John Sidney Blythe Barrymore (1882 - 1942) MP

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Birthdate:
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Death: Died in Los Angeles, California, USA
Cause of death: Alcoholism
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About John Sidney Blythe Barrymore

John Sidney Blyth Barrymore (born: February 15, 1882 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – died :May 29, 1942 in Los Angeles, California), was an American actor.

He gained fame as a Shakespearean, lauded for his Hamlet, and was frequently regarded as the greatest actor of his generation. He was the grandfather of Drew Barrymore and brother of Lionel Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore.

Background

Barrymore was born into an illustrious theatrical family. His parents were Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew. His classic nose and distinguished features won him the nickname "The Great Profile." He was expelled from Georgetown Preparatory School in 1898 after being caught attending a bordello. He was a hard-drinking adventurer with a jaunty personality.

Barrymore delivered some of the most critically-acclaimed performances in theatre and cinema history. He was regarded by many as the screen's greatest performer during a movie career spanning 25 years as a leading man in more than 60 films. His movie roles included Sherlock Holmes (1922), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), Captain Ahab in both The Sea Beast (1926) and Moby Dick (1930), Don Juan (1926), Svengali (1931), Raffles the Amateur Cracksman (1917), and the leading man in Grand Hotel (1932), Dinner at Eight (1933) and Twentieth Century (1934). He worked opposite many of the foremost leading ladies, including Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, and Carole Lombard. In the late 1930s alcoholism and possibly Alzheimer's Disease encroached on his ability to remember his lines. His last movie characters were broad and distasteful caricatures of himself, in movies such as Playmates (1941).

A notorious ladies' man, he courted Mary Astor and showgirl Evelyn Nesbit. When Nesbit became pregnant, Barrymore proposed marriage. But her "sponsor" Stanford White intervened, and arranged for the still-teenaged Evelyn to undergo an operation for "appendicitis." White was later murdered by Nesbit's vengeful husband, Pittsburgh millionaire Harry K. Thaw.

Marriages

  1. Katherine Corri Harris (1891-1927), an actress who starred in the 1918 film The House of Mirth, on September 1, 1910 and divorced in 1916. # Blanche Marie Louise Oelrichs (1890-1950), aka "Michael Strange," on August 5, 1920 and divorced her in 1925. They had one child: #* Diana Blanche Barrymore (1921-1960), whose tragic life ended at age 38. A semi-autobiographical story of her life was depicted in Too Much, Too Soon, starring Errol Flynn as her father# Dolores Costello (1903-1979), actress and model best known for Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936); they married on November 24, 1928 and divorced in 1935. They had two children: #* Dolores Ethel Mae Barrymore (living)#* John Drew Barrymore (father of Drew Barrymore) # Elaine Barrie (née Elaine Jacobs), (1916-2003), an actress; married November 9, 1936 and divorced 1940

Dying Words

His dying words were "Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him." According to Errol Flynn's memoirs, film director Raoul Walsh "borrowed" Barrymore's body after the funeral, and left his corpse propped in a chair for a drunken Flynn to discover when he returned home from The Cock and Bull Bar. This was re-created in the movie W.C. Fields and Me with Jack Cassidy as Barrymore. Other accounts of this classic Hollywood tale substitute actor Peter Lorre in the place of Walsh.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, John Barrymore has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6667 Hollywood Boulevard.

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John Barrymore's Timeline

1882
February 15, 1882
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
1921
March 3, 1921
Age 39
1930
April 8, 1930
Age 48
1932
June 4, 1932
Age 50
Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA, USA
1942
May 29, 1942
Age 60
Los Angeles, California, USA
June 2, 1942
Age 60
East Los Angeles, California, USA
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