Brother of the legendary Lionel Barrymore and great uncle of today’s A-list movie star, Drew Barrymore, John was born in Philadelphia on 14 th February 1882. Their parents Maurice and Georgie were well-known stage actors, so it was no wonder that the next Barrymore generation – John, Lionel and their sister, Ether, decided to go into acting.
John started his acting career at the age of eighteen, but was in fact far more interested in becoming an artist. He did attend art-college, and freelanced as an artist for a while. However, coming from a family of actors and trying to be an artist can be difficult, and it was not long before John was once again on stage.
It is thought that he began to star in movies in around 1912, but some of the records have bee lost. One thing is for certain – by the 1920s he was a huge star and a legend before his time. His made a string of successful movies, including ‘The American Citizen’ in 1914, not to mention several movies with his brother, Lionel.Unfortunately, John became ensnared by alcohol, and had in fact suffered alcohol problems since childhood. On 29 th May 1942, John died from liver problems in combination with pneumonia.
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