Lionel Barrymore

By | Nov 15, 2010

Lionel Barrymore was born on April 28, 1878. He was the eldest of the children of actors Georgiana Drew and Maurice Barrymore. Maurice Barrymore legal name was Herbert Arthur Chamberlayne Blythe and Lionel’s birth name was Lionel Blythe.

His siblings Ethel and John as well as Georgina Drew’s parents, brothers and sister all were actors. Lionel at first was the most reluctant to accept acting as a profession. From early youth he was interested in art.

Even with his other interests he started his stage career in his 20s. After many years spent in Paris, in 1910 he came back to Broadway, where he established his reputation as dramatic actor.

In 1924 he left Broadway for Hollywood to appear in films. Although this was not his first time doing films. In 1911 he appeared in films directed by D.W. Griffith and others throughout the teens. He appeared in one movie, ‘Rasputin and the Empress’ made in 1932, with both John and Ethel. Although he did appear in a number of films with each of them

From 1934 until 1951 Barrymore would appear in a radio production of Dicken’s ‘A Christmas Carol’. He was scheduled to do the 1938 movie, but an accident in which he broke his hip prevented this. As he aged he developed arthritis in that same hip which put him in a wheel chair. A role that he is perhaps best remembered for now is that of Mr. Potter in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, a role he would appear in a wheel chair.

Barrymore died on November 15, 1954 from a heart attack in Van Nuys. California.


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