Jean Hershot

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Jean Hershot's last name was actually Hersholt. A Danish-born actor, Hersholt appeared in a total of 140 films. His most famous film was arguably the 1924 silent epic, Greed, which, in its original form, was nine hours long. Two months of filming took place in California's Death Valley. The heat on location placed many on set, including Hersholt, in the hospital. 

Despite his numerous performances, Hersholt is best remembered for his humanitarian work within the film industry. The actor served an 18-year tenure as president of the Motion Picture Relief Fund, which provided aid to industry members struggling financially. He also helped to establish the Motion Picture Country House and Hospital. As a result of these efforts, in 1956, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences created the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. The Award gives an honorary Oscar to “an individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” Hersholt is also remembered for writing an English translation of over 160 fairy tales by Danish author, Hans Christian Anderson. He died of cancer in 1956.


Smith, Richard Harland. "Jean Hersholt Biography." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved at

"Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award." Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences. Retrieved at

Catalog ID EN0458