How Gwyneth Paltrow Saved a Life on 9-11

9:00 PM PST 08/07/2011 by THR staff
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

A woman says her chance encounter with the actress saved her from being inside the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks.

Gwyneth Paltrow can act, sing and dance. And, now, the Oscar-winning actress can add lifesaver to her list of accomplishments. 

New Yorker Lara Lundstrom Clarke has come forward to reveal that a chance encounter with Paltrow on September 11, 2001 made her late for her job at the World Trade Center and saved her from being in Tower 2 as it was hit by a plane that morning. 

The then 24-year-old account manager at Baseline Financial Services was cutting across 7th Avenue when a silver Mercedes SUV nearly hit her. 

"I stopped and they screeched to a halt," she tells The Morton Report. "Then it developed in to one of those classic who-goes-first situations. It got ridiculous. Then I made eye contact with the Mercedes driver. OMG it was Gwyneth Paltrow."

Paltrow waved her on, but Lundstrom Clarke missed the first subway train by seconds (reminiscent the actress' 1998 film, Sliding Doors). By the time she caught the following train and exited at the World Trade Center stop, it was 8:47 am, the time the first plane hit and was instructed to go back to the underground train platform.

“It was total chaos being stuck in the basement of a building. All I could think about then was my parents and if I died, what it would do to them. My heart was racing, I was paralyzed. I couldn’t even speak. 'Get me outside, I need to be outside.'” 

Moments later, the second plane seared through her 77th floor office in Tower 2.

She credits Paltrow for being her life-saver. "If I had made that train I would have been at my desk on the 77th floor of 2 World Trade center." 

 

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