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Lionel Barrymore

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Lionel Barrymore

Born : 28 April 1878
City : Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Rank : ( 1096 )
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Lionel Barrymore Biography

Lionel Barrymore (April 28, 1878 – November 15, 1954) was an American actor of stage, screen and radio as well as a film director.He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul (1931), and remains perhaps best known for the role of the villainous Mr. Potter character in Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life. He was a member of the theatrical Barrymore family.

Early life

Lionel Barrymore was born Lionel Herbert Blythe in Philadelphia, the son of actors Georgiana Drew Barrymore and Maurice Barrymore. He was the elder brother of Ethel and John Barrymore, the uncle of John Drew Barrymore, Diana Barrymore, Dolores Barrymore, Sam, Ethel, and John Drew Colt and the grand-uncle of Drew Barrymore. Barrymore was raised a Roman Catholic. He attended the Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In her autobiography, Eleanor Farjeon recalled that when she and Barrymore were friends as toddlers, she would take off her shoes and he would kiss her feet.

Stage Career

Barrymore began his stage career in the mid-1890s, acting with his formidable grandmother Louisa Lane Drew. 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), both produced by Charles Frohman. In 1905 Lionel and his siblings, John and Ethel, were all being groomed under the tutelage of Frohman. That year Lionel appeared with John in a short play called Pantaloon while John appeared with Ethel in Alice-Sit-By-The-Fire.

Film Career

Barrymore began making films about 1911 with D.W. Griffith at the Biograph Studios. There are claims that he made an earlier film with Griffith called The Paris Hat (1908) but no such movie exists. Lionel and Doris were in Paris in 1908, where Lionel attended art school and where their first baby, Ethel, was born. Lionel mentions in his autobiography, We Barrymores, that he and Doris were in France when Bleriot flew the channel on July 25, 1909.

Graphic artist

Barrymore was a skillful graphic artist. For years, he maintained an artist's shop and studio attached to his home in Los Angeles. His etchings and drawings are prized by collectors around the world.

Death

Lionel 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.

Lionel Barrymore 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.

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