Classic Movie Hub (CMH)


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Lionel Barrymore

Lionel Barrymore

Acted from wheelchair from 1938 due to the effects of arthritis and hip injury.

Directed 2 actors to Oscar nominations: Ruth Chatterton (Best Actress, Madame X (1929), technically not an official nominee), and Lawrence Tibbett (Best Actor, The Rogue Song (1930)).

Ex-brother-in-law of Phyllis Rankin, Mrs. Sidney Drew and Harry Davenport.

Great uncle of Drew Barrymore.

Had extreme problems with his income taxes, and during the last 15 years of his life routinely turned over all of his paycheck to the Internal Revenue Service except for a small sum to maintain his living expenses. The IRS also took the proceeds from a sale of his artwork after his death.



Had two daughters by his first wife Doris Rankin, both of whom died young. He later left Rankin for Irene Fenwick, a longtime friend and one-time girlfriend of his brother, John Barrymore.

He and his sister Ethel Barrymore were the first Oscar-winning brother and sister in acting categories.

He played Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" on the radio annually.

He was awarded 2 Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Motion Pictures at 1724 Vine Street and for Radio at 1651 Vine Street in Hollywood, California.

He was buried a Roman Catholic next to his second wife and his brother, John Barrymore, in Calvary Cemetery, Hollywood.

He was one of the very few screen actors in the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s who had a prolific career despite being in a wheelchair. From 1938, his screen roles were written to accommodate his disability.

His name appeared in the Looney Toons Cartoon One Froggy Evening (1955) (directed by Chuck Jones) in a newspaper on a park bench before the distraught man was sent to a psychiatric ward because the frog would not sing in front of anyone else.

Honorary pallbearer at Lon Chaney's funeral.

In Rasputin and the Empress (1932), he played Rasputin, allegedly the lover of Czar Nicholas II's wife Alexandra, played by Barrymore's real life sister Ethel Barrymore.

In 1930, he lived at 802 N. Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills.

In the 1960s cartoon series "Underdog" (1964), Underdog's nemesis, Simon Bar Sinister, has a voice reminiscent of Barrymore.

Interred at Calvary Cemetery, Los Angeles, California, USA, in the Main Mausoleum, Block 352.

Invented the boom microphone.

Portrayed Dr. Gillespie on the syndicated radio show "The Story of Dr. Kildare" (1950-1951).

Reared Roman Catholic by their mother, the three Barrymore siblings all had suffered the stigma of divorce (doubtless connected to the family business) and only Ethel Barrymore was a practicing Catholic in adulthood.

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