Harold Russell Overview:

Legendary actor, Harold Russell, was born Harold John Russell on Jan 14, 1914 in North Sydney, Canada. Russell died at the age of 88 on Jan 29, 2002 in Needham, MA and was laid to rest in Lakeview Cemetery in Wayland, Middlesex County, CA.



Harold Russell was nominated for one Academy Award, winning for Best Supporting Actor for The Best Years of Our Lives (as Homer Parrish) in 1946. He also won one Honorary Award in 1946 for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance in The Best Years of Our Lives .

Academy Awards

YearAwardFilm nameRoleResult
1946Best Supporting ActorThe Best Years of Our Lives (1946)Homer ParrishWon

Academy Awards (Honorary Oscars)

1946Special Awardfor bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans through his appearance in The Best Years of Our Lives


He was honored with one star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the category of Motion Pictures.

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Harold Russell Quotes:

Homer Parrish: I didn't see much of the war... I was stationed in a repair shop below decks. Oh, I was in plenty of battles, but I never saw a Jap or heard a shell coming at me. When we were sunk, all I know is there was a lot of fire and explosions. And I was ordered topsides and overboard. And I was burned. When I came to, I was on a cruiser. My hands were off. After that, I had it easy... That's what I said. They took care of me fine. They trained me to use these things. I can dial telephones, I can drive a car, I can even put nickels in the jukebox. I'm all right, but... well, you see, I've got a girl.

Mr. Mollett: Say, uh, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?
Homer Parrish: I know what it is. How did I get these hooks and how do they work? That's what everybody says when they start off, "Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?" Well, I'll tell ya. I got sick and tired of that old pair of hands I had. You know, an awful lot of trouble washing them and manicuring my nails. So I traded them in for a pair of these latest models. They work by radar. Look.
[He takes a scoop of his ice cream sundae with a spoon]
Homer Parrish: Pretty cute, hey?

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Best Supporting Actor Oscar 1946

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Harold Russell on the
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Harold Russell Facts
Annual award presented by the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities is called the Harold Russell Medal.

Served three terms as the National Commander of the AMVETS. As National Commander, he wrote an 11 April 1951 letter to President Harry S. Truman supporting his decision to relieve General Douglas MacArthur of his supreme command: "The issue is whether the ultimate civil authority of the United States can tolerate actions in contempt of constitutional lines of authority. Any lessening of civil power over military power must inevitably lead away from democracy."

Director William Wyler told Russell after The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) wrapped, "There aren't that many parts for a guy with no hands. You should go back to college, get your degree." Russell followed the advice, got a business degree from Boston University and became an ardent advocate for the disabled.

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