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Harold Russell


B: January 14, 1914 in Sydney, Nova Scotia
D: January 29, 2002 in Needham, Massachusetts

Harold Russell made his debut in one of the most memorable films about World War II, The Best Years of Our Lives. The film tells the story of three veterans returning after the war to the same small town. The Oscar-winning film stars Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews and Virginia Mayo, along with the virtually unknown Harold Russell. Born Harold John Russell, his family moved to Cambridge Massachusetts when his father died in 1919. He was training paratroopers at Camp MacKall North Carolina when, on June 6, 1944 some TNT he was using exploded in his hands. After receiving hooks, and training with them, he was asked to make an Army training film called Diary Of A Sergeant. Renowned director William Wyler saw the film and decided to change a character in The Best Years Of Our Lives to a double amputee and cast Harold Russell. Russell won an Academy Award as best-supporting actor for his performance. He was also given a special Oscar® for being an inspiration to all returning veterans of World War Two.