John Barrymore

John Barrymore


2/14/1882, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA



Birth Name

John Sidney Blyth


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John Barrymore (nicknamed "The Great Profile" and Jack) was a member of the famous Barrymore acting clan. The Barrymores (and previous ancestry with the names of Drew and Blyth) had been active in the theater for generations when John, sister Ethel, and brother Lionel burst to prominence in…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • While John Barrymore earliest film credit is listed as 1914, there have been rumors that he actually first appeared on film as early as 1912. However, no verification has ever been found in any surviving film to prove this to be true.

    • John Barrymore was the youngest of the elder generation of the Barrymore film clan that included himself, brother Lionel, and sister Ethel. He was also the first to pass away, at age 60, in 1942.

    • John Barrymore often wore makeup and costuming that obscured his world famous looks on stage in the early years of his career.

    • In one of his rare meetings with eldest daughter, Diana Barrymore, while she was a teen, John Barrymore pulled a stunt that was simply horrid. Barrymore took Diana and an old school friend to dinner and a movie, while on the outing, Barrymore became inebriated and made a pass at Diana's friend, also a teen.

    • John Barrymore supposedly survived the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake. He wrote a letter detailing all the events of the quake to his sister Ethel, in hopes that it might be worth some cash. A hundred dollars is the figure the wily Mr.Barrymore had in mind. However, it was later found that Barrymore had never been near the danger zone of the quake and when called on it, he simply smiled. The rascal, John Barrymore had struck again.

    • John Barrymore was a lapsed Catholic at the time of his death in 1942.

    • John Barrymore was played by Jack Cassidy in the 1976 film, W.C. Fields And Me.

    • John Barrymore made his stage debut at age eighteen in a family production directed by his father. His Broadway stardom came with the play, The Fortune Hunter in 1909. He began his career in film in 1914 with The American Citizen.

    • John Barrymore was married and divorced four times. He was not adverse to taking a fifth wife, commenting not long before his death, that Solomon had a thousand wives and was known for his asute wisdom......

    • This tale of John Barrymore is a bit racy, but is so typical of him. John Barrymore, in his usual state of quintessential inebriation, once managed to get into the ladies' powder room, instead of that which was provided for the gentlemen. Mr.Barrymore, taking no notice of his surroundings, proceeded to relieve himself in a stall. However, a lady came in and upon seeing a male, in female territory, chided him for coming into an area that was for exclusive use of females. Mr.Barrymore replied,as only a Barrymore could, by looking down at his still exposed anatomy and commenting that "this",(meaning his anatomy) was for exclusive female use too, but on occasion did need a bit of water run through the pipes. Mr.Barrymore, then turned, and finished his "plumbing repair", and waltzed out the door, past the still dumbfounded lady. This incident was incoporated into the film, My Favorite Year , starring Peter O'Toole.

    • Toward the end of his career and indebted to his numerous ex-wives and the IRS, John Barrymore made a number of appearances on Rudy Vallee's radio program. Sadly, Barrymore was often the butt of jokes about his legendary drinking, womanizing, and failing memory. It was during a rehearsal of the Vallee program that Barrymore collapsed for the last time. He was hospitalized and diagnosed with pneumonia and chronic cirrhosis of the liver. Barrymore lingered in and out of consciousness and died ten days later.

    • John Barrymore was the owner of a pet monkey named Clementine. Clementine was a gift to Barrymore from British actress, Gladys Cooper. Barrymore adored Clementine and the monkey actually appeared in three films with Barrymore, "The Sea Beast" (1926), "Don Juan" (1926), and "When A Man Loves" (1927).

    • John Barrymore was very enamored of sailing and owned a yacht named "The Mariner". He used to sale alone or with his well known compatriots Errol Flynn and Raoul Walsh. Many journeys out to sea, by Barrymore and friends were to escape the ire of female conquests that were less than pleased with their subsequent treatment by the rascally Barrymore and friends.

    • Even John Barrymore, called "the greatest actor of his generation" by many, was not above a failure on Broadway. The most notable failure by "The Great Profile" was in "Clair de Lune". Oddly enough, the play was written by Barrymore's second wife, the poet Michael Strange.

    • John Barrymore did not initially wish to follow the family tradition of a career in the theater. Educated at King's College, Wimbledon, England, and The New York Students Art League in New York City, Barrymore worked for a time as a freelance artist and as a sketch artist for the "New York Evening Journal".

    • John Barrymore appeared in several films with his Academy Award-winning brother Lionel. These films include, "Arsene Lupin" (1932), "Grand Hotel" (1932), "Night Flight" (1933), and "Dinner at Eight" (1933).

    • John Barrymore is also the father of Delores Ethel Mae Barrymore. Her mother was Delores Costello. She is the sister of John Drew Barrymore and Diana Barrymore. Delores chose, wisely it would seem, not to go into the family acting business.

    • John Barrymore was considered to be the greatest American Shakespearian actor of his generation. His rendition of "Hamlet" on Broadway for 101 performances in 1920 is thought to be the best work of his career.

    • John Barrymore was involved with notorious showgirl Evelyn Nesbit ("The Girl In The Red Velvet Swing") while still a teen. When Nesbit became pregnant in 1902 at age seventeen, the nineteen year old Barrymore offered to marry her, but the other "love" in her life, Stanford White, arranged for Nesbit to undergo an illegal abortion in a private clinic.

    • John Barrymore was played by his old friend Errol Flynn, in the biographical film about the downfall of his daughter, Diana Barrymore, in the 1958 film, "Too Much, Too Soon".

    • John Barrymore was married four times (Katherine Corri Harris, Blanche Oelrichs, Delores Costello, and Elaine Barrie). All four of Mr. Barrymore's marriages ended in divorce.

    • John Barrymore was the only one of the famous Barrymore siblings of John, Ethel, and Lionel, not to be nominated for or to win an Academy Award.

    • One of the more bizarre tales in Hollywood history is the "borrowing" of John Barrymore's body after his demise by Raoul Walsh and a couple of compatriots to salute Barrymore one last time with a drink. Barrymore's body was taken to the home of fellow rabble rouser and close friend, Errol Flynn. There Barrymore was propped up in a chair and left to surprise Flynn. Flynn walked in and nearly suffered a coronary. Flynn was later to remark that, that was one night in his life that he went to bed sober. Walsh and friends saluted Barrymore one last time and returned the body to the funeral home.

    • John Barrymore was nicknamed Jack and "The Great Profile".

    • John Barrymore and his equally famous siblings, Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore, only worked together in one film, "Rasputin And The Empress", in 1932.

    • John was the brother of the actors Ethel and Lionel Barrymore.

    • John is the father to Diana Barrymore and John Drew Barrymore.

    • John was the grandfather of Drew Barrymore.

    • John was 5' 9" (1.75 m)

    • He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Mr. Barrymore's star is located at 6667 Hollywood Blvd.

  • Quotes