John Barrymore

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Related to Barrymore, John: Ethel Barrymore
John Barrymore
John Sidney Blyth
BirthplacePhiladelphia, Pennsylvania

Barrymore, John

(1882–1942) stage and film actor; born in Philadelphia. Brother of Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore of the great acting family, he made his debut in 1903 and became a matinee idol. He triumphed as a stage Hamlet in 1922, then turned to films and radio. Married four times, he caricatured his own decadent, alcohol-ridden life in a series of minor comedies, including The Great Profile (1940).

Barrymore, John


(stage name of John Blythe). Born Feb. 15, 1882, in Philadelphia; died May 29, 1942, in Hollywood. American actor.

Barrymore’s stage career began in 1903 in Chicago. He was the most prominent tragic actor in the USA during the first quarter of the 20th century. Among his best roles were those of Falder in Galsworthy’s Justice (1916), Protasov in Tolstoy’s The Living Corpse (1918), and Richard III in Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name (1920). He was best known for his performance as Hamlet in 1922. In 1913 he began appearing in motion pictures and by the mid-1920’s he no longer appeared on the stage. John Barrymore is the most famous representative of a theatrical family that includes the actors Maurice and Georgiana (his parents), Lionel (his brother), and Ethel (his sister).


Barrymore, L., and C. Shipp. We Barrymores. London, 1951.
Fowler, G. Good Night, Sweet Prince: The Life and Times of John Barrymore. New York, 1944.