February 15, 1882 – May 29, 1942
Never was there such an actor acclaimed for his nuanced performances of Shakespeare and for his troubled excesses in his personal life as John Barrymore. For the early part of the 20th century, no one American actor could command his audience with the depth and flair as Barrymore could bring to his performances. Yet his flagrancy in conducting his personal life would end up sabotaging a career that could have rivaled that of the 19th century tragedian Edwin Booth. Eventually “The Great Profile” would become just a caricature of his former self, an aging and pathetic shadow of his prior glory. Yet the acting aficionado chooses to remember Barrymore as the master of the stage and screen, a bona vide raconteur who enjoyed life to the fullest and left his mark on the silver screen and his legacy in today’s films with the success of his granddaughter, Drew Barrymore.