Happy Birthday to Classic Movie Legend, John Barrymore, born February 15th, 1882!
Theatrical Royalty. Super Stardom. Tragic Decline…
Barrymore was born into the famous Barrymore/Drew theatrical family; his parents were Maurice Barrymore and Georgie Drew Barrymore (formerly Georgiana Emma Drew) – both actors; his mother’s parents (Louisa Lane Drew and John Drew) – were both actors; his mother’s siblings (Sidney, John Drew Jr and Louisa) – were all actors; his maternal great-grandparents (Eliza Trentner and William Haycraft Lane) – were both actors. And, above all, John Barrymore along with his brother Lionel and sister Ethel were the most famous generation of this legendary thespian family!
Handsome and talented, Barrymore rose to super stardom on both the stage and on screen, best remembered for his stage role as Hamlet on Broadway (1922) and in London (1925), as well as his film roles as Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1920), ‘The Baron’ in Grand Hotel (1932), ‘Oscar Jaffe’ in Twentieth Century (1934) and as Don Juan (1926).
Tragically, his weakness for alcohol, as well as health and personal problems, led to his subsequent decline. But, lucky for us, he has left many brilliant film performances for us to enjoy!
In honor of John Barrymore’s legacy, let us celebrate with three quotes from one of his most famous films, Grand Hotel.
Otto Kringelein (Lionel Barrymore): I may speak to The Baron, anytime I see him?
The Baron (John Barrymore): Of course Kringelein, why not?
Otto Kringelein: I mean when you’re with your smart friends?
The Baron: I haven’t any friends Kringelein.
“I don’t suppose you’d take some dictation from me sometime, would you?”
–John Barrymore to Joan Crawford in Grand Hotel
“May I say something madame, you’re so beautiful. It tore my heart to see you in despair like that.”
-John Barrymore to Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel
And one last note: I would be remiss if I didn’t add that John Barrymore is Drew Barrymore’s paternal grandfather.
Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub