Why Zach Galifianakis Paid Rent for an Elderly Homeless Woman for Years
Zach Galifianakis was only a budding actor when he met Mimi Haist, who was working and living at a laundromat. Years later, when The Hangover star heard about his old friend becoming homeless, he decided to help by finding Haist a place to stay. He kept in touch with “Queen Mimi,” remaining her friend for the rest of the elderly woman’s life.
Zach Galifianakis and Mimi Haist met by chance in a laundromat.
In the ’90s, after she separated from her husband, Mimi Haist worked at a laundromat in Santa Monica in exchange for tips. The owner also allowed her to sleep there, as she had nowhere else to go. One day, Zach Galifianakis took his clothes to be cleaned at the same place and met Mimi by chance. “I taught him how to wash his clothes,” Haist recalled years later.
Years later, when he heard that Haist was struggling, the comedian found her an apartment to live in.
The 2 became friends while the aspiring actor continued taking his laundry to the laundromat Haist worked and lived at. Years later, Galifianakis became successful and found out about Haist no longer having a place to live. He remembered the elderly woman fondly and decided to help her by finding her an apartment. Galifianakis also introduced Haist to Renée Zellweger, who became her friend as well and who supported her by furnishing her new apartment and buying her groceries.
Despite his success, the actor never neglected his friendship with Mimi Haist.
“I really love it. I have a place where I can sleep and arrange things, and it’s really heaven,” Haist said in an interview about her new apartment. “I really appreciate Zach and Renée for [everything they’ve done].” Galifianakis also took Haist as his date to the red carpet premiere of his movie, The Campaign, saying, “Mimi helps me feel better when I see her there. I’ve always tried to invite her to things like that.”
Later, a documentary celebrated the bond between the unlikely duo as well as Haist’s life.
As proof of her charming personality, Galifianakis and Zellweger weren’t the only friends Haist made in the film industry. Future actor and director Yaniv Rokah was working in a cafe across from the laundromat when he met her. “I remember thinking, ’Who is this older woman who’s working at a laundromat 7 days a week? And why does she seem so happy all the time?’” Rokah said years later.
Years after their fateful meeting, Rokah decided to make a documentary about Haist’s life. In Queen Mimi, the woman’s unwavering spirit, life struggles, and meaningful friendship with Zach Galifianakis were immortalized.
Mimi Haist passed away in 2021, but she left her mark on the actor and the whole world.
Unfortunately, Haist passed away on November 25, 2021, at 96 years old. But despite having no family, her last years of life were happy and safe, and her famous friends ensured she never felt lonely. Zellweger continued to visit Haist on holidays and her birthdays, while “Queen Mimi” also maintained a strong bond with Yoav Rokah and Zach Galifianakis.