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Douglas Bell

Douglas Bell

Oral historian | The Oscars | Class of 1982

He can't say this for certain but Douglas Bell always got the feeling that the UI's admissions office relegated all the kids like him — "the tail-enders, the last guys accepted" — to Forbes Hall.

"And the fourth floor, up three flights, was really for the underdogs," says the Hollywood oral historian and founder/owner of LA-based Filmbell.

"I’m certain that I was among the very last to be accepted into the University of Illinois that summer of 1978. My high school grades were nothing too special. I was bright enough, but kind of an underachiever. The U of I, bless them always, saw something in my application and allowed me to attend their great university.

"A better group of fellows, that 1978-79 year at Forbes Hall, I couldn’t have met. I’m a hayseed, had never lived away from home before, and my new roommates were real South Side Chicagoans. But we got along just fine, and even lived together later, in a dilapidated Urbana house, during our junior year.

"Fourth Floor Forbes, land of the underdog boys, gave me a realistic place, of real Illini pride, from the beginning.  I would be working my way up the ladder, and what a healthy place to begin.

"In contrast, my sophomore year I resided in a veritable penthouse at Oglesby Hall, which overlooked the whole campus. I had a good time there too, nice people all, but it sure wasn’t the same as scruffy Forbes.

"So, to all of my Forbes Hall brethren, past and present, I give my distant encouragement and an underdog salute."