Lionel Barrymore

Actor + Director + Screenwriter
Born Apr 28, 1878

Lionel Barrymore was an American actor of stage, screen and radio. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul (1931). He is well known for the role of the villainous Henry Potter character in Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life.… Read More

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1878 Birth Born on April 28, 1878.


1903 25 Years Old The Other Girl in 1903–04 was a long-running success for Barrymore.
1905 27 Years Old In 1905, he appeared with John and Ethel in a pantomime, starring as the title character in Pantaloon and playing another character in the other half of the bill, Alice Sit-by-the-Fire.
1906 28 Years Old In 1906, after a series of disappointing appearances in plays, Barrymore and his first wife, the actress Doris Rankin, left their stage careers and travelled to Paris, where he trained as an artist.


1909 31 Years Old He did not achieve success as a painter, and in 1909 he returned to the US. … Read More
1910 32 Years Old 1 More Event
Nevertheless, he was soon back on Broadway in The Jail Bird in 1910 and continued his stage career with several more plays.
1911 33 Years Old Barrymore began making films about 1911 with D.W. Griffith at the Biograph Studios. … Read More
1915 37 Years Old In 1915 he co-starred with Lillian Russell in a movie called Wildfire, one of the legendary Russell's few film appearances. … Read More


1920 42 Years Old In 1920, Barrymore reprised his stage role in the film adaptation of The Copperhead.
1923 45 Years Old 1 More Event
…  Barrymore never truly recovered from the deaths of his girls, and their loss undoubtedly strained his marriage to Doris Rankin, which ended in 1923. … Read More
Before the formation of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924, Barrymore forged a good relationship with Louis B. Mayer early on at Metro Pictures.
1925 47 Years Old In 1925, he left New York for Hollywood. … Read More
1926 48 Years Old After 1926, Barrymore worked almost exclusively for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, appearing opposite such luminaries as John Gilbert, Lon Chaney, Sr., Jean Harlow, Wallace Beery, Marie Dressler, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, his brother John and sister Ethel. … Read More


1928 50 Years Old 1 More Event
On the occasional loan-out, Barrymore had a big success with Gloria Swanson in 1928's Sadie Thompson and the aforementioned Griffith film, Drums of Love. … Read More
1929 51 Years Old 1 More Event
Screenwriter Anita Loos claimed that the arthritis was so bad by 1929, Barrymore was taking large quantities of morphine.
1930 52 Years Old Marie Dressler biographer Matthew Kennedy notes that when Barrymore won his Best Actor Oscar award in 1930, the arthritis was still so minor that it only made him limp a little as he went on stage to accept the honor. … Read More
1936 58 Years Old Paul Donnelly says Barrymore's inability to walk was caused by a drawing table falling on him in 1936, breaking Barrymore's hip.
When Harlow died in 1937, Barrymore and Clark Gable mourned her as though she had been family. … Read More


1938 60 Years Old 1 More Event
During the filming of 1938's You Can't Take It With You, the pain of standing with crutches was so severe that Barrymore required hourly shots of painkillers.
1945 67 Years Old His piano compositions, "Scherzo Grotesque" and "Song Without Words", were published by G. Schirmer in 1945. … Read More
1950 72 Years Old In a series of Doctor Kildare movies in the 1930s and 1940s, he played the irascible Doctor Gillespie, a role he repeated in an MGM radio series that debuted in New York in 1950 and was later syndicated. … Read More
1954 77 Years Old Barrymore died on November 15, 1954 from a heart attack in Van Nuys, California, and was entombed in the Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles, California. … Read More
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