HAROLD RUSSELL - DOCUMENT SIGNED 05/15/1947 - HFSID 289266
Sale Price $595.00
Consent form authorizing the Motion Picture Relief Fund to reproduce the amputee's signature and likeness for a series of stamps raising money for needy film industry veterans.
Document signed: "Harold Russell", 1 page, 8½x5¼. Hollywood, California, 1947 May 15. Hall grants to the Motion Picture Relief Fund, Inc., its successors and assigns, the exclusive right to use his name, autograph, photographic likeness, or artist's sketch of the likeness, for reproduction on engraved, embossed or printed stamps, and in stamp albums, and in connection with the advertising and exploitation of these stamps and stamp albums for sale throughout the world. Harold Russell (1914-2002) was working as an explosives expert at an Army base in 1944 when a defective fuse exploded a charge of TNT he was holding. Both of his hands were amputated. Recommended by actor Dana Andrews, Russell was selected by Samuel Goldwyn to play the part of Homer Parrish in The Best Years of Our Lives (Andrews, who had met Russell while narrating an Army film on the recuperation of wounded soldiers, played Fred Derry in the film.) The script originally called for a wounded veteran returning home from WWII; it was adapted to fit Russell's physical condition. Russell won two 1946 Academy Awards for his performance: one for Best Supporting Actor and the other, a special Oscar, for "bringing aid and comfort to disabled veterans through the medium of motion pictures". In 1992, Russell became the first and only actor to sell his Oscar (to pay for medical treatment for his wife). An author and national commander of AMVETS (1949-1951, 1960-1970), Russell also served as chairman of President Johnson's Committee on Hiring the Handicapped. Russell is one of only two non-actors to win an acting Oscar, the other being Haing Ngor for The Killing Fields. The Motion Picture Relief Fund was founded in 1921 to assist ill and needy film industry veterans, as expressed in its motto: "We take care of our own." The fund raised money through voluntary payroll deductions and celebrity events. As President of the Fund from 1939 until his death in 1956, film and radio star Jean Hersholt conceived Hollywood Star Stamps as a fundraising method. These stamps, 468 in all, were sold at dime stores after World War II in sheets of 6-12, at 10 cents per sheet, and were an immediate hit with collectors. Now called the Motion Picture and Television Fund, the non-profit organization funds its own hospital and retirement home. It confers the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award annually at the Academy Awards ceremony to "an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry." Two filing holes at left. Staple holes at top left. Two vertical and one horizontal fold. Lightly creased. Otherwise, fine condition.
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