Kate Winslet Praised by Richard Branson for Pulling His Mother From Fire

Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The "Mildred Pierce" star "swept her up into her arms" in dramatic escape, the tycoon said.

LONDON -- She didn't do much to help Leonardo DiCaprio from perishing in the freezing waters of the Atlantic, but in real life, Oscar-winning actress Kate Winslet has proved rather more of a heroine.

Business tycoon Richard Branson has described how Winslet -- who was staying on his Caribbean island retreat -- helped rescue his aging mother when a fire broke out in the main house in a scene he likened to a movie.

PHOTOS: Emmy Nominees 2011

"Many thanks to Kate Winslet for helping to carry my 90-year old mum out of the main house to safety. She was wondering when a director was going to shout 'cut,' " he said in comments about the fire posted on his blog.

"She swept her up into her arms and got them out as fast as possible," he said.

"Special congratulations and lots of hugs went to Kate Winslet's two beautiful children, Mia, 10, and Joe, 7 - they were real troupers and two of the bravest children I've ever come across!" he added.

The house on the Caribbean island of Necker was struck by lightning in a storm on Monday morning, leaving most of it destroyed, Branson said.

All the 20 or so people caught up in the blaze managed to escape unhurt, and the serial entrepreneur has vowed to rebuild the luxury retreat.

Winslet is nominated for an Emmy award as outstanding lead actress in a drama series for the HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. The miniseries received the most nominations overall with 21.