Lionel Barrymore
Actor, director, screenwriter
Lionel Barrymore
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.
Biography
Lionel Barrymore's personal information overview.
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Popular photos of Lionel Barrymore
News
News abour Lionel Barrymore from around the web
Ocean-going adventure in amphitheater - knox.VillageSoup.com
Google News - over 5 years
Harvey can neither persuade the captain, Disko Troop (Lionel Barrymore), to take him ashore nor convince him of his wealth. However, the captain offers him a low-paid job as part of the crew until they return to port months later. With no other choice,
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10 Best Child Actors - Screen Junkies
Google News - over 5 years
Drew comes from a family of actors, including her distant grandparent Lionel Barrymore. Robert Blake. Before his late-life dust up with the law, Robert Blake was a film star who began his career as a child. The young Blake was in the "Our Gang" series
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At Large with Tom Williams > A look at some films & film classics - Shore News Today
Google News - over 5 years
Also features Donna Reed, Lionel Barrymore and a great lineup of character actors. Stewart was nominated for an Oscar as best actor (Fredric March won for The Best Years of Our Lives). Vertigo (1958). Another Hitchcock classic
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'It's A Wonderful Life' Arrives On A Two-Disc Blu-ray Collector's Set Nov. 1st - Starpulse.com (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Starring James Stewart (Mr. Smith Goes To Washington), Donna Reed (From Here to Eternity), Lionel Barrymore (Key Largo), Thomas Mitchell (Three Wise Fools) and Henry Travers (The Bells of St. Mary's), the film has made an indelible impact on popular
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Auditions Set for 'It's a Wonderful Life' - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
Barrington Community Theatre is holding auditions for "It's a Wonderful Life," the classic Christmas movie starring James Stewart, Donna Reed and Lionel Barrymore and directed by Frank Capra. Auditions start Sept. 12 at Barrington Middle School
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Season finale for Music and Movies is Monday - Cannon Falls Beacon
Google News - over 5 years
Devil Doll stars Lionel Barrymore as an escaped convict who stumbles upon a scientist able to shrink humans to one-sixth their normal size. Between the movies, the Cannon Falls Library Foundation is hosting the first-ever Glo-wear Fashion Show!
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Proof of Republican 'doublethink' - The Guardian (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
It doesn't even require a tiptoe of imagination, let alone a leap, to envisage Lionel Barrymore as evil Mr Potter cackling to James Stewart as poor George Bailey: "Corporations are people, George!" (Incidentally, a version of this self-entitled
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10 actors who achieved immortality in just one movie - Shadowlocked
Google News - over 5 years
Escaping from Devil's Island with disgraced scientist Marcel (HB Walthall), Paul Lavoud (Lionel Barrymore) learns of his friend's experiments in miniaturizing humans to only a few inches. When the scientist dies, Lavoud disguises himself as elderly
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Your View: Remembering La Jolla's visitors - La Jolla Light
Google News - over 5 years
Many years ago, I spent an interesting afternoon with one of her husbands, Lew Ayres, the actor known for his role on Dr. Kildaire in the first TV series with Lionel Barrymore, and for his role as the innocent young German soldier in “All Quiet on the
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'Paul Merton's Birth of Hollywood' Starts in Fort Lee - Patch.com
Google News - over 5 years
We also directed Mr. Merton and his crew to the area of Main Street where DW Griffith shot his acclaimed 1912 Biograph film, The New York Hat, with Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore. Merton is not alone among European documentarians in his visits to
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Making magic in the backlot - Bay Area Reporter
Google News - over 5 years
His neighbors were Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Nelson Eddy, William Powell, Robert Montgomery, and Lionel Barrymore. Major stars were driven to the soundstage for takes, then chauffeured back to their suites until needed again
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Sony's Remake of Studio System
NYTimes - over 5 years
LOS ANGELES -- If Louis B. Mayer haunts the Irving Thalberg Building, once his seat of power at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, he may recognize more than the walnut walls. The building is now the home of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and there are signs that Mayer's old studio system is being revived. As Hollywood has backed away from movie stars as too
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Sony, Like Old Hollywood, Banks on Familiar Faces - New York Times
Google News - over 5 years
... thanks to personal relationships and shared tastes that have largely supplanted the rigid contractual arrangements that allowed Mayer to build an empire around the likes of Norma Shearer, Greta Garbo, Lionel Barrymore and Clark Gable
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Not So Hollywood Wedding Night: Ava Gardner and Mickey Rooney - Big Hollywood
Google News - over 5 years
The guest list included: Clark Gable, Spencer Tracy, Robert Taylor, Lewis Stone, Bill Holden, Robert Montgomery, Lionel Barrymore, William Powell, and Frederic March. The wedding night should have been an MGM soft-focus dream of deep kisses,
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Your rights and obligations as a dental patient - Hernando Today
Google News - over 5 years
These were they days of Drs. Gillespie and Kildare – immortalized by Lionel Barrymore and Lew Ayres on the silver screen. Benevolent, kind and unerring in their medical judgment, they were never questioned by their patients who simply placed themselves
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Lionel Barrymore
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1954
    Age 75
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He is honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in the motion picture and radio categories. He is also a member of the American Theatre Hall of Fame, along with his siblings, Ethel and John.
  • 1950
    Age 71
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He also played the title role in the 1940s radio series, Mayor of the Town. Barrymore had broken his hip in an accident, hence he played Gillespie in a wheelchair. Later, his worsening arthritis kept him in the chair. The injury also precluded his playing Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1938 MGM film version of A Christmas Carol, a role Barrymore played every year but two (1936, replaced by brother John Barrymore and 1938, replaced by Orson Welles) on the radio from 1934 through 1953. He also had a role with Clark Gable in Lone Star in 1952. His final film appearance was a cameo in Main Street to Broadway, an MGM musical comedy released in 1953. His sister Ethel also appeared in the film. Perhaps his best known role, thanks to perennial Christmastime replays on television, was Mr. Potter, the miserly and mean-spirited banker in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) opposite James Stewart. The role suggested that of the "unreformed" stage of Barrymore's "Scrooge" characterization. Lionel's wife, Irene, died on Christmas Eve of 1936 and Lionel did not perform his annual Scrooge that year. John filled in as Scrooge for his grieving brother.
  • 1945
    Age 66
    His piano compositions, "Scherzo Grotesque" and "Song Without Words", were published by G. Schirmer in 1945.
    More Details Hide Details He composed a memoriam for his late brother John, which was later performed by the Philadelphia Orchestra. He also composed the theme song of the radio program Mayor of the Town. Barrymore was a skillful graphic artist, creating etchings and drawings. For years, he maintained an artist's shop and studio attached to his home in Los Angeles. Some of his etchings were included in the Hundred Prints of the Year. He wrote a historical novel, Mr. Cantonwine: A Moral Tale (1953).
  • FIFTIES
  • 1938
    Age 59
    By 1938, Barrymore used a wheelchair exclusively and never walked again.
    More Details Hide Details He could, however, stand for short periods of time such as at his brother's funeral. Barrymore also composed music. His works ranged from solo piano pieces to large-scale orchestral works, such as "Tableau Russe," which was performed twice in Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941), first by Nils Asther on piano and later by a full symphony orchestra.
    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.
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  • 1937
    Age 58
    Whatever the cause of his disability, Barrymore's performance in Captains Courageous in 1937 was one of the last times he would be seen standing and walking unassisted.
    More Details Hide Details Afterward, Barrymore was able to get about for a short period of time on crutches even though he was in great pain.
    Barrymore tripped over a cable while filming Saratoga in 1937 and broke his hip again. (Film historian Robert A. Osborne says Barrymore also suffered a broken kneecap.) The injury was painful enough that Donnelly, quoting Barrymore, says that Louis B. Mayer bought Barrymore $400 worth of cocaine every day to help him cope with the pain and allow him to sleep.
    More Details Hide Details Author David Schwartz says the hip fracture never healed, which was why Barrymore could not walk, while MGM historian John Douglas Eames claims that the injury was "crippling". Barrymore himself said in 1951, that it was breaking his hip twice that kept him in the wheelchair. He said he had no other problems, and that the hip healed well, but it made walking exceptionally difficult. Film historian Allen Eyles reached the same conclusion. Lew Ayres biographer Lesley Coffin and Louis B. Mayer biographer Scott Eyman argue that it was the combination of the broken hip and Barrymore's worsening arthritis that put him in a wheelchair. Barrymore family biographer Margot Peters, however, says that Barrymore's friends Gene Fowler and James Doane both said Barrymore's arthritis was caused by syphilis, which they say he contracted in 1925. Eyman, however, explicitly rejects this hypothesis.
    When Harlow died in 1937, Barrymore and Clark Gable mourned her as though she had been family.
    More Details Hide Details Although reluctant to follow his parents' career, Barrymore appeared together with his formidable grandmother Louisa Lane Drew on tour and in a stage production of The Rivals at the age of 15. He later recounted that "I didn't want to act. I wanted to paint or draw. The theater was not in my blood, I was related to the theater by marriage only; it was merely a kind of in-law of mine I had to live with." Nevertheless, he soon found success on stage in character roles and continued to act, although he still wanted to become a painter and also to compose music. He appeared on Broadway in his early twenties with his uncle John Drew Jr. in such plays as The Second in Command (1901) and The Mummy and the Hummingbird (1902), the latter of which won him critical acclaim. Both were produced by Charles Frohman, who produced other plays for Barrymore and his siblings, John and Ethel.
  • 1936
    Age 57
    Paul Donnelly says Barrymore's inability to walk was caused by a drawing table falling on him in 1936, breaking Barrymore's hip.
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  • 1930
    Age 51
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Barrymore can be seen being quite physical in late silent films like The Thirteenth Hour and West of Zanzibar, where he can be seen climbing out of a window.
  • 1929
    Age 50
    Film historian David Wallace says it was "well known" that Barrymore was "addicted" to morphine due to arthritis by 1929, when Louis B. Mayer hired Barrymore to direct Redemption (a film from which Barrymore was removed).
    More Details Hide Details A history of Oscar-winning actors, however, says Barrymore was only "suffering" from arthritis, not crippled by it.
    Screenwriter Anita Loos claimed that the arthritis was so bad by 1929, Barrymore was taking large quantities of morphine.
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  • FORTIES
  • 1928
    Age 49
    Several sources argue that arthritis alone confined Barrymore to a wheelchair. Film historian Jeanine Basinger says that his arthritis was serious by at least 1928, when Barrymore made Sadie Thompson.
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    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.
    More Details Hide Details In 1929, he returned to directing films. During this early and imperfect sound film period, he directed the controversial His Glorious Night with John Gilbert, Madame X starring Ruth Chatterton, and The Rogue Song, Laurel & Hardy's first color film. Barrymore returned to acting in front of the camera in 1931. In that year, he won an Academy Award for his role as an alcoholic lawyer in A Free Soul (1931), after being considered in 1930 for Best Director for Madame X. He could play many characters, like the evil Rasputin in the 1932 Rasputin and the Empress (in which he co-starred with siblings John and Ethel) and the ailing Oliver Jordan in Dinner at Eight (1933 – also with John, although they had no scenes together). During the 1930s and 1940s, he became stereotyped as a grouchy but sweet elderly man in such films as The Mysterious Island (1929), Grand Hotel (1932, with John Barrymore), Captains Courageous (1937), You Can't Take It with You (1938), On Borrowed Time (1939, with Cedric Hardwicke), Duel in the Sun (1946), and Key Largo (1948).
  • 1926
    Age 47
    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.
    More Details Hide Details His first talking picture was The Lion and the Mouse; his stage experience allowed him to excel in delivering the dialogue in sound films.
  • 1925
    Age 46
    In 1925, he left New York for Hollywood.
    More Details Hide Details He starred as Frederick Harmon in director Henri Diamant-Berger's drama Fifty-Fifty (1925) opposite Hope Hampton and Louise Glaum, and made several more freelance motion pictures, including The Bells (Chadwick Pictures 1926) with a then-unknown Boris Karloff. His last film for Griffith was in 1928's Drums of Love. Prior to his marriage to Irene, Barrymore and his brother John engaged in a dispute over the issue of Irene's chastity in the wake of her having been one of John's lovers. The brothers didn't speak again for two years and weren't seen together until the premiere of John's film Don Juan in 1926, by which time they had patched up their differences.
  • 1924
    Age 45
    In 1924, he also went to Germany to star in British producer-director Herbert Wilcox's Anglo-German co-production Decameron Nights, filmed at UFA's Babelsberg studios outside of Berlin.
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    He occasionally freelanced, returning to Griffith in 1924 to film America.
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    Before the formation of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924, Barrymore forged a good relationship with Louis B. Mayer early on at Metro Pictures.
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  • 1923
    Age 44
    In 1923, Barrymore and Fenwick went to Italy to film The Eternal City for Metro Pictures in Rome, combining work with their honeymoon.
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    Barrymore never truly recovered from the deaths of his girls, and their loss undoubtedly strained his marriage to Doris Rankin, which ended in 1923.
    More Details Hide Details Years later, Barrymore developed a fatherly affection for Jean Harlow, who was born about the same time as his daughters.
  • 1920
    Age 41
    In 1920, Barrymore reprised his stage role in the film adaptation of The Copperhead.
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  • THIRTIES
  • 1915
    Age 36
    In 1915 he co-starred with Lillian Russell in a movie called Wildfire, one of the legendary Russell's few film appearances.
    More Details Hide Details He also was involved in writing and directing at Biograph. The last silent film he directed, Life's Whirlpool (Metro Pictures 1917), starred his sister, Ethel. He acted in more than 60 silent films with Griffth.
  • 1911
    Age 32
    Barrymore began making films about 1911 with D.W. Griffith at the Biograph Studios.
    More Details Hide Details There are claims that he made an earlier film with Griffith called The Paris Hat (1908), but no such motion picture is known to exist. Lionel and Doris were in Paris in 1908, where Lionel attended art school and where their first baby, Ethel, was born. Lionel confirms in his autobiography, We Barrymores, that he and Doris were in France when Bleriot flew the English Channel on July 25, 1909. Barrymore made The Battle (1911), The New York Hat (1912), Friends and Three Friends (1913).
  • 1910
    Age 31
    He also joined his family troupe, from 1910, in their vaudeville act, where he was happy not to worry as much about memorizing lines.
    More Details Hide Details From 1912 to 1917, he was away from the stage again while he established his film career, but after the First World War, he had several successes on Broadway, where he established his reputation as a dramatic and character actor, often performing together with his wife. He proved his talent in such plays as Peter Ibbetson (1917) (with brother John), The Copperhead (1918) (with Doris), The Jest (1919) (again with John) and The Letter of the Law (1920). Lionel gave a short-lived performance as MacBeth in 1921 opposite veteran actress Julia Arthur as Lady MacBeth, but the production encountered strongly negative criticism. His last stage success was in Laugh, Clown, Laugh, in 1923, with his second wife, Irene Fenwick; they met while acting together in The Claw the previous year, and after they fell in love he divorced his first wife. He also received negative notices in three productions in a row in 1925. After these, he never again appeared on stage.
    Nevertheless, he was soon back on Broadway in The Jail Bird in 1910 and continued his stage career with several more plays.
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  • 1909
    Age 30
    He did not achieve success as a painter, and in 1909 he returned to the US.
    More Details Hide Details In December of that year, he returned to the stage in The Fires of Fate, in Chicago, but left the production later that month after suffering an attack of nerves about the forthcoming New York opening. The producers gave appendicitis as the reason for his sudden departure.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1906
    Age 27
    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.
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  • 1905
    Age 26
    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.
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  • 1903
    Age 24
    The Other Girl in 1903–04 was a long-running success for Barrymore.
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  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1878
    Born
    Born on April 28, 1878.
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