Josh Gad says he has his “Frozen” co-star Kristen Bell to thank for helping keep his family safe during Hurricane Irma.
Gad, a Hollywood, Florida, native recalled in the episode that aired Tuesday on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”: “Well, there was a hurricane . . . Irma, that hit Florida” on Sept. 10. “My entire family lives in South Florida. And so I sent them all to my brother’s place in Tampa. . . . Then the hurricane veered west to Tampa and I had to get them out and I had nowhere to send them, and so I immediately started calling everybody I know.”
He eventually realized Bell, 37, star of the NBC comedy “The Good Place,” was shooting a film around Disney World in Orlando, Florida. “And so, I called her up and I said, ‘Is there any way that you could find some rooms for my family?’ ’Cause apparently, I have no connections to Disney,” Gad, 36, who earned acclaim as the voice of the soulful snowman Olaf in “Frozen,” said to audience laughter. “And she said yes, ‘Even if’ — she literally said these words — ‘Even if I have to share my room with your entire family, I will make sure they’re safe.’ ”
His parents, he said, were thrilled to meet Bell, taking a selfie with her that appeared on a screen behind Gad and DeGeneres. “Those are my parents, that’s my mom and dad, who immediately called me up as a hurricane — a Category 4 hurricane — is hitting. They’re like, ‘We’re famous,’ ” he said with a chuckle. “They were so excited.” All told, he said, Bell helped rescue not only his folks but also his brothers Jason and Jeff, the latter’s family, and his stepsister.
Despite his joking, Gad evidently did have a connection at Disney. In an Instagram post Tuesday, he urged viewers to tune into DeGeneres’ show to hear about “how I plan on repaying resident angel and savior @kristenanniebell for coming to the rescue of my family. BTW,” he added, “credit to @ewablueeyes for actually getting me to reach out to Kristin when I was too neurotic to do it,” referring to Walt Disney Studios senior publicist Ewa Loba Battistelli.
The close call for his family, he said, was “a reminder that there are so many people still in places like Puerto Rico [and the] Virgin Islands that we need to think about right now” during the hurricane devastation those American territories are enduring.