The parents of American soldier Tommy Zarobinski have hailed his childhood pal Adrien Brody a hero for helping to lift the gloom during wartime.

Brody name checked his friend during his emotive Best Actor acceptance speech at the OSCARS on Sunday night (23MAR03), and Zarobinski's parents in Rego Park, New York, couldn't have been more delighted.

His father TOM says, "We weren't watching the Academy Awards. We have been glued to the war news coverage hoping not to hear mention of our son.

"Then there was a knock on the door and our neighbour said, 'Your son has just been mentioned on TV.' My first thought was, 'Oh my God, why would he be mentioned?'

"Then they told me that Adrien had mentioned him and I was thrilled. It's so nice that he should remember his old friend at this time.

"They used to be such good friends. One time I got mad at them for skipping out of school."

Tommy's mum ADA adds, "Thankyou Adrien, you really made me feel good. Now we're just waiting for him to come home safe. I told him I don't want him to be a hero. He's already a hero to me."

Meanwhile, Brody is hoping his pal caught the telecast in Kuwait.

He says, "You never know, maybe he got a moment to watch. I hope he saw it. He's called me a few times."