JOHN BARRYMORE Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: John Sidney Blyth                                                                   
Born: 15 February 1882 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania                                         
Died: 29 May 1942 Los Angeles, California                                                 
John Sidney Blyth Barrymore (February 15, 1882 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania –           
May 29, 1942 in Los Angeles, California), was an American actor.                           
He gained fame as a stage actor, lauded for his portrayals of Hamlet and Richard           
III, and is frequently called the greatest actor of his generation. He was the             
brother of Lionel Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore, and the grandfather of Drew               
Barrymore was born into an illustrious theatrical family. His parents were                 
Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew. His maternal grandmother was Louisa Lane             
Drew (aka Mrs Drew), a prominent and well respected 19th century actress and               
theater manager, who instilled in John, his sister Ethel & brother Lionel the             
ways of acting & theatre life. John's classic nose and distinguished features             
won him the nickname "The Great Profile." John fondly remembered the summer of             
1896 in his youth spent on Maurice's rambling farm on Long Island. He , Lionel             
and a black cook named Edward lived a Robinson Crusoe existence in which John             
said that Edward never made him or Lionel make their beds or wash the dishes and           
Edward was always able to cook up a hearty meal from nothing. 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.                     
A notorious ladies' man, he courted showgirl Evelyn Nesbit in 1901 and 1902.               
When Nesbit became pregnant -- she aged 17 and he 19 -- 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.               
He was staying at the St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco when the 1906                     
earthquake struck. He had starred in a production of The Dictator and was booked           
to sail to Australia to tour with it. Since he loathed this prospect, he decided           
to disappear, spending the next few days drinking at the home of a friend on Van           
Ness Avenue. "During his drinking jag, he had worked out a plan to exploit the             
earthquake for his own ends. He decided to present himself as an on-the-scene "reporter"   
of what had really happened in San Francisco. The one discrepancy between John             
Barrymore's "report" and those written by others involved in the disaster was             
that the actor made up virtually all he claimed to have seen. Twenty years later           
Barrymore finally confessed to his deception. But by then he was so famous that           
the world merely smiled indulgently at his admission." His account was                     
written as a "letter to my sister Ethel. He was sure the letter would be "worth           
at least a hundred dollars." In terms of publicity it earned Barrymore a                   
thousand times that amount.