Harold Russell only had a major role in one film, but it assured his place in cinema history. He was born in Nova Scotia and raised in Boston, MA. Losing both hands to a grenade explosion in World War II, Russell later appeared in the military-produced educational film "Diary of a Sergeant," although someone else provided the voiceover narration. After seeing that film and noting an All-American ease and likability in the non-actor, William Wyler cast Russell as the quiet hometown boy Homer Parrish in "The Best Years of Our Lives" (1946). The drama about war veterans returning home won seven Oscars, including Russell's for Best Supporting Actor. He also received a special award from the Academy "for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans."