks about you and your interests rather than talk about himself the whole time.
posted by cooker girl at 6:08 AM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

Jarome Igninla is known for being a really good guy, and donates $2000 to charity for every goal he scores (which is a lot).
posted by biscotti at 6:12 AM on February 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

He's passed away, but noone ever has anything but glowing things to say about Bob Moog.
posted by ifjuly at 6:30 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I don't now how famous he really is, but C. Fred Turner from Bachmann Turner Overdrive was very kind to me once. I was on my way home from basic training and he sat next to me on the plane. We were stuck in the plane for an extra two hours because they over fueled the jet. Consequently I missed my connecting flight. On top of that I didn't have any cash and hadn't eaten that day. When we landing in Minneapolis he took the time to get me into the Northwest club lounge, had the guy at the counter help me reschedule my flight, and got me some chow. He certainly didn't have to take the time to do any of that.
posted by Silvertree at 6:43 AM on February 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Yo Yo Ma is a super nice guy

I forget what awards show this was for but some time ago there was a young tv personality out on the red carpet trying to catch celebs and do pre-show banter but not having much luck with it. At this point he has settled for trying to chat with anyone going inside. Here comes Yo Yo Ma, dressed casually, carrying his cello in a hard case over his shoulder. The interviewer sees him and calls out "Hey, you with the guitar, guitar guy!" and strikes up a conversation assuming "guitar guy" is some random musician working the orchestra pit or something. Yo Yo Ma totally goes along with it and never lets on who he is. Great stuff.
posted by mikepop at 6:43 AM on February 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

I've heard the Jeff Bridges is a stellar human being.
posted by ThaBombShelterSmith at 7:21 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: He's pretty old school but I know that Richard Chamberlain is an great guy.

More years ago than I like to admit he was in Australia working on a film. I was a kid of 8 or 9 ish and my father was working on the same film and as a treat my Dad had taken me to the set for the day. They were filming in a parking garage under a big office building, I had been around film sets a lot growing up so I knew how to keep out the way and was sitting in a corner watching them set up. An electrician not 10 metres or so from me started to wire in the lighting into the main power and something went wrong and he started to get electrocuted, by so much power he was literally melting in front of me.

Everyone ran to help him, my father was trained in all sorts of first aid so he was too busy helping the guy to see to his freaking out daughter when a very nice soft spoken American gentleman came up and took my hand and lead me from the building and took me for a walk around Sydney. Very softly and kindly telling me that the man would be OK, and being very reassuring and quietly walking me away from the chaos. Because of him and his reassurance to some random kid, of some not very important member of the crew I never had a nightmare or bad freak outs from seeing what I saw, I understood it as a terrible accident. So Richard Chamberlain, though maybe not a HUGE Hollywood star is my nomination for nice person in RL.

Also side note luckily due to good on the spot first aid and fast ambulances the electrician lived, though was badly scarred.
posted by wwax at 7:45 AM on February 2, 2012 [9 favorites]

Best answer: From personal experience as well as hearing about friend's experiences, Johnny Knoxville is a great guy. Very down to earth, very humble (which I found hysterical, given his Jackass claim-to-fame) and a genuinely nice guy.
Nthing that I've also heard numerous great things about Vin Diesel and Johnny Depp.
posted by PeppahCat at 8:05 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Perhaps he is not well-known enough to qualify, but Canadian children's entertainer Fred Penner is a pretty menschy mensch. When my wife Leanne was very young, she and her family were in a pretty serious car accident and she was hospitalized for a time. Her father contacted Fred Penner and asked if he could visit her to raise her spirits, which he did.

Twenty-some years later, my wife noticed Penner just hanging out somewhere and went up to him to thank him, and he remembered her name and everything. Menschy mensch.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:29 AM on February 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

Bun B has a reputation for being The Nicest Guy in Hip Hop. He definitely gives good interview; I wonder if Young American can comment.
posted by 2or3whiskeysodas at 8:36 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: As I've mentioned before, Alton Brown really is as awesome in real life as he seems on TV.
posted by workerant at 8:43 AM on February 2, 2012

Best answer: Oh, I was talking to my mother last night, which reminded me that fellow Irishman Richard Harris overheard their Irish accents in Heathrow, and helped my mother and grandmother navigate with our luggage and my stroller up an escalator. Now, every time the first Harry Potter movie comes on, I get a kick out of thinking that Dumbledore pushed my stroller.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:51 AM on February 2, 2012 [9 favorites]

I've heard good things about Goldie Hahn.
posted by Clambone at 9:44 AM on February 2, 2012

Do we really know anyone through the media?

Fair caveat, but many of the characterizations in this thread aren't coming through the media.
posted by Miko at 9:45 AM on February 2, 2012 [4 favorites]

I can't believe Roger Ebert hasn't been mentioned yet.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 10:00 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

I had the good fortune to be disillusioned by personal Hero/Idol at a fairly early age. I've never gotten in close proximity to a famous person without learning something unpleasant about them, but if they're creating something I genuinely like, it doesn't make me admire their work any less. And it has become clear to me that NOT being a Good Person actually makes it easier to accomplish Good Things. (But then, NOT being a Good Person does make you less likely to WANT to accomplish Good Things; Great Things, maybe, but they're not the Same Things.) It's complicated, but having Heroes and Idols only makes it seem easier.
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:56 AM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Someone mentioned Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett is doing the same (giving away all his money). Buffett is advocating heavily for higher taxes on the rich. He still lives in a modest house that he bought decades ago.
posted by I am the Walrus at 11:03 AM on February 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Samuel Beckett drove Andre the Giant to school because he was too big to fit in the school bus. it is not much in the grander scheme of things, but I really love the story.
posted by spindle at 11:46 AM on February 2, 2012 [5 favorites]

Yo Yo Ma's kid went my summer camp when my brother was there. Not only did he play at chapel with the much-loved music director, I remember walking by a hall where he was listening with total attention and enjoyment to some kid play the cello.
posted by shothotbot at 11:51 AM on February 2, 2012

Tony Hawk
posted by perhapses at 12:45 PM on February 2, 2012

Best answer: On the above-ground side, I have met Dolly Parton and Michael Palin at different times in my life, and you can feel it in your bones how kind these folks are. A fictionalized, Python-ized account about the uproar over The Life of Brian upon its release was on BBC4(?) last autumn, and it was no mistake that Michael was chosen as the moral center of the film.

And among those who are no longer among us, one of my good friends used to live in the same NYC West Side pied-à-terre as Fred Rogers back in the 90s, and he reports that Mr. Rogers was exactly as you see on the tin, apparently; kind-hearted, fully attentive, and remembered things about you when he saw you again, and that Mrs. Rogers was the same. I always thought Madeline Kahn to be have been one of those people as well. I was a PA on a TV show she was in, and everyone adored her, from the exec. prods. on down. She was kind to all the staff and crew and had no airs at all.
posted by droplet at 12:48 PM on February 2, 2012 [3 favorites]

I've read good things about Hugh Laurie.
posted by at 2:50 PM on February 2, 2012

He could be a major a-hole for all I know, but someone I have always thought of as 'good people' is Steve Buscemi. And that was only confirmed when a story leaked that Buscemi (a former firefighter) worked alongside other firefighters to sift through the rubble from the World Trade Center after 9/11. He put on his old gear and got to work. For a week he worked 12-hour shifts, digging through the rubble trying to find the bodies of missing firefighters, all the while refusing to do interviews or have his picture taken.
posted by BeBoth at 2:58 PM on February 2, 2012 [12 favorites]

I know he's corny and Jesus-crazed and all but Tim Tebow seems like the most genuine person on the planet.
posted by jabes at 3:59 PM on February 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everything I've read about Jennifer Aniston says she is very friendly and warm IRL.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:56 PM on February 2, 2012

I have to believe Ellen DeGeneres belongs on this growing list.
posted by AlliKat75 at 6:15 PM on February 2, 2012

seconding Stephen Colbert
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 8:30 PM on February 2, 2012

Best answer: Not sure if you want major-philanthropist-level-type good person, but I just happened to watch the episode of Punk'd with Matthew Perry. I thought the way he reacted under pressure showed character. Pity he has so much trouble with with addiction.
posted by michelle lightning at 12:49 AM on February 3, 2012

"Well-known" might be a bit of a stretch, but John Darnielle of the Mountain Goats is an unbelievably warm, genuine, and compassionate person.
posted by Zozo at 9:12 AM on February 3, 2012

Ron Jeremy has got to be near the top of this list, what a sweet, kind and generous man.

Seconding Ellen DeGeneres.
posted by nenequesadilla at 1:36 PM on February 4, 2012

Another one: Neil Finn, New Zealand's greatest songwriter and adorably devoted family man, is widely lauded (and loved) for his charity work, for salvaging Flying Nun records, and for repeatedly saving the day for Flight of the Conchords.
posted by scody at 3:18 PM on February 6, 2012

Soprano Dawn Upshaw is pretty well known for having the voice of a diva but none of the personal drama that we associate with that word.
posted by bardophile at 11:12 AM on February 7, 2012

One I forgot: Donny Osmond.
posted by SisterHavana at 1:39 PM on February 8, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm late to this thread, but Andrew Garfield of Social Network and Spiderman fame. Listen to the (really extensive) DVD extras for The Social Network and tell me if he isn't like the nicest, most considerate, self-aware and just decent human being to others in the world.
posted by ms.codex at 4:12 PM on February 11, 2012

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