John Barrymore (born John Sidney Blyth; February 14 or 15, 1882 –
May 29, 1942)[a] was an American actor on stage, screen and radio. A
member of the Drew and Barrymore theatrical families, he initially
tried to avoid the stage, and briefly attempted a career as an artist,
but appeared on stage together with his father Maurice in 1900, and
then his sister Ethel the following year. He began his career in 1903
and first gained attention as a stage actor in light comedy, then high
drama, culminating in productions of Justice (1916), Richard III
Hamlet (1922); his portrayal of
Hamlet led to him being
called the "greatest living American tragedian".
After a success as
Hamlet in London in 1925, Barrymore left the stage
for 14 years and instead focused entirely on films. In the silent film
era, he was well received in such pictures as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
(1920), Sherlock Holmes (1922) and
The Sea Beast
The Sea Beast (1926). During this
period, he gained his nickname, the Great Profile. His stage-trained
voice proved an asset when sound films were introduced, and three of
his works, Grand Hotel (1932), Twentieth Century (1934) and Midnight
(1939) have been inducted into the National Film Registry.
Barrymore's personal life has been the subject of much attention
before and since his death. He struggled with alcohol abuse from the
age of 14, was married and divorced four times, and declared
bankruptcy later in life. Much of his later work involved self-parody
and the portrayal of drunken has-beens. His obituary in The Washington
Post observed that "with the passing of the years – and as his
private life became more public – he became, despite his genius
in the theater, a tabloid character." Although film historians have
opined that Barrymore's "contribution to the art of cinematic acting
began to fade" after the mid-1930s, Barrymore's biographer, Martin
Norden, considers him to be "perhaps the most influential and idolized
actor of his day".
1.1 Early life: 1882–1903
1.2 Early stage career: 1903–13
1.3 Entry into motion pictures, and theatrical triumphs: 1913–24
1.4 Films with the major studios: 1924–32
1.5 Years of transition: 1932–36
1.6 Decline and death: 1936–42
3 Portrayals and characterizations
4 Notes and references
5 External links
Early life: 1882–1903
Maurice and Georgiana, Barrymore's parents
Barrymore was born John Sidney Blyth in Philadelphia, and was known by
family and friends as "Jack". Although the
Barrymore family bible
puts his date of birth as February 15, 1882, his birth certificate
shows February 14. He was the youngest of three children. His
siblings were Lionel (1878-1954), and Ethel (1879-1959). His father
was Maurice Barrymore, an Indian-born British actor who had been born
Herbert Blyth, and had adopted Barrymore as a stage name after seeing
it on a poster in the
Haymarket Theatre in London. Barrymore's
mother, Georgie Drew Barrymore, was born into a prominent theatrical
family. Barrymore's maternal grandparents were Louisa Lane Drew, a
well-known 19th-century American actress and the manager of the Arch
Street Theatre, and John Drew, also an actor whose specialty was
comedy.[b] Barrymore's maternal uncles were two more thespians, John
Drew, Jr. and Sidney.
Much of Barrymore's early life was unsettled. In October 1882, the
family toured in the US for a season with Polish actress Helena
Modjeska. The following year his parents toured again with Modjeska
but left the children behind. Modjeska was influential in the
family, and she insisted that all three children be baptized into the
Catholic Church. In 1884 the family traveled to London as part of
Augustin Daly's theatrical company, returning to the US two years
later. As a child, Barrymore was sometimes badly behaved, and he
was sent away to schools in an attempt to instill discipline. The
strategy was not always successful, and he attended elementary schools
in four states. He was sent first to the boys' annex of the
Convent of Notre Dame in Philadelphia. One punishment that he received
there was being made to read a copy of Dante's Inferno; he later
recounted that, as he looked at the illustrations by Gustave Doré,
"my interest was aroused, and a new urge was born within me. I wanted
to be an artist". He was expelled from the school in 1891 and was
Seton Hall Preparatory School
Seton Hall Preparatory School in New Jersey, where Lionel was
already studying. Barrymore was unhappy at Seton and was soon
withdrawn, after which he attended several public schools in New York,
including the Mount Pleasant Military Academy.
In 1892, his grandmother Louisa Drew's business began to suffer, and
she lost control of her theater, causing disruption in the family. The
following year, when Barrymore was 11 years old, his mother died from
tuberculosis; her consistent touring and his absence at school meant
that he barely knew her, and he was mostly raised by his
grandmother. The loss of their mother's income prompted both Ethel
and Lionel to seek work as professional actors. Barrymore's father
was mostly absent from the family home while on tour, and when he
returned he would spend time at The Lambs, a New York actors'
In 1895, Barrymore entered Georgetown Preparatory School, then located
on Georgetown University Campus, but he was expelled in November 1897,
probably after being caught waiting in a brothel. One of his
biographers, Michael A. Morrison, posits the alternate theory that
Barrymore was expelled after the staff saw him inebriated. By the
time he left Georgetown he was, according to Martin Norden in his
biography of Barrymore, "already in the early stages of a chronic
drinking problem".[c] 1897 was an emotionally challenging year for
Barrymore: he lost his virginity when he was seduced by his
step-mother, Mamie Floyd,[d] and in August his grandmother, the
main female role model in his life, died.
Barrymore traveled with his father to England in 1898, where he joined
King's College School, Wimbledon. A year later he joined the Slade
School of Fine Art, to study literature and art. After a year of
formal study, he left and "devoted much of his subsequent stay in
London to bohemianism and nocturnal adventures", according to his
biographer Margot Peters. Barrymore returned to New York in the
summer of 1900, and by November he found work as an illustrator on The
New York Evening Journal, at a salary of $50 a week.
Ethel in Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines; Barrymore appeared with
his sister in the 1901 play.
Barrymore had always professed a dislike of the acting profession, but
in 1900 he was persuaded by his father to join him on stage for a few
performances of a short play, "A Man of the World". He appeared in the
same piece again the following year, but he still thought of the
experience as merely a way to supplement his income, rather than as a
possible future career. In October 1901, Ethel was appearing in
Philadelphia in Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines when one of the
younger actors became temporarily unavailable. She persuaded the
director to allow Barrymore to accept the part of the minor character,
and Barrymore traveled from New York, learning his lines on the train.
In the first act, he stopped in the middle of his dialogue, unable to
remember the text, and asked the audience and his fellow actors, "I've
blown up. Where do we go from here?", which led the cast to improvise
the remainder of the scene.
An incident in 1901 had a major impact on Barrymore. In March, his
father had a mental breakdown as a result of tertiary syphilis, and
Barrymore took him to Bellevue hospital. He was later
transferred to a private institution in Amityville, Long Island, where
he suffered a "rapid descent into madness".[e] The Encyclopedia of
World Biography states that Barrymore was constantly "haunted by the
bright and dark spell of his father", and his close friend Gene
Fowler reported that "the bleak overtone of this breaking of his
parent's reason never quite died away in Barrymore's mind, and he was
haunted by fears he would suffer the same fate". The same year,
Barrymore began an affair with a beautiful artists' model, "Florodora
girl" and aspiring actress named Evelyn Nesbit, who was a mistress of
architect Stanford White. Barrymore later described Nesbit as "the
most maddening woman. ... She was the first woman I ever loved",
and he proposed marriage to her. Nesbit's mother did not think that,
as a struggling artist, Barrymore was a good match for her daughter.
To break off their relationship her mother sent Nesbit away to school
in New Jersey. In 1906, White was shot in public by Nesbit's
Pittsburgh millionaire Harry K. Thaw. Barrymore expected
to testify at Thaw's murder trial on the issue of Nesbit's morality;
he worried that he might be asked whether he had arranged for Nesbit
to have an abortion, disguised as an appendectomy, even though Nesbit
had undergone two previous "appendectomies". Barrymore was never
called as a witness because Thaw pleaded not guilty by reason of
In May 1902, Barrymore was fired from his newspaper position after
producing a poor illustration for the paper while hung over. He spent
time as a poster designer but realized it was not lucrative enough for
his lifestyle, which was being partly financed by Ethel, who was also
paying for their father's care. While discussing his future with
his brother, Barrymore said "it looks as though I'll have to succumb
to the family curse, acting", and he later admitted that "there
isn't any romance about how I went on stage. ... I needed the
Early stage career: 1903–13
(l to r) Barrymore with his sister Ethel and brother Lionel in
Barrymore began to contact his family's theatrical connections to find
work and approached Charles Frohman, who had been the producer of
Captain Jinks and had also been an employer of Barrymore's mother
Georgie a decade earlier. Frohman thought that Barrymore had comedic
potential but needed more experience before making a Broadway
debut. Barrymore joined the company of McKee Rankin, Sidney Drew's
father-in-law, on the Chicago leg of their tour, at the W. S.
Cleveland Theatre in October 1903. He first played the minor role of
Lt. Max von Wendlowski in Magda, and in November when the troupe
produced Leah the Forsaken, he took the small part of Max, a village
idiot with one spoken line.
A year later Barrymore appeared in his first Broadway production, in a
small role in the comedy Glad of It, which only had a short run.
Afterwards he played the role of Charles Hyne in the farce The
Dictator at the Criterion Theatre, which starred William Collier.
During the play's run and subsequent tour across the US, Collier
became a mentor to the young actor, although his patience was
continually tested by Barrymore's drinking, which led to occasional
missed performances, drunken stage appearances, and general
misbehavior. Collier taught Barrymore much about acting, including
coaching him in comic timing, but "at times regretted his sponsorship"
of his apprentice. In March 1905, while The Dictator was playing
in Buffalo, Barrymore's father died in Amityville and was buried at
Glenwood Cemetery in Philadelphia. At the close of the US tour,
The Dictator visited Britain from April 1905, where it played at the
Comedy Theatre. The critic for
The Observer wrote that Barrymore
"admirably seconded" Collier.
When he returned to America, Barrymore appeared at the Criterion
Theatre in a double bill of works by J. M. Barrie; he played a clown
in Pantaloon opposite his brother, and Stephen Rollo in Alice
Sit-by-the-Fire opposite his sister. Both plays ran for 81
performances from December 1905, and then went on tour.
Barrymore continued drinking and lacked discipline, which affected his
performances. Ethel was angry with her brother and had the producers
fire him from the show, but re-hire him the following day, to teach
him a lesson. After a tour of the US and Australia with Collier in
On the Quiet
On the Quiet and The Dictator, Barrymore joined his sister in the 1907
comedy His Excellency the Governor at the Empire Theatre.[g] He
received mixed reviews for his performances, and The Wichita Daily
Eagle commented that "Barrymore seems to imitate John Drew too much
ever to be a good actor. Why doesn't young Barrymore imitate a real
actor if he must copy someone."
Barrymore with his first wife, actress Katherine Corri Harris, in 1911
Barrymore gained his first leading role in early 1907, in the comedy
The Boys of Company B at the Lyceum Theatre. Although he was well
received by the critics –
The Washington Post
The Washington Post noted that "his
work has been pronounced astonishingly clever by the critics wherever
he played" – at times he continued his unprofessional stage
behavior, which led to a rebuke from John Drew, who attended a
performance. After a short run in Toddles at the Garrick Theatre,
Barrymore was given the lead role of Mac in A Stubborn Cinderella,
both on tour and at the Broadway Theatre in Boston. He had previously
been earning $50 a week during his sporadic employment but now enjoyed
a wage increase to $175.[h] He briefly appeared in The Candy Shop in
mid-1909, before he played the lead role in Winchell Smith's play The
Fortune Hunter at the Gaiety Theatre in September the same year. It
was his longest-held role, running for 345 performances until May
1911, initially at the Gaiety Theatre in New York, and then on
tour. The critic for
The New York Times
The New York Times thought the play was,
"acted with fine comedy spirit by John Barrymore ... [who] gave
indisputable signs last night of grown and growing powers."
In mid-1910 Barrymore met socialite Katherine Corri Harris, and the
couple married in September that year. Harris' father objected to the
relationship and refused to attend the wedding. Shortly after the
ceremony, The Dictator went on tour, and Harris was given a small role
in the play. According to Peters, Barrymore "began to think of his
marriage as a 'bus accident'". Film critic
Hollis Alpert wrote
that, within a week of the wedding, Katherine was complaining that she
saw her new husband too infrequently. Barrymore's increasing
dependence on alcohol was also a cause of marital problems, and he
explained that "unhappiness increased the drink, and drink increased
Barrymore's drawing of himself and Ethel in A Slice of Life, 1912
Barrymore's next two plays – Uncle Sam and Princess Zim-Zim,
both from 1911 – were critically and commercially weak, but the
second work introduced him to playwright Edward Sheldon, who would
"reshape ... [Barrymore's] entire career". In January 1912,
Barrymore appeared together with his sister in A Slice of Life at the
Empire Theatre on Broadway, which ran for 48 performances. Charles
Darnton, a critic for The Evening World, observed that "Barrymore
takes delight in 'kidding' his part not only to the limit, but perhaps
beyond". A review in
The Washington Times
The Washington Times stated that "Barrymore
inimitably imitates his uncle John Drew".
Barrymore may have appeared in his first films in 1912. In four short
films, a cast member is listed as "Jack Barrymore"; this is probably
John Barrymore, although Norden notes that "we may never know for
certain if [these] are in fact Barrymore movies." The four films
were Dream of a Motion Picture Director, The Widow Casey's Return, A
Prize Package (all 1912) and One on Romance (1913). The films were
produced by the Philadelphia-based
Lubin Manufacturing Company
Lubin Manufacturing Company and
were lost in an explosion and fire at the Lubin vaults in 1914.
In July 1912, Barrymore went to Los Angeles, where he appeared in
three short-running plays at the Belasco Theatre.[i] He returned to
New York in October, where he took the lead role in 72 performances of
The Affairs of Anatol
The Affairs of Anatol at the Little Theatre. Although the
critical response was lukewarm, Barrymore's salary for the play
was $600 a week.[j] He began the following year by appearing in a
short run of A Thief for a Night in McVicker's Theatre, Chicago,
before returning to New York, and the Thirty-Ninth St. Theatre, for a
two-month run in Believe Me Xantippe.
Entry into motion pictures, and theatrical triumphs: 1913–24
Barrymore in the 1914 romantic comedy An American Citizen, his first
In late 1913, Barrymore made his first confirmed feature film, the
romantic comedy An American Citizen, with Adolph Zukor's Famous
Players Film Company. When the film was released in January 1914,
Barrymore "delighted movie audiences with an inimitable light touch
that made a conventional romance 'joyous'," writes Peters. A
reviewer for The Oregon Daily Journal thought that Barrymore gave a
"portrayal of unusual quality". The success of the picture led to
further film work, including
The Man from Mexico
The Man from Mexico (1914), Are You a
Mason?, The Dictator and
The Incorrigible Dukane
The Incorrigible Dukane (all 1915). Except
for The Incorrigible Dukane, all of these early films are presumed
Despite the film work and the higher fees he earned from it, Barrymore
continued to seek stage work, and in January 1914 he played the lead
The Yellow Ticket
The Yellow Ticket at New York's Eltinge Theatre. The role marked a
departure from the light comedy of his previous performances, a result
of Sheldon urging him to turn towards more dramatic parts. The Yellow
Ticket was not the breakthrough that Barrymore wanted. A few months
before the outbreak of World War One, he took a vacation to Italy with
Sheldon to enjoy a temporary break from his worsening marriage. He
returned from Italy and accepted another serious stage role, that of
an ex-convict in Kick In, at New York's Longacre Theatre. The play
was a success, and Barrymore received praise from the critics; The New
York Times reviewer thought that in a play that had "uncommonly able
and sincere playing", Barrymore acted his role with "intelligence and
vigor and impart[ed] to it a deal of charm".
Barrymore spent the second half of 1915 making three films, including
The Red Widow, which he called "the worst film I ever made" in his
1926 autobiography.[k] In April 1916, he starred in John
Galsworthy's prison drama Justice, again at the instigation of
Sheldon. The play was a critical success, and The New York Times
thought the audience saw "Barrymore play as he had never played
before, and so, by his work as the wretched prisoner in Justice, step
forward into a new position on the American stage." The critic went on
to say that Barrymore gave "an extraordinary performance in every
detail of appearance and manner, in every note of deep
feeling ... a superb performance."
Blanche Oelrichs, Barrymore's second wife, mother of Diana Barrymore,
who published poetry under the pseudonym Michael Strange
From early 1916, Barrymore had been living apart from Katherine, and
she sued for divorce in November 1916.[l] By the time the divorce
was finalized in December 1917, he had taken the lead role in the film
Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman. He had also tried to enlist in the
U.S. Army following the country's entry into World War I, but
Army doctors revealed that he had varicose veins, and he was not
accepted for military service. For over a year beginning in April
1917, he appeared together with Lionel in a stage version of George du
Maurier's 1891 novel Peter Ibbetson. The play and the two Barrymores
were warmly regarded by the critics. Around this time, Barrymore
began a relationship with a married mother of two, Blanche Oelrichs, a
suffragist from an elite Rhode Island family with what Peters calls
"anarchistic self-confidence". Oelrichs also published poetry
under the name Michael Strange. While their relationship began in
secret, it became more open after Oelrichs' husband was commissioned
into the army and then posted to France.
Both Oelrichs and Sheldon urged Barrymore to take on his next role,
Fedya Vasilyevich Protasov, in Leo Tolstoy's play Redemption at the
Plymouth Theatre. The critic for
The New York Times
The New York Times felt that,
although Barrymore's performance was "marred by vocal monotony",
overall the performance was "a distinct step forward in Mr.
Barrymore's artistic development ... There is probably not
another actor on our stage who has a temperament so fine and
spiritual, an art so flexible and sure." In 1918, Barrymore
starred in the romantic comedy film On the Quiet; the Iowa City
Press-Citizen considered the film superior to the original Broadway
Barrymore as Jekyll (left) and Hyde (right) in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
In 1919, Barrymore portrayed a struggling lawyer in the film
adaptation of the Broadway show Here Comes the Bride, which he
followed with The Test of Honor. The latter film marked his first
straight dramatic role on screen after years of performing in comedy
dramas. Later that year, when Barrymore again appeared on stage
with Lionel in Sem Benelli's historical drama The Jest, audience
members "agree[d] that the American stage had never witnessed finer
acting", according to Peters. Alexander Woollcott, writing in The
New York Times, thought that "John and
Lionel Barrymore hold
spellbound each breathless audience", and he commented that
Barrymore "contributes to that appeal by every step, every hand, every
posture of a body grown unexpectedly eloquent in recent years". In
November, Barrymore began filming Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, playing the
dual leading role, and the film was released in theaters the following
year. Wid's Daily thought that "it is the star's picture from the
very outset, and it is the star that makes it", going on to say that
Barrymore's portrayal was "a thing of fine shadows and violent
The Washington Post
The Washington Post was in agreement, and considered
the performance to be "a masterpiece", and "a remarkable piece of
work". The film was so successful that the US Navy used stills of
Barrymore in its recruiting posters.
After planning for over a year – largely in secret –
Barrymore played his first Shakespeare part, the title role in Richard
III. Conscious of the criticism of his vocal range, he underwent
training with Margaret Carrington, the voice and diction trainer, to
ensure he sounded right for the part, and the pair worked together
daily for up to six hours a day for six weeks. After the debut in
March 1920, the critics were effusive in their praise. The Washington
Herald observed that the audience were "held by the sheer power of
Barrymore's performance", which was "remarkable for ... [the
actor's] unexpected vocal richness", while Woollcott, in The New
York Times, thought the performance "marked a measurable advance in
the gradual process of bringing [Barrymore's] technical fluency
abreast with his winged imagination and his real genius for the
Violet Kemble-Cooper in the 1921 play Clair de Lune
Although a commercial and critical success, the play closed after 31
performances when Barrymore collapsed, suffering a nervous breakdown.
Since appearing in Redemption he had worked ceaselessly, appearing on
stage in the evenings, while planning or rehearsing the next
production during the day, and by the time he appeared as Richard, he
was spending his daytimes filming Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He spent
six weeks recuperating under the ministrations of his father's friend,
wrestler William Muldoon, who ran a sanitarium. During the summer
of 1920, Oelrichs became pregnant with Barrymore's child, and a quick
divorce was arranged with her husband, which left her and Barrymore
free to marry in August that year; a daughter, Diana Barrymore,
followed in March 1921.[m] Soon after the birth, he began
rehearsals for Clair de Lune, which his wife had adapted from Victor
Hugo's 1869 novel The Man Who Laughs. Barrymore persuaded Ethel to
play the role of the Queen – it was the first time the two had
appeared on stage together in over a decade. The play was a critical
flop, although the presence of the siblings ensured that it ran for
over 60 performances.
In 1921, Barrymore portrayed a wealthy Frenchman in New York in the
film The Lotus Eater, with Colleen Moore. In September, Barrymore
and Oelrichs went to Europe on holiday; cracks were appearing in their
relationship, and she fell in love with a poet during their extended
stay in Venice. In October, Oelrichs returned to New York and
Barrymore traveled to London to film the exterior scenes for his
latest movie, Sherlock Holmes, in which he played the title role. He
then returned to New York to work on the film's interior scenes in
January 1922. Barrymore became involved in the pre-production
work for the film and provided designs for Moriarty's lair. The film
was released later that year and was generally thought "a little
dull and ponderous, with too many intertitles", although James W.
Dean of The Evening News of Harrisburg opined that "the personality of
Barrymore is the film's transcendent quality".
Barrymore decided next to star in
Hamlet on stage, with Arthur Hopkins
directing. They spent six months preparing, cutting over 1,250 lines
from the text as they did so, and Barrymore opted to play
Hamlet as "a
man's man", according to Norden. Barrymore later described his Hamlet
as a "normal, healthy, lusty young fellow who simply got into a mess
that was too thick for him ... he was a great fencer, an athlete,
a man who led an active, healthy life. How can you make a sickly
half-wit out of a man like that?" Barrymore again used Carrington
as a vocal coach; rehearsals started in October, and the play opened
on November 16. The production was a box-office success, and the
critics were lavish in their praise. Woollcott, writing for the New
York Herald, opined that it was "an evening that will be memorable in
the history of the American theater". while John Corbin, the
drama critic for The New York Times, agreed, writing that "in all
likelihood we have a new and a lasting Hamlet". The reviewer for
Brooklyn Life stated that Barrymore had "doubtless won the right to be
called the greatest living American tragedian". In 1963, Orson
Welles said that Barrymore was the best
Hamlet he had seen, describing
the character as "not so much princely – he was a man of genius
who happened to be a prince, and he was tender, and virile, and witty,
Barrymore and Hopkins decided to end the run at 101 performances, just
breaking the record of one hundred by Edwin Booth, before the play
closed in February 1923.[n] In November and December that year, a
three-week run of the play was staged at the Manhattan Opera House,
followed by a brief tour that closed at the end of January 1924.
Films with the major studios: 1924–32
News of Barrymore's success in
Hamlet piqued the interest of Warner
Bros., which signed him as the lead in the 1924 film Beau
Brummel. Unhappy in his marriage, Barrymore – aged 40 at
the time – sought solace elsewhere and had an affair with his
Mary Astor during filming. Although the film
was not an unqualified success, the cast, including Barrymore,
was generally praised. Around this time, Barrymore acquired
the nickname "the Great Profile", as posters and photographs of him
tended to favor the left-hand side. He later said: "The right side of
my face looks like a fried egg. The left side has features that are to
be found in almost any normal anthropological specimen, and those are
the apples I try to keep on top of the barrel."
Barrymore, as Captain Ahab Ceeley in
The Sea Beast
The Sea Beast (1926)
In February 1925, Barrymore staged
Hamlet in London at the Haymarket
Theatre, which the Manchester Guardian later said had "the most
memorable first night for years". The reviews were positive, and
"although none of the London critics found Barrymore superior to
[Henry] Irving and [Johnston] Forbes-Robertson, many were favorable in
their comparisons". Among the audience members was the
20-year-old actor John Gielgud, who wrote in his program "Barrymore is
romantic in appearance and naturally gifted with grace, looks and a
capacity to wear period clothes, which makes his brilliantly
intellectual performance classical without being unduly severe, and he
has tenderness, remoteness, and neurosis all placed with great
delicacy and used with immense effectiveness and admirable
judgment". Looking back in the 1970s, he said: "The handsome
middle-aged stars of the Edwardian theatre romanticised the part. Even
John Barrymore, whose
Hamlet I admired very much, cut the play
outrageously so that he could, for instance, play the closet scene all
out for sentiment with the emphasis on the 'Oedipus complex' –
sobbing on Gertrude's bosom. Yet Barrymore ... had a wonderful
edge and a demonic sense of humour."
At the end of this run of Hamlet, Barrymore traveled to Paris, where
Oelrichs had stayed during his residence in London, but the reunion
was not a happy one and the couple argued frequently. When he returned
to America, she remained in Paris, and the couple drew up a
separation agreement that provided Oelrichs with $18,000 a year and
stated that neither could sue for divorce on the grounds of
adultery. While he had been in London, Warner Bros and Barrymore
entered into a contact for three further films at a salary of $76,250
per picture.[o] He later claimed that his motivation for moving
from stage to films was the "lack of repetition—the continual
playing of a part, which is so ruinous to an actor, is entirely
Dolores Costello in 1926; she was Barrymore's co-star in The Sea Beast
and, later, his third wife.
Barrymore's first film under the contract was
The Sea Beast
The Sea Beast (1926),
loosely based on the 1851 novel Moby-Dick, in which he played Captain
Ahab Ceeley. This was one of the biggest money-makers of the year for
Warner Bros. Although Barrymore wanted Astor to play the female
lead, she was unavailable, and
Dolores Costello was cast in her place.
He later said that "I fell in love with her instantly. This time I
knew I was right", and the couple began an affair. Costello's father
was angered by the relationship, but his complaints were ignored by
both Costello and her mother: Costello's parents separated and were
divorced as a result. The film was well received by critics, and
Mordaunt Hall, the film critic of The New York Times, praised the
"energy, earnestness and virility" Barrymore displayed in the role of
As filming finished on The Sea Beast, work began on Don Juan, the
first feature-length film with synchronized
Vitaphone sound effects
and a musical soundtrack. Although Barrymore wanted to play
opposite Costello again, Jack L. Warner, the film's producer, signed
Astor. After completing his
Warner Bros. contract with When a Man
Loves, with Costello, Barrymore joined
United Artists (UA) under a
three-film deal. For the next three years, according to Morrison, he
"enjoyed unprecedented prosperity and spent lavishly".[p]
Nevertheless, he received some harsh reviews. Critic and essayist
Stark Young wrote in
The New Republic
The New Republic that Barrymore's films were
"rotten, vulgar, empty, in bad taste, dishonest, noisome with a silly
and unwholesome exhibitionism, and odious with a kind of stale and
degenerate studio adolescence. Their appeal is cheap, cynical and
In 1927, Barrymore planned to revive
Hamlet at the Hollywood Bowl, but
in August he canceled the production, without explanation, and began
filming the third of the UA pictures, Eternal Love, for which he was
paid $150,000.[q] In February 1928, Barrymore obtained a quiet
divorce from Oelrichs; she eagerly agreed to the separation, as she
was in a relationship with a lawyer, Harrison Tweed, whom she later
married. Barrymore and Costello married in November that year; their
daughter, Dolores, was born in April 1930 and a son, John Drew
Barrymore, followed in June 1932. Barrymore purchased and
converted an estate in the Hollywood Hills into 16 different buildings
with 55 rooms, gardens, skeet ranges, swimming pools, fountains and a
(l to r), Marian Marsh,
Bramwell Fletcher and Barrymore in Svengali
By the late 1920s, sound films had become common, following the 1927
sensation, The Jazz Singer. Actors with trained voices were in demand
by the studios, and Barrymore was offered a five-film deal with Warner
Bros. at $150,000 per picture, and a share of the profits. Before he
began this contract, he played his first speaking role on film: a
one-off section in
The Show of Shows
The Show of Shows (1929), playing Richard, Duke of
Gloucester in Henry VI, Part 3. His first two films under
General Crack and The Man from Blankley's, each of which
were modestly successful.[r] As he had been frustrated at the
inability of making
The Sea Beast
The Sea Beast as a sound film, Barrymore returned
to Moby Dick as the source for a 1930 film of the same name. Peters
thinks little of the film, describing it as "a seesaw between the
cosmic and the comic, a travesty of Melville as well as a silly film
all on its own".
The following year, Barrymore played the title role of a manipulative
voice coach in Svengali, opposite Marian Marsh. Martin Dickstein, the
critic for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, wrote that Barrymore "registers a
personal triumph in the role", calling his performance
"brilliant ... one of the best of his movie career". Later
in 1931, he played a crippled puppeteer, who tries to fulfill his
frustrated ambitions by manipulating the life of a young male ballet
dancer and the dancer's lover (also Marsh) in The Mad Genius; the film
was a commercial failure. With disappointing box office returns
from their five-film deal,
Warner Bros. decided not to offer Barrymore
a contract renewal. Instead, Barrymore signed a non-exclusive contract
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and took a $25,000 salary cut per
Years of transition: 1932–36
Barrymore's first film for MGM was the 1932 mystery Arsène Lupin, in
which he co-starred with his brother Lionel. In The New York Times,
Hall called Barrymore's performance "admirable" and wrote that "it is
a pleasure to see [him] again in something in a lighter vein."
The same year, Barrymore starred as jewel thief Baron Felix von
Geigern together with
Greta Garbo in the 1932 film Grand Hotel, in
which Lionel also appeared. Critical opinion of Barrymore's acting was
divided; John Gilbert's biographer
Eve Golden refers to Barrymore as
seeming "more like ... [Garbo's] affectionate father than her
lover", while George Blaisdell of International Photographer
praised the dialogue and wrote that a viewer would be "deeply
impressed with the rarity in screen drama on which he is
looking." Grand Hotel won the
Academy Award for Best Picture and
was one of the highest-grossing films of the year. It was later
added to the National Film Registry.
Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel (1932)
In 1932, Barrymore appeared in three films. For
RKO Pictures he played
a borderline-alcoholic lawyer in State's Attorney, before he returned
to MGM to play an escaped lunatic in A Bill of Divorcement, opposite
Katharine Hepburn in her screen debut. Film scholar Daniel Bernardi
later noted the humanism demonstrated between Barrymore's character
and his family, particularly the "close bond" between father and
daughter. In his final film of the year, Rasputin and the
Empress, Barrymore, Ethel and Lionel co-starred. Physically,
Barrymore had deteriorated since filming Svengali, and he had gained
weight because of his drinking. Peters notes the "dissipation of the
once ascetic face, a dissipation only underlined by the studio's
attempt to reconstruct with lights, filters and make-up a spiritual
beauty that had been corrupted." The film was a critical and
commercial failure, and MGM lost significant amounts of money. The New
Yorker thought the three Barrymores had produced their worst
The year 1933 was a busy one for Barrymore, and his decline began to
be evident. He appeared in five films during the year, including as a
meek schoolteacher-turned-businessman in Topaze, opposite Myrna Loy,
and Dinner at Eight, with Lionel. Peters opines that Barrymore's
portrayal of a washed-up alcoholic actor "could well have
fixed ... in the public's and MGM's mind that
John Barrymore was
a drunken has-been." After the run of films with MGM, the company
ended its contact with Barrymore amid its financial woes caused by the
Great Depression. He then signed with
Universal Studios to portray a
troubled Jewish lawyer in Counsellor at Law. During filming he
struggled to remember his lines for even small scenes. Filming was
stopped on one occasion after more than 25 takes when he struggled to
recall the right lines; it was a problem with which he began to suffer
regularly. Despite the problems, Norden believes that this was
"one of his best film performances".[s]
Carole Lombard on a lobby card for Twentieth Century
In December 1933, Barrymore agreed with RKO to film Hamlet. He
underwent screen tests and hired Carrington to act as vocal coach
again, but during one session, his memory failed him again, and the
project was eventually scrapped. Barrymore starred in two films
released in 1934, the drama
Long Lost Father
Long Lost Father and the screwball comedy
Twentieth Century. In the latter film, Barrymore played madcap
Broadway impresario Oscar Jaffe, a role in which he demonstrated a
"rare genius as a comedian". Morrison writes that the portrayal was
one "that many consider to be his finest contribution to film".
In 2011, the picture was added to the National Film Registry, where it
was described as Barrymore's "last great film role".
In May 1934, Barrymore was filming
Hat, Coat and Glove for RKO when,
during the filming of one scene, he again forgot his lines and even
the name of his character. Filming was postponed until the following
day, but the result was the same. After he took a break for a few
days, he returned to the set, but he still could not remember any of
the script, and RKO replaced him with Ricardo Cortez. Soon
afterwards, he suffered a mental and physical breakdown and was
hospitalized. Costello confirmed that his drinking over the previous
two years had worsened, and she described him as a "hopeless
alcoholic". Barrymore's relationship with Costello was deeply
troubled and, believing she was going to declare him mentally
incompetent, he left their home in Los Angeles and traveled first to
London and then to India. He returned to the US in early 1935 and
settled in New York, leaving his wife in Los Angeles. Shortly
after his return, he was hospitalized for a month with bronchitis and
influenza. A 19-year-old fan, Elaine Jacobs, visited him, and the two
became good friends. On his release from the hospital, her mother
invited him to recuperate at their house. She changed her name to
Elaine Barrie, which she explained was to get "as near to Barrymore as
I dared", and they began a relationship. In May, the couple
underwent the first of several professional collaborations, when they
appeared on Rudy Vallée's
The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour
The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour radio
The relationship was widely reported in the tabloid press, who labeled
Caliban and Ariel. Costello filed for divorce, but after a
series of arguments with Barrie, Barrymore considered the relationship
with Barrie to be at an end, and he left for Los Angeles. A newspaper
editor chartered a plane and flew Barrie to Chicago, to meet
Barrymore's train; she broadcast a plea for him to return, and her
pursuit became national news. Morrison thinks that the headlines
established a new reputation for Barrymore of "the aging satyr, the
has-been alcoholic, the much-married ham". This was a blow to his
self-respect, but he faced his troubles "with aplomb and a sense of
humor", according to Morrison. To escape from the spotlight,
Barrymore took vacations on his yacht; it cost him over
$35,000 a year to run, and so he sold it in 1938 after encountering
Decline and death: 1936–42
Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (1936). The three central
figures are (l to r) Barrymore, Leslie Howard and Basil Rathbone.
Barrymore's alcohol dependence meant most studios were unwilling to
employ him, but MGM risked casting him in the role of
their 1936 film Romeo and Juliet. To minimize disruption to the
schedule, the studio put Barrymore in Kelley's Rest Home, a sanatorium
for alcoholics, but he continued to drink covertly and was disruptive
on set. Basil Rathbone, who was playing Tybalt, later recounted that
"he was drinking and unreliable on the set ... It was sad to see
him in such a state." Opinions on his portrayal were divided.
Some critics, such as Welford Beaton of the Hollywood Spectator,
thought "Barrymore is an acting gem", although Gielgud was
uncomplimentary, writing to
Peggy Ashcroft that "Barrymore, who is
like a monstrous old male impersonator jumping through a hoop, should
really have been shot."
Word about Barrymore's problems on and off the set spread around the
industry, and he did not work on another film for over a year, when he
had a supporting role in the musical film Maytime. His divorce from
Costello was finalized in October 1936, and he married Barrie in
November the same year. The couple had a heated argument in public
shortly afterwards, and he again spent time in Kelley's Rest Home and
hospital, which cost him an average of $800 daily, draining his
finances. When he came out, he collapsed on the Maytime set. On
January 15, 1937, he was served with divorce papers, and a month later
he filed for bankruptcy protection, with debts of $160,000.[t]
The divorce was granted in April, but the couple reconciled before it
Barrymore decided to work on more Shakespeare roles. In June 1937, he
signed up with NBC Radio to produce a series of six episodes under the
name Streamlined Shakespeare, which also featured Barrie. The first
program was Hamlet, which was well received by critics. The New York
Times commented that "Shakespeare's lines uttered dramatically by the
John Barrymore sweep through the 'ether' with a sound of
finality; it seems that they are his words and no one else could speak
them with such lifelike force". Peters disagrees however,
and considers that "because he was desperate he pressed too hard and
ended by caricaturing, not capturing, his great Shakespearean
Barrymore in Marie Antoinette (1938): during filming he used cue cards
as a memory aid.
Throughout the NBC series, Barrymore had been reliable, sober and
responsible, and the studios reacted positively with offers of work.
This led to appearances in nine films in 1937 and 1938, including as
Colonel Nielson in three
Bulldog Drummond films, and roles in True
Confession and Marie Antoinette.[v] He was offered predominantly
supporting roles, but he worked conscientiously on the films and as a
consequence was able to honor his debts. His memory was still
problematic, and he used cue cards as an aid; his fellow actors and
the directors of the films were sympathetic to his condition. When he
filmed his last serious role, Gregory Vance in the 1939 film The Great
Man Votes, the director, Garson Kanin, ensured that the cast and crew
addressed him as "Mr. Barrymore" as a mark of respect.
(l to r), Fred MacMurray,
Carole Lombard and Barrymore in True
Barrymore and his wife both appeared in supporting roles in the 1939
screwball comedy Midnight, her only film role. The New York Times
thought the film was "one of the liveliest, gayest, wittiest and
naughtiest comedies of a long hard season" and that Barrymore, "the
[Lou] Gehrig of eye-brow batting, rolls his phrases with his usual
richly humorous effect". The film was inducted into the National
Film Registry in 2013. Barrymore and his wife appeared together
in the stage farce My Dear Children, which opened in March 1939 at
Princeton University's McCarter Theatre. He played the lead role,
Allan Manville, an ageing hammy Shakespearean has-been. Because
of his failing memory, Barrymore ad-libbed constantly throughout the
show. In some points the new additions were an improvement, but he
also greeted friends in the audience, and used profanities
freely. Nevertheless, the show was a success. Life magazine wrote
that "People flock to see [Barrymore], not for polished performance,
but because he converts the theater into a rowdy histrionic madhouse.
Sometimes he arrives late. Sometimes he is tight. Usually he forgets
his lines. But he always puts on a great show." When the show
reached Broadway, Life wrote that "Barrymore's return to Times Square
was a huge professional triumph". Brooks Atkinson, writing for
The New York Times
The New York Times thought that Barrymore was "still the most gifted
actor in this country. ... Although he has recklessly played the
fool for a number of years, he is nobody's fool in My Dear Children
but a superbly gifted actor on a tired holiday." Barrymore and
his wife continued to argue during the play's run, and she left the
play part way through the tour. They attempted a reconciliation when
the production reached New York, but the couple divorced in late
In 1940, Barrymore appeared in The Great Profile, a spoof of his life
in the months prior to My Dear Children. Barrymore played Evans
Garrick, closely modeled on his own experience, and Mary Beth Hughes
played his wife. The critics reacted harshly to the film, and to
Barrymore's association with it.
The New York Times
The New York Times wrote that "As a
play it is a feeble thing, hardly matching the spectacular public
accounts of his amours ... for all of Mr. Barrymore's shenanigans
and devastating wit,
The Great Profile is more than a little pathetic.
In the Winter of his Discontent Mr. Barrymore is selling his talent at
cut-rate". In terms of his reputation, worse was to come in his
final film, Playmates (1941), which "amply illustrated the depths to
which he had fallen; he played an alcoholic Shakespearean ham named
In October 1940, Barrymore returned to the NBC Radio network to work
on Rudy Vallée's show, now called the Sealtest Show. Barrymore
recorded 74 episodes of the program, continuing in the vein of
self-parody, with jokes about his drinking, declining career and
marital issues. On May 19, 1942, while recording a line from Romeo and
Juliet for the show, Barrymore collapsed. He was taken to the
Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital and died there on May 29, from
cirrhosis of the liver and kidney failure, complicated by
pneumonia. Shortly before his death, Barrymore returned to the
faith of the Catholic Church. Although Errol Flynn's memoirs
claim that the film director
Raoul Walsh "borrowed" Barrymore's body
before burial to leave his corpse propped in a chair for a drunken
Flynn to discover when he returned home, Gene Fowler, a close
friend of Barrymore, stayed with the body all night and denies the
story. Barrymore was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles on June
2. In 1980, Barrymore's son had his father's body reinterred at
Philadelphia's Mount Vernon Cemetery.
John Barrymore on stage, screen and radio
Barrymore at the White House in January 1924, after meeting President
The New York Times
The New York Times obituary stated that during the period when
Barrymore's performed in Justice, Richard III and Hamlet, the actor
"was accepted by most critics as the foremost English-speaking actor
of his time ... equipped both by nature and by art." The
Washington Post agreed, noting that during his stage triumphs and
early years in film, "he was the great profile, the darling of the
'royal family' of the stage." Many of the obituaries made the point
that Barrymore fell short of his potential. The Manchester Guardian
thought that he "might with some self-discipline have added his name
to the list of truly great actors ... yet he dissipated his
The New York Times
The New York Times noted that he could twist his
abilities "to parody, burlesque himself and play the clown", and they
considered that it was "unfortunate that the public in recent years
saw him in ... [that] mood. It was a mood of careless
The Washington Post
The Washington Post observed that "with the passing
of the years – and as his private life became more
public – he became, despite his genius in the theater, a
According to Morrison, Barrymore's stage portrayals of Richard III and
Hamlet were a model for modern performances of these roles. His
interpretation along psychological lines was innovative, and his
"dynamic portrayals ... changed the direction of subsequent
revivals." Barrymore's natural acting style reversed the stage
conventions of the time; his " 'colloquial' verse speaking
introduced to the stage the vocal manner of a postwar gentleman."
Barrymore, drawn by John Singer Sargent, 1923
Barrymore was honored on few occasions by the entertainment industry
and its members. Although both his brother and sister won Academy
Awards, the only award Barrymore ever received for his screen work was
Rudolph Valentino in 1925 for Beau Brummel. Valentino created an
award in his own name and felt that his fellow actors should receive
accolades for their screen work. When Barrymore attended his
Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Grauman's Chinese Theatre in 1940, he left more than the
customary hand and footprints in the theater's forecourt: aided by the
owner, Sid Grauman, Barrymore left a cement imprint of his facial
profile. In February 1960, for his contribution to the motion
picture industry, Barrymore was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of
Fame with a star at 6667 Hollywood Boulevard; Barrymore, along
with his two siblings, is included in the American Theater Hall of
Fame. The Barrymore "Royal Family" of actors continued through
two of his children – his son with Costello, John Drew
Barrymore and his daughter with Oelrichs, Diana – both of whom
became actors, as did John Jr.'s daughter Drew. Barrymore's
brother Lionel died on November 15, 1954, and their sister Ethel
died on June 18, 1959.
Barrymore's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
Barrymore's achievements and his colorful life have ensured that
several biographical studies followed his 1926 autobiography,
Confessions of an Actor. Alma Power-Waters produced a 1941 study,
authorized by the subject, John Barrymore: The Legend and the Man;
Fowler, wrote Good Night, Sweet Prince: The Life and Times of John
Barrymore (1943); Alpert published The Barrymores (1964); and John
Kobler wrote Damned in Paradise: The Life of
John Barrymore (1977),
although Norden noted in 2000 that many of these earlier works are
less than reliable. Those he identified as being more thoroughly
researched are Peters' 1990 history, The House of Barrymore, and his
own study of the actor's work in John Barrymore: A Bio-Bibliography
(1995). Subsequent to Norden's comments on the available
literature, Morrison published the positively reviewed John Barrymore,
Shakespearean Actor in 1997, which focuses on Barrymore's stage
There were several celebratory events in 1982, on the centenary of
Barrymore's birth. The
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and
Museum of Modern Art
Museum of Modern Art jointly hosted a commemorative program of his
work, which included numerous excepts from his films and interviews
with some who knew him, including Barrie and his one-time co-star
Myrna Loy. The same year, in celebration of the centenary of the
Actors Fund of America, the US Postal Service issued a postage stamp
featuring Barrymore and his siblings. In February 2010, an
intersection in Fort Lee, New Jersey, was renamed
John Barrymore Way
on what would have been the actor's 128th birthday. The intersection
marked the spot of the former Buckheister's Hotel, where Barrymore had
his 1900 stage debut in "A Man of the World".
Portrayals and characterizations
"The Great Profile", photographed in the 1920s
Barrymore has been used as the inspiration for characters on stage and
film. He performed as himself in a number of works (including The
Great Profile, My Dear Children and Playmates), and in the Ziegfeld
Follies of 1921 he was played by his friend W. C. Fields. In 1927 the
Barrymore family was parodied in The Royal Family in which a character
based on him was portrayed by Fredric March, whose performance
Barrymore admired. The play was staged in London in 1934 as
Theatre Royal, with
Laurence Olivier in the Barrymore role, and
adapted as a film in 1930, with March reprising his performance.
In 1991, Paul Rudnick's comedy I Hate Hamlet, performed at the Walter
Kerr Theatre, was set in Barrymore's former apartment. He returns
after a séance, dressed in his
Hamlet costume. Nicol Williamson
played the Barrymore role. Three years later, a London
production, Jack: A Night on the Town with John Barrymore, ran for 60
performances at the Criterion Theatre, and Williamson again played the
lead. Barrymore, a two-person play by William Luce, premiered in
1996 and depicts Barrymore shortly before his death in 1942 as he is
rehearsing a revival of his Richard III.
Christopher Plummer played
the title role. A film version was released in 2012, with Plummer
again taking the main role.
Barrymore had been a friend and drinking companion of Fields. In the
1976 film W.C. Fields and Me, Barrymore was played by Jack
Cassidy. Barrymore's friend, Errol Flynn, played him in a 1958
film Too Much, Too Soon, an adaptation of the autobiography of Diana
Dorothy Malone playing the female lead. Howard
Thompson, the film critic of The New York Times, wrote that "Flynn, as
the late John Barrymore, a moody, wild-drinking ruin of a great actor,
steals the picture, lock, stock and keg. It is only in the scenes of
his savage disintegration, as the horrified girl hangs on, that the
picture approaches real tragedy."
Notes and references
^ Although the
Barrymore family bible gives the date as February 15,
the birth certificate states February 14.
^ John Drew died in 1862 when Barrymore's mother was 6.
^ A 1934 doctor's report stated: "Since the age of 14 has been more or
less a chronic drunkard."
^ Maurice had remarried in 1894, a year after the death of his first
wife; Floyd was the 28-year-old daughter of family friends.
^ Maurice remained institutionalized until his death in March 1905;
his children were regular visitors.
^ Film critic Hollis Alpert, in his 1964 biography on the Barrymores,
opines that this is two images blended as one, as the trio were seldom
photographed together early in their careers.
^ While in San Francisco in The Dictator, Barrymore was caught in the
1906 earthquake; he was thrown into the bath by the first shock. He
helped troops to clear the roads. John Drew wryly noted that "it took
a convulsion of Nature to get him into a bathtub and the United States
Army to make him work".
^ $50 in 1908 is equivalent to approximately $1,300 in 2014; $175 in
1908 equates to approximately $4,500 in 2014.
^ The three plays were On the Quiet, The Honor of the Family and The
Man from Home.
^ $600 in 1912 is approximately equal to $14,500 in 2014.
^ The other two were
Nearly a King
Nearly a King and The Lost Bridegroom.
^ The couple remained close, and when Katherine died of pneumonia at
the age of 36, Barrymore was at her bedside.
^ Coincidentally, the same doctor who was at the birth of Barrymore's
first wife also delivered Oelrichs, a few hours later, on October 1,
^ The record lasted until 1936 when it was broken by John Gielgud. He
recorded that "My New York
Hamlet broke the Broadway record for
continuous performances [of that play] previously set by
Barrymore – 101 performances. In fact my record held until
Richard Burton broke it in the 1960s, in a production directed by me,
which seemed a little ironic."
^ $76,250 in 1925 equates to a little over $1 million in 2014. He
was also given a suite at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles, including
all meals, and a chauffeured limousine.
^ The three films made with UA are
The Beloved Rogue
The Beloved Rogue (1927), Tempest
(1928) and Eternal Love (1929).
^ $150,000 in 1927 was worth a little over $2 million in 2014.
The Man from Blankley's
The Man from Blankley's is a lost film.
^ Barrymore's five films of 1933 were Topaze, Reunion in Vienna,
Dinner at Eight, Night Flight and Counsellor at Law.
^ $160,000 in 1937 is equal to a little more than $9 million in
^ The plays and roles undertaken in the Streamlined Shakespeare series
Hamlet (as Hamlet), Richard III (as Richard, Duke of
Macbeth (as Macbeth),
The Tempest (as
Twelfth Night (as Sir
Toby Belch and Malvolio) and The
Taming of the Shrew (as Petruchio).
^ The films Barrymore appeared in over the next two years were Bulldog
Drummond Comes Back, Night Club Scandal, Bulldog Drummond's Revenge,
True Confession (all 1937), Bulldog Drummond's Peril, Romance in the
Dark, Marie Antoinette,
Spawn of the North
Spawn of the North and
Hold That Co-ed (all
^ Kobler 1977, p. 26; Peters 1990, p. 9.
^ a b "Plays Reviewed". Brooklyn Life. New York, NY. November 25,
1922. p. 14.
^ a b c "Barrymore Dies at 60". The Washington Post. Washington, DC.
May 30, 1942. p. 12.
^ McCaffrey & Jacobs 1999, p. 32.
^ Norden 2000a, p. 178.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 25; Peters 1990, p. 9.
^ Norden 1995, p. 1.
^ Peters 1990, p. 9.
^ Fowler 1944, p. 14; Peters 1990, p. 10.
^ Peters 1990, p. 11.
^ Peters 1990, pp. 10–12.
^ Morrison 1997, pp. 34–35.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 31.
^ Peters 1990, pp. 18–21.
^ a b c d Norden 1995, p. 2.
^ Peters 1990, p. 29; Morrison 1997, p. 36.
^ Peters 1990, p. 29.
^ Norden 1995, p. 2; Morrison 1997, p. 37.
^ Morrison 1997, pp. 36–37.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 41.
^ Morrison 1997, p. 38.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 50; Mank 2007, p. 36.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 50; Norden 1995, p. 3.
^ Peters 1990, pp. 39 & 41.
^ Peters 1990, p. 45.
^ Peters 1990, p. 38.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 70.
^ Norden 1995, p. 3; Norden 2000a.
^ Peters 1990, p. 77.
^ Kobler 1977, pp. 67–68.
^ "Barrymore is Insane". The Minneapolis Journal. Minneapolis, MN.
March 30, 1901. p. 4.
^ Morrison 1997, pp. 38–39.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 69.
^ Byers 1998, p. 28.
^ Fowler 1944, p. 104.
^ Peters 1990, pp. 79–80.
^ Kobler 1977, pp. 75–76.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 90.
^ Norden 1995, p. 4; Morrison 1997, p. 39.
^ a b Norden 1995, p. 4.
^ Morrison 1997, p. 30.
^ Alpert 1965, pp. 76–78.
^ Morrison 1997, p. 40.
^ Peters 1990, pp. 88–89.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 26; Morrison 1997, pp. 40–41.
^ Fowler 1944, pp. 114–15; Morrison 1997, p. 41.
^ Alpert 1965, p. 126.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 85; Kotsilibas-Davis 2000.
^ a b Norden 1995, p. 5.
^ "At the Play". The Observer. London. May 7, 1905. p. 6.
^ "Barrymore, John, 1882–1942". North American Theatre Online.
Alexander Street Press. Retrieved April 28, 2014. (subscription
^ a b Morrison 1997, p. 42.
^ Norden 1995, p. 6.
^ "Miss Barrymore Did Well". The Wichita Daily Eagle. Wichita, KS. May
5, 1907. p. 17.
^ "Columbia—Jack Barrymore in The Boys of Company B". The Washington
Post. Washington, DC. p. 13.
^ Morrison 1997, pp. 43–44.
^ a b "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–2014". Federal Reserve
Bank of Minneapolis. Archived from the original on December 20, 2014.
Retrieved January 20, 2015.
^ Norden 1995, pp. 7–8.
^ "Fortune Hunter Delightful Comedy". The New York Times. New York,
NY. September 5, 1909. p. 9.
^ Kobler 1977, pp. 97–98.
^ Peters 1990, p. 127; Morrison 1997, p. 47.
^ Alpert 1965, p. 136.
^ Fowler 1944, p. 142.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 100.
^ Darnton, Charles (February 1, 1912). "The New Plays". The Evening
World. New York, NY. p. 19.
^ "Theater Notes". The Washington Times. Washington, DC. February 4,
1912. p. 11.
^ Norden 1995, pp. 80–83; Morrison 1997, pp. 51–52.
^ a b Peters 1990, p. 149.
^ Morrison 1997, p. 50.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 107.
^ Norden 1995, p. 8.
^ "Drew's Family Scion Shows His Heritage". The Oregon Daily Journal.
Portland, OR. February 10, 1914. p. 8.
^ Peters 1990, p. 154; Norden 1995, pp. 80–83.
^ Morrison 1997, pp. 50–51.
^ "Good Melodrama at the Longacre". The New York Times. New York, NY.
October 20, 1914. p. 13.
^ Barrymore 1971, Chapter 1.
^ Morrison 1997, p. 52.
^ Morrison 1997, pp. 52–53; Norden 2000a.
^ "'Justice' Done Here with Superb Cast". The New York Times. New
York, NY. April 4, 1916. p. 11.
^ Kobler 1977, pp. 123–24.
^ Kobler 1977, p. 124.
^ Power-Waters 1942, p. 183.
^ Farwell 2000, p. 52.
^ Morrison 1997, p. 56.
^ Peters 1990, p. 163.
^ Peters 1990, pp. 163–65.
^ Alpert 1965, p. 187; Morrison 1997, p. 59.
John Barrymore in Tolstoy Tragedy". The New York Times. New York,
NY. October 4, 1918. p. 11.
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