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John Barrymore

John Sidney Blythe (February 15, 1882 - May 29, 1942), better known as John Barrymore, became famous as a Shakespearean actor, lauded for his Hamlet.

His classic nose and distinguished features won him the nickname "The Great Profile." Barrymore was a hard drinking man with a troubled personal life that cut his life short. He appeared in several films including a supporting role in many Bulldog Drummond B-movies -- Bulldog was the James Bond of the 1930s -- but never reached the heights he achieved on stage. He was the younger brother of actors Lionel and Ethel Barrymore and the grandfather of Drew Barrymore.

A notorious ladies' man, he courted showgirl Evelyn Nesbit as her involvement with married architect Stanford White was waning. When she became pregnant, Barrymore proposed marriage. But White intervened, and arranged for the still-teenaged Evelyn to undergo an operation for "appendicitis." White was later murdered by Nesbit's vengeful husband, Pittsburgh millionaire Harry K. Thaw.

Barrymore married Katherine Corri Harris (1891-1927), an actress who starred in the 1918 film The House of Mirth, on September 1, 1910 and divorced in 1916. They had one child, Diana Blanche Barrymore . He married Blanche Marie Louise Oelrichs (1890-1950), a bisexual New York real estate heiress who wrote under the name Michael Strange , on August 5, 1920 and divorced her in 1928. His third wife was Dolores Costello (1903-1979), an actress and model best known for her role as Dearest in the movie Little Lord Fauntleroy (1936); they married on November 24, 1928 and divorced in 1935. They had two children, Dolores Ethel Mae Barrymore and John Drew Barrymore (father of Drew Barrymore). His fourth wife was Elaine Barrie (née Elaine Jacobs, 1916-2003), an actress; they married on November 9, 1936 and divorced in 1940.

See also: Barrymore family

Last updated: 11-08-2004 04:08:27