Harold John Russell, Actor and Veteran Activist

Portrait of Harold John Russell
Harold John Russell

Harold John Russell was born in Nova Scotia in 1914. His family moved to Cambridge Massachusetts after his father died in 1919.

When training in paratroopers at camp MacKall NC on June 6th, 1944, the TNT he was using exploded in his hands and he lost both of them. That is when he became disabled.

After getting hooks and training with them he was chosen to make an army training film called “Diary of a Sergeant.” Harold Russell played Homer Parish in the film “The Best Years of Our Lives.” For his role he received two Oscars, a best supporting and one for being an inspiration to all returning veterans. He is the only actor to receive two 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.


One response to “Harold John Russell, Actor and Veteran Activist

  1. The Bertchi School children should be very proud not only of the fine work that they did, but also the amazing people that they chose to represent. Bravo!!

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