The Heartwarming Story Behind Zach Galifianakis’ Friendship With a Homeless Woman

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It’s a story that will restore your faith in humanity. The Hangover star Zach Galifianakis formed an unlikely but beautiful friendship with a homeless woman named Marie “Mimi” Haist back in the 1990s when he was just an aspiring actor trying to make it big in Hollywood. What transpired between them is a testament to basic human decency and kindness.

Mimi hadn’t always been homeless. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, had been married with two kids. But a bitter divorce after her husband’s infidelity left her out on the streets at age 50, sleeping in her van until it got towed away. With nowhere to go, a kind janitor took pity on Mimi one cold, rainy night and let her sleep in a local laundromat.

Image Credit:  Queen Mimi / Facebook

The owner allowed Mimi to stay, and for 20 years she made that laundromat her home – sleeping on a plastic lawn chair amongst the washers and dryers. She got by helping patrons with their laundry for tips. It was there that the struggling actor Zach Galifianakis met Mimi when she assisted him with his clothes.

Upon learning of Mimi’s living situation, Zach did something extraordinarily kind and selfless. Despite not being a successful actor yet himself, he got Mimi out of the laundromat and into her own comfortable apartment – paying her rent entirely out of his own pocket for 27 years.

Credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Zach didn’t seek any publicity for this generosity. In fact, he tried to keep it under wraps as much as possible. But the story came to light in the 2015 documentary “Queen Mimi” by filmmaker Yaniv Rokah, who had befriended Mimi while working at a coffee shop across from the laundromat.

In the film, we learn that even after getting her own place, Mimi still visited “her” laundromat daily to help patrons and keep busy. People didn’t realize this joyful, spirited woman doing laundry was homeless for two decades. Zach’s kindness allowed Mimi to get back on her feet and regain her dignity.

Image Credit:  Queen Mimi / Facebook

The humbled Hangover star shied away from attention for his good deed, simply saying “It is my honor to know that woman.” His co-star Renée Zellweger even helped furnish Mimi’s new apartment after hearing about Zach’s act of compassion.

To Mimi, Zach and Renée were just good friends looking out for her, not celebrities. As she put it, “I really appreciate Zach and Renée for [everything they’ve done]…I have a place to live now and my own bed.”

Tragically, Mimi passed away in 2021 at age 96. But her spirit lives on through this inspiring story of how one man’s small kindness completely transformed a woman’s life for the better after homelessness. It’s a beautiful reminder that even life’s biggest stars don’t shine as bright as a good heart.

Source: vt

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