John Drew Barrymore

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John Drew Barrymore
File:John Drew Barrymore 1953.jpg
From a Schlitz Playhouse of Stars presentation, 1953
Born John Blyth Barrymore[1]
(1932-06-04)June 4, 1932
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died November 29, 2004(2004-11-29) (aged 72)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Film, television actor
Years active 1949-1976
Spouse(s) Cara Williams (1953-1959) (divorced) (1 child)
Gabriella Palazzoli (1960-1970) (divorced) (1 child)
Jaid Barrymore (1971-1984) (divorced) (1 child)
Nina Wayne (1985–1994) (divorced) (1 child)
• John Blyth Barrymore, born May 15, 1954 (to Cara)

• Blyth Dolores Barrymore, born 1960 (to Gabriella)
• Brahma (Jessica) Blyth Barrymore (July 31,1966 - July 29, 2014) (to Nina)[2]
Drew Barrymore, born February 22, 1975 (to Jaid)

John Drew Barrymore (born John Blyth Barrymore; June 4, 1932 – November 29, 2004) was a film actor and member of the Barrymore family of actors, which included his father, John Barrymore, and his father's siblings, Lionel and Ethel. He was the father of four children, including John Blyth Barrymore and actress Drew Barrymore. Diana Barrymore was his half-sister from his father's second marriage.

Early life

Barrymore was born in Los Angeles, California to John Barrymore and Dolores Costello. His parents separated when he was 18 months old, and he rarely saw his father afterward. Educated at private schools, he made his film debut at 17, billed as John Barrymore Jr.[3][4]


Barrymore with Anne Helm in a Gunsmoke appearance, 1964.

In 1958, he changed his middle name to Drew, although he had previously been credited in past works as Blyth, and appeared in many low budget films such as High School Confidential, Never Love a Stranger (1958), Night of the Quarter Moon (1959), and The Keeler Affair (1963) as Stephen Ward. This was followed by a brief resurgence in Italian movies as he appeared in several leading roles. He also appeared several times in the TV series Gunsmoke. However, Barrymore's social behavior obstructed any professional progress. In the 1960s, he was occasionally incarcerated for drug use, public drunkenness, and spousal abuse.[5][6]

He guest-starred in other memorable episodes of classic TV Westerns Rawhide — "Incident of The Haunted Hills" — playing a half-Native, half-White outcast and Wagon Train — "The Ruttledge Munroe Story" — playing a "too cheerful" character who spreads death wherever he goes and turns out to be a figure from Major Adams's (Ward Bond) military past.

In 1966, Barrymore was signed to play a guest role as Lazarus in the Star Trek episode "The Alternative Factor". However, he failed to show up (and was ultimately replaced at the last minute by actor Robert Brown), resulting in a SAG suspension of six months.[7] He did appear as Stacey Daggart in the 1966–67 NBC series The Road West, starring Barry Sullivan.


Although he continued to appear occasionally on screen, he became more and more reclusive. Suffering from the same problems with addiction that had destroyed his father, Barrymore became a derelict. Estranged from his family, including his children, his lifestyle continued to worsen and his physical and mental health deteriorated.[8][9]

In 2003, daughter Drew Barrymore moved him near her home despite their estrangement, paying his medical bills until his death from cancer. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to television.

Marriage and children

All four of Barrymore's marriages ended in divorce.[citation needed] He married actress Cara Williams in 1952; they divorced in 1959.[citation needed] His fourth child is film actress and producer Drew Barrymore.



  1. According to the State of California. California Birth Index, 1905-1995. Center for Health Statistics, California Department of Health Services, Sacramento, California. Searchable at (account required)
  2. Alt.Film.Guide - Jessica Barrymore Found Dead: Daughter of John Drew Barrymore, Drew Barrymore Half-Sister
  3. John Drew Barrymore, 72; Troubled Heir to the Throne of the Royal Family of Acting, Los Angeles Times obituary, 1 December 2004
  5. John Drew Barrymore, 72; Troubled Heir to the Throne of the Royal Family of Acting, Los Angeles Times obituary, 1 December 2004
  6. John Drew Barrymore, 72, of Acting Clan, New York Times obituary, 1 December 2004
  7. Solow, Herbert F. & Robert H. Justman "Inside Star Trek" ISBN 0-671-89628-8 pp. 201-202
  8. John Drew Barrymore Actor son of John Barrymore who exceeded even his father's off-screen excesses, The Independent obituary, 1 December 2004
  9. John Drew Barrymore dies, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2004

External links