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Actor John Malkovich speaks with media at the King Edward Hotel in Toronto to promote his new role as Casanova in The Giacomo Variations, Thursday, June 6, 2013.GALIT RODAN/The Canadian Press

John Malkovich rarely plays the good guy on the big screen, but he certainly knows how to be the hero in real life.

Best known for his portrayals of complex villains in films like Con Air, In The Line of Fire and Dangerous Liasons, Malkovich is in Toronto to perform as Casanova in the The Giacomo Variations at the Elgin Theatre. He was having a cigarette outside his Toronto hotel last Thursday evening when an alarming accident occurred nearby.

A short distance away, Ohio native Jim Walpole, 77, had slipped on some construction scaffolding and had slashed his neck. The cut looked serious and blood was starting to pool around Walpole on the street.

A retired nurse who witnessed the scene later told CBC News, "The way he was spurting, I thought it was the carotid [artery] or the jugular [vein].

No doubt the same thought flashed through Malkovich's mind. The actor jumped in to help and with assistance from two other passersby, began working to stop Walpole's bleeding.

Using a towel, Malkovich steadily applied pressure to the wound and waited with Walpole until the ambulance arrived.

This past weekend, Malkovich's actions generated a level of good-guy celebrity heat unseen since Canada's own Ryan Gosling saved a woman from being run over by a cab in New York last year.

The incident took three days to make it into the news, in fact, mostly because Walpole had no idea that his savior was an Oscar-nominated actor.

"I asked him, 'What's your name?' He said, 'John.' And I didn't ask the last name 'cause I didn't figure I'd remember it anyhow," Walpole told CBC. Once the medics came, Malkovich faded silently into the night.

Because that's what real heroes do.

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