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Jean Hersholt
Birth: Jul. 12, 1886
Copenhagen
Hovedstaden, Denmark
Death: Jun. 2, 1956
Beverly Hills
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Danish Actor, Humanitarian. He was born in Copenhagen, Denmark his parents were renowned Danish actors Henry and Claire Hersholt who performed at Denmark's Royal Theater. Upon graduation from high school, he attended Copenhagen Art School then enrolled at the Dagmar Theater where he became an excellent student going on to establish himself as a top international actor. He was invited to the U.S. to perform, lecture and tour. In 1916, Jean was in California and had a film contract in hand from Universal Studios. He became a mainstay in silent films and was recognized as a premier supporting actor. A few of his early silent movies: ' The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Danish film debut), Stella Dallas, Erich von Stroheim's Greed and The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg.' After loosing his thick accent Jean Hersholt made the transition to the Talkies: 'Private Lives, Grand Hotel, Dinner at Eight, One in a Million and then a very notable supporting role as a grandfather in the Classic Shirley Temple movie, 'Heidi.' Jean hit his stride after his appearance in 'The Country Doctor' which led to a bonanza where he portrayed Dr. Christian in a series of movies while simultaneously playing the role on radio which lasted an incredible seventeen years. His final screen role was 'Run for Cover.' Upon retirement , he devoted himself to many humanitarian and charitable causes. Jean Hersholt contracted cancer which took his life at age 69. He was buried at Forest Lawn in a special viewable site away from the traditional row style of graves. The burial place is graced by a statue from fellow Dane Hans Christian Anderson's book character (Clods Hands). On the base is a lengthy inscription. Postscript: He was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1940 for humanitarian work in recognition of his founding and construction of the Motion Picture Country Home and Hospital. A year after his death, this yearly award was renamed the 'Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award' in his honor. Although Hersholt never won any performance Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, honored him four more times with two honorary Oscars, and two special awards. He hosted the Academy Awards numerous times. Hersholt was an ardent collector of rare books. His collection of Hans Christian Anderson books and the two volumes he personally translated into English were donated to the Library of Congress along with writings by Hugh Walpole and a significant amount of Sinclair Lewis material. His translations are considered the best English version in existence. He was a student of California history and his huge collection of first edition early California books were donated to various historical groups. The first Fr Junipero Serra biographical work printed in Mexico in 1787 was donated to a University of California Library. His sister had immigrated to Canada from Denmark. From her marriage to a Royal Mounted Policeman in the Yukon was born Leslie Nielsen, now a famous American actor and a brother Erik active in Canadian politics who rose to become Deputy Prime Minister. Beside the difficult translations of the Anderson book, he was an author and penned the novel 'Dr Christian.' (bio by: Donald Greyfield) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Via Anderson Hersholt (1892 - 1983)*
 
 Children:
  Allan E Hersholt (1914 - 1990)*
 
*Calculated relationship

Cause of death: Cancer
 
Burial:
Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Glendale
Los Angeles County
California, USA
Plot: Just outside the Great Mausoleum
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 2087
Jean Hersholt
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
Jean Hersholt
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
Jean Hersholt
Added by: A.J. Marik
 
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A wonderful character actor. Your portrayal of Shirley Temple's grandfather in, "Heidi" was simply superb. Very touching. May you rest in peace.
- Sue Gartman
 Added: Jul. 19, 2015
Oh how I love watching Heidi, I never get tired of it. As a young child we listened to Dr Christian on the radio. You will live forever in your classical performances. Rest In Heavenly Peace!
- sej
 Added: Jul. 14, 2015

- David Wend
 Added: Jul. 13, 2015
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