Chris Pratt started out on the small screen with Everwood and Parks and Recreation, but he’s become a seemingly overnight sensation on the big screen. On June 12, he takes on the role of raptor-tamer in Jurassic World, a surefire box-office smash, which follows last year’s star turns in Guardians of the Galaxy and The Lego Movie (and precedes their anticipated sequels upon sequels).
Less known are his considerable credentials in charity: Pratt has taken to dropping by hospitals costumed as Star-Lord, his hero character from Guardians.
“I can’t imagine that anyone, given the opportunity to do something like that, wouldn’t do it,” the affable Pratt says. “To put a smile on the face of a kid who is going through cancer or another disease is everything. All of this celebrity stuff means nothing if it can’t be used to help others. If playing a character makes one of those kids excited to see me walk into that room, then 100 out of 100 times, I’m going to walk into that room.”
Pratt was in the superhero spotlight earlier this year when he made a Super Bowl bet against “Captain America” Chris Evans. Pratt bet that his favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks, would win the Super Bowl. If Seattle won, Evans (a New England Patriots fan) agreed to don his superhero costume and visit a Seattle hospital. If Seattle lost, Pratt was to visit a Boston hospital on behalf of Evans’ charity, Christopher’s Haven. Although the Seahawks fell short, both guys paid up in the end. Since their bet, the two have raised more than $27,000 for Seattle Children’s Hospital and Christopher’s Haven.
Pratt also raises money for March of Dimes, an organization he credits for helping his own family: His son Jack was born nine weeks prematurely to his wife, Anna Faris, in 2012. The parents then learned Jack might have special needs. “I made promises in that moment about what kind of dad I wanted to be,” Pratt said at a March of Dimes benefit last December. “And I just prayed that he’d live long enough that I could keep them.”
Almost 3 now, Jack is going strong. And so is his hero dad.