Harold Russell

Harold Russell (1914–2002)


Harold John Russell was born in Nova Scotia in 1914. His family moved to Cambridge Massachusetts when his father died in 1919. He was training paratroopers at Camp MacKall NC on June 6, 1944 when some TNT he was using exploded in his hands. He lost both hands. After receiving hooks, and training on them, he was chosen to make an Army training film called "Diary Of A Sergeant". William Wyler saw the film and decided to cast him in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). Harold Russell played Homer Parish. For this role he received 2 Oscars, a Best Supporting and one for being an inspiration to all returning veterans. He is the only actor to receive 2 Oscars for the same role. After the movie he attended Boston University. He later went on to help establish AMVETS as a viable alternative to the American Legion for veterans, though his dream of an international veterans organization was never realized. He later appeared in Inside Moves (1980) and Dogtown (1997). He lived with his wife on Cape Cod in Massachusetts. He wrote 2 biographies: "Victory In My Hands" (1947) & "The Best Years Of My Life" (1981).