Biography

Canadian-born American actor Harold Russell was a paratrooper during WWII when a grenade explosion cost him both of his hands. Later, he appeared in The Diary of a Sergeant, an Army documentary chronicling the rehabilitation of a permanently injured soldier. In 1946, Russell played a veteran trying to readjust to civilian life without his hands in William Wyler's The Best Years of Our Lives and for his realistic performance, Russell was awarded the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. At the same ceremony, Russell also received a special Oscar for "bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans." It was the only time that a performer has been awarded two Oscars for the same role. Russell later became a business executive after publishing his autobiography, Victory in My Hands, in 1949. President Johnson appointed Russell the chairman of the President's Committee on Hiring the Handicapped in 1964. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi