21 February 2011 22:46 | By Francis Whittaker
Debut Academy Award winners

Harold Russell

Harold Russell (© SNAP / Rex Features)
  • Debut Oscar Winners (© Wireimage)
  • Gale Sondergaard (© SNAP / Rex Features)
  • Katina Paxinou (© SNAP / Rex Features;)
  • Harold Russell (© SNAP / Rex Features)
  • Mercedes McCambridge (© SNAP / Rex Features)
  • Shirley Booth (© SNAP / Rex Features)
  • Eva Marie Saint (© WireImage/Steve Granitz)
  • Jo Van Fleet (© Everett Collection / Rex Feature;)
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Best Supporting Actor (1946) for Best Years of Our Lives

World War II veteran Russell lost both his hands when an explosive device accidentally detonated during an army training exercise, and as a result he had two hooks placed on the end of his arms. He was cast in his first film role as Homer Parrish in 1946's The Best Years of Our Lives, which earned him a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award. He appeared on the big screen only twice more (in 1980's Inside Moves and 1997's Dogtown), and controversially sold his Oscar statue to raise money for his wife's medical expenses in 1992. Along with Haing S. Ngor, he is one of only two non-professional actors to win an Academy Award.

Find out more about Harold Russell