An American actor gave a couple from Plymouth $500 (£330) towards their holiday after they had to leave a hotel where a body was found in a cistern.
Michael and Sabina Baugh spent eight days at the Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles (LA) before Elisa Lam's body was found.
Mrs Baugh said Robert Conrad, known for the 1960s television series The Wild Wild West, gave them the money after hearing their story on the radio.
LA health officials said the water was found to be safe to drink.
'Brown and cloudy'
Ms Lam, 21, from Vancouver, Canada, was found dead in the tank by a maintenance worker on 21 February after guests complained of low water pressure.
Guests, including the Baughs, said they had bathed and drunk water from the tank while she remained in it.
Mrs Baugh said: "The water wasn't clean. It was coming out brown and very cloudy.
"We had to leave it on for a few minutes, but it would clear up."
She said she and her husband, both 27, were eight days into a two-week holiday when they became aware something was wrong as emergency services arrived.
She said: "We didn't believe it at first but police and a coroner's car were there, so they must have found a body.
"Everybody had to check out because the water had to be turned off."
The couple said they had to stay in the lobby for 13 hours until they could sort out further accommodation after emailing their travel agent, Thomas Cook, in Britain.
In the meantime, they were interviewed by various media organisations, including KFI Radio, where Mr Conrad heard what had happened to them.
Mrs Baugh said: "He drove to KFI Radio to give us $500."
She added that, as well as Mr Conrad's donation, an anonymous woman paid for them to stay at Hollywood's Hilton Hotel for their last three nights, which was "an amazing experience".
Samples from the tank had been found to be safe to drink and bathe in, LA health officials said.
However, the couple said getting further medical checks at home was one thing they "still have to sort out".
Ms Lam's death is under investigation.
Thomas Cook said it was taking the matter very seriously, and added it was in conversation with the couple over compensation.