Zach Galifianakis Paid Old Homeless Woman’s Rent for Decades & Spent Time with Her as She Lost Her Family

Actor Zach Galifianakis is best known for his role in the popular Hangover movies.

However, he gained attention a decade ago for something else. He helped a homeless woman settle down and then paid her rent until he died.

Zach first met Elizabeth “Mimi” Haist in 1994 when he visited a laundromat in Santa Monica, California. Mimi worked there as a volunteer and sometimes received tips from customers as a salary.

Homeless after divorce

Mimi’s story was quite sad. She had been a housewife in a suburb of Los Angeles and a mother of two children. Everything changed when she learned that her husband had cheated on her. She lost her house in the divorce and then lived in her car when she was 50.

When the money she received from the divorce ran out, her car was towed away, and after that, Mimi found herself on the streets of Santa Monica.

One evening, a janitor in a laundromat, who took pity on Mimi, obtained permission from his boss to let Mimi into the laundromat and let her spend the night there. Mimi jumped at the chance and spent the next few decades sleeping on a plastic chair between washing machines at night, then getting tips for folding laundry during the day.

This was the situation when filmmaker Yaniv Rokah first met her. Her acquaintances in the area knew her as the “Queen of Montana” – but Montana was the street where the laundromat was.

“I remember thinking – Who is this old lady who works in Seven Days Friend’s laundry? And why does she always seem so happy. Here I’m trying to break into Hollywood, I work in a cafe and across the street is this rocket ship, dressed in pink, singing and dancing and a total diva who turned out to be homeless.”

Rokah decided to make a documentary about Mimi and befriended her. The project took him four years and slowly Mimi began to confide in him about her past. For a long time, she struggled to admit she was homeless.

I got her an apartment and took her to the red carpet

Eventually, Rokah found out that he wasn’t the only one in the film world who befriended Mimi. Zach Galifianakis had known her in the 90s before hitting hard. Over time, he had stopped bringing laundry home, but he never forgot Mimi.

“I taught her how to wash her clothes,” Mimi told People in 2016 after the release of Rokah’s documentary Queen Mimi.

In 2011, when Zach learned that Mimi was homeless, he found her an apartment and paid her the rent. He also hired actress Renee Zellweger to help him decorate the apartment and buy food for Mimi. Zach also took her to the premiere of Hangover Part II and The Campaign and Hangover III. He could also visit him when he was in Los Angeles and take him to lunch.

“I have a place to live now and my own bed. Now I can get financial assistance that helps me pay for food and the phone bill. I still go to the laundry room every day. I’m going to wash of course, I’ll go. until then to keep myself busy and teach people how to wash their clothes,” Mimi told People.

She said people now recognize her and call her a star.

Rokah said that when he found out Zach was Mimi’s friend, he wanted him to be in the movie. At first, Zach was reluctant because he didn’t want his friendship with Mimi to be interpreted as a ploy to gain popularity. But Mimi ends up convincing him.

“It’s an honor for me to know this woman,” Zach said in the film.

Mimi died in 2021 at the age of 95

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