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Star retrieves stolen Oscar

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O’Brien was honoured with a Juvenile Academy Award as Outstanding Child Actress of 1944.

One of Hollywood’s most popular child stars of the mid-20th century, Margaret O’Brien, had to wait 40 years for a stolen Oscar statue to be retrieved.

O’Brien was honoured with a Juvenile Academy Award as Outstanding Child Actress of 1944, the year she starred opposite Judy Garland in Meet me in St Louis.

As a child O’Brien, now 82, her awards were kept in a special room. In 1954, the family’s maid asked to take the Oscar home to polish. After three days, she failed to return to work.

Years later, learning the original had been stolen, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts gave O’Brien a replacement Oscar.

In 1995 Bruce Davis, executive director of the academy, learned that a statuette bearing O’Brien’s name was in a catalogue for a memorabilia auction, consigned by Steven Neimand and Mark Nash.

Neimand and Nash had spotted the small Oscar at a flea market in 1995. They split the $500 asking price, hoping to resell at a profit, and had it photographed for an upcoming auction catalogue. They agreed to return the Oscar to O’Brien and in 1995, the academy held a special ceremony to return the Oscar to her.

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