A Defiance man’s cross-country Canadian tour almost turned tragic Thursday when he fell walking on a Toronto sidewalk and a protrusion sticking out of the construction scaffolding slit his throat. Rescue came from an unlikely source: Actor John Malkovich.
Jim Walpole, 77, was with his wife, Marilyn, when the accident occurred near the end of their train tour that began in Vancouver. Two men, Toronto restaurant owner Ben Quinn and Mr. Malkovich, quickly rushed to his aid.
“I’m a 225-pounder,” Mr. Walpole said. “And I just couldn’t stop myself with my hands.”
Mr. Walpole said he had just finished eating dinner at P.J. O’Brien’s, owned by Mr. Quinn, before he fell. Mr. Quinn and Mr. Malkovich hurried to the scene as soon as the accident occurred and began to assist Mr. Walpole by holding his head up and pressing his throat to stop the bleeding until professional help arrived.
Mr. Walpole, who was conscious while being attended to, at first did not realize the celebrity status of his rescuer. Mr. Malkovich didn’t make it known, either.
“I asked him his name, and he said John. ... As it turned out, it was John Malkovich,” Mr. Walpole said.
The accident occurred around 8 p.m., Mr. Walpole said, and he was released from the emergency room at St. Michael’s Hospital about 6:30 Friday morning. He missed out on a final planned excursion that day to Niagara Falls, and he said the fall was a tough ending to what was an otherwise great trip.
Though he was cleared to return to Ohio, he is still recovering from complications. Mr. Walpole said he suffered a broken left ring finger in the fall and has a problem with one of his eyes, among other health concerns. He said the doctors in Toronto said he was in great condition when he left, but they advised him to get checked by his local physician. He said he plans to do that today.
“I have a huge hematoma on my neck and a big bruise on my chest,” Mr. Walpole said. “[Sunday was] my worst day for soreness. I have a long way to go yet.”
Mr. Walpole said he was not familiar with Mr. Malkovich’s work previously, but is, not surprisingly, a fan now.
He also said he never had the opportunity to see the star after his assistance even though they were staying in the same hotel.
“I haven’t [made contact],” Mr. Walpole said. “[But] I’d like to thank the gentleman.”
Staff writer Sam Gans contributed to this report.