Ever wonder where Drew Barrymore might have gotten her talent from? Ever hear of the saying “It’s in the genes.”? In her case, it might be true for the Barrymore’s have long been considered America’s first family of acting.

From the advent of filmmaking up until their deaths, it might seem that nary a movie came out that didn’t have the Barrymore stamp on it…

Lionel Barrymore

Why don’t we start with a couple of quotes …

”This is the age of insincerity. The movies had the misfortune to come along in the twentieth century, and because they appeal to the masses there can be no sincerity in them. Hollywood is tied hand and foot to the demands for artificiality of the masses all over the world."

Wow, he did have a lighter side though.

"I've got a lot of ham in me."

Lionel Barrymore was born “Lionel Blythe” on April 28, 1878 in Philadelphia, PA. Out of all three of the Barrymore’s, his is probably the most lasting legacy. His career spanned over 40 years and in 1913 he appeared in 25 films. All tolled appeared in more than 180 films. He died on November 15, 1954 in Van Nuys, California.

Although probably best known for his role as Mr. Potter in Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, Lionel Barrymore managed to win an Oscar for his role in the 1931 film A Free Soul. His other major credits include the Dr. Kildare series of films (later made into a TV series) and the first movie in what was to become known as The Hardy Boys.


The years didn’t take to kindly to Lionel Barrymore and he was afflicted with chronic arthritis which eventually confined him to a wheelchair. Normally this would have been the death knell for many an actor but it seems Mr. Barrymore was fortunate enough to be in the good graces of Louis B. Mayer who was then head of MGM studios. Mayer often insisted that scripts be changed and characters be altered in order to accommodate Barrymore and to take advantage of his talents as an actor. Here’s a listing of the films and the years in which they debuted that Lionel Barrymore appeared in. Obviously some or more famous than others but the list is quite impressive.


Our MisterSun (1956)
Main Street to Broadway (1953)
Bannerline (1951)
Lone Star (1951)
Right Cross (1950)
Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)
Malaya (1949)
Key Largo (1948)
Dark Delusion (1947)
Duel in the Sun (1946)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
The Secret Heart (1946)
Three Wise Fools (1946)
The Valley of Decision (1945)
Dragon Seed (1944)
A Guy Named Joe (1944)

Between Two Women (1944)
Three Men in White (1944)
Thousands Cheer (1943)
Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (1943)
Calling Dr. Gillespie (1942)
Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (1942)
Tennessee Johnson (1942)
Lady Be Good (1941)
The Bad Man (1941)
Dr. Kildare's Victory (1941)
Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (1941)
The Penalty (1941)
The People vs. Dr. Kildare (1941)
Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (1940)
Dr. Kildare Goes Home (1940)
Dr. Kildare's Crisis (1940)
On Borrowed Time (1939)
Calling Dr. Kildare (1939)
Let Freedom Ring (1939)
The Secret of Dr. Kildare (1939)
Land of Liberty (1939)
The Movies March On (1939)
Test Pilot (1938)
You Can't Take It with You (1938)
A Yank at Oxford (1938)
The Young Dr. Kildare (1938)
Captains Courageous (1937)
Saratoga (1937)
Navy Blue and Gold (1937)
A Family Affair (1937)
Camille (1936)
The Devil Doll (1936)
The Gorgeous Hussy (1936)
The Road to Glory (1936)
The Voice of Bugle Ann (1936)
Ah, Wilderness! (1935)
David Copperfield (1935)
The Little Colonel (1935)
Mark of the Vampire (1935)
The Return of Peter Grimm (1935)
Public Hero No. 1 (1935)
The Girl from Missouri (1934)
Treasure Island (1934)
Carolina (1934)
This Side of Heaven (1934)
Dinner at Eight (1933)
Berkeley Square (1933)
Christopher Bean (1933)
Looking Forward (1933)
Night Flight (1933)
One Man's Journey (1933)
Reunion in Vienna (1933)
Should Ladies Behave? (1933)
The Stranger's Return (1933)
Sweepings (1933)
Grand Hotel (1932)
Mata Hari (1932)
Rasputin and the Empress (1932)
Arsene Lupin (1932)
Broken Lullaby (1932)
Washington Masquerade (1932)
A Free Soul (1931)
Guilty Hands (1931)
Ten Cents a Dance (193
) The Yellow Ticket (1931)
Free and Easy (1930)
Love Comes Along (1930)
The Rogue Song (1930)
His Glorious Night (1929)
Madame X (1929)
The Mysterious Island (1929)
Stark Mad (1929)
The Unholy Night (1929)
The Hollywood Revue (1929)
Sadie Thompson (1928)
West of Zanzibar (1928)
Alias Jimmy Valentine (1928)
Drums of Love (1928)
The Lion and the Mouse (1928)
The River Woman (1928)
Road House (1928)
Body and Soul (1927)
Love (1927)
Show (1927)
Thirteenth Hour (1927)
Women Love Diamonds (1927)
Bells (1926)
The Barrier (1926)
Brooding Eyes (1926)
Lucky Lady (1926)
Paris at Midnight (1926)
The Temptress (1926)
Children of the Whirlwind (1925)
The Girl Who Wouldn't Work (1925)
The Iron Man (1925)
The Splendid Road (1925)
Wildfire (1925)
The Wrongdoers (1925)
America / The Fall of Babylon (1924)
Decameron Nights (1924)
I Am the Man (1924)
Meddling Women (1924)
America (1924)
The Enemies of Women (1923)
Eternal City (1923)
Unseeing Eyes (1923)
A Lady of Quality (1923)
Boomerang Bill (1922)
The Face in the Fog (1922)
Great Adventure (1921),
Jim the Penman (1921)
Copperhead (1920)
Devil's Garden (1920)
The Master Mind (1920)
The Penalty (1920)
His Father's Son (1917)
Life's Whirlpool (1917)
The Brand of Cowardice (1916)
Dorian's Divorce (1916)
Quitter (1916)
Yellow Streak (1915)
Judith of Bethulia (1914)
Classmates (1914)
The Seats of the Mighty (1914)
The Exploits of Elaine (1914)
The Battle at Elderbush Gulch (1913)
Fate (1913)
An Adventure in the Autumn Woods (1913)
Brute Force (1913)

The Enemy's Baby (1913)
A Girl's Stratagem (1913)
The House of Darkness (1913)
The House of Discord (1913)
Just Gold (1913)
The Lady and the Mouse (1913)
A Misunderstood Boy (1913)
Near to Earth (1913)
Oil and Water (1913)
The Perfidy of Mary (1913)
The Ranchero's Revenge (1913)
The Sheriff's Baby (1913)
So Runs the Way (1913)
The Telephone Girl and the Lady (1913)
The Tender Hearted Boy (1913)
Three Friends (1913)

The Vengeance of Galora (1913)
The Yaqui Cur (1913)
The Wanderer (1913)
The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912)
Brutality (1912)
The Burglar's Dilemma (1912)
The Chief's Blanket (1912)
A Cry for Help (1912)
The God Within (1912)
Gold and Glitter (1912)
Home Folks (1912)
The Informer (1912)
The Massacre (1912)
My Baby (1912)
My Hero (1912)
The New York Hat (1912)
The One She Loved (1912)
So Near, Yet So Far (1912)
Friends (1912)
The Battle (1911)
Fighting Blood (1911)
The Miser's Heart (1911)

Ethel Barrymore

The “reluctant” actress, evidenced by these quotes.…

"We who play, who entertain for a few years, what can we leave that will last?"

On Hollywood "The people are unreal. The flowers are unreal, they don't smell. The fruit is unreal, it doesn't taste of anything. The whole place is a glaring, gaudy nightmarish set, built up in the desert."

"To be a success an actress must have the face of Venus, the brain of Minerva, the grace of Terpsichore, the memory of Macaulay, the figure of Juno and the hide of a rhinoceros."

"Half the people in Hollywood are dying to be discovered and the other half are afraid they will be."

Born Ethel Mae Blythe on August 15, 1879 in Philadelphia, PA and had youthful dreams of becoming a concert pianist. She found that her skills as a pianist were no match for her acting skills and started taking bit parts before working her way up to a leading role. As a young woman, rumor has it that she turned down a proposal of marriage from one Winston Churchill. A pretty private person, little is known about Ethel except that was a strict Roman Catholic and refused to re-marry after her husband died in 1923. While not as prolific as her brothers, she did manage to make 36 films in a career that lasted close to 40 years. She died on June 18, 1956. These were her last words.

"Is everybody happy? I want everybody to be happy. I know I'm happy."


Johnny Trouble (1957)
Young at Heart(1955)
The Story of Three Loves (1953)
Just for You (1952)
Deadline - U.S.A. (1952)
It's a Big Country (1951)
The Secret of Convict Lake (1951) Kind Lady (1951)
The Red Danube (1949)
That Midnight Kiss (1949)
The Great Sinner (1949)
Portrait of Jennie (1948)

Night Song (1948)
The Paradine Case (1947) Moss Rose (1947)
The Farmer’s Daughter
The Spiral Staircase
None But the Lonely Heart (1944)
All at Sea (1933)
Rasputin and the Empress (1932)
The Divorcee (1919) Our Mrs. McChesney (1918)
National Red Cross Pageant (1917)
An American Widow (1917)
The Eternal Mother (1917)
Life's Whirlpool (1917)
The Lifted Veil (1917)
The Greatest Powe (1917)
The Call of Her People (1917)
The White Raven (1917)
The Awakening of Helena Ritchie (1916)
The Kiss of Hate (1916)
The Final Judgment (1915)
The Nightingale (1914) Last but not least we have ….

John Barrymore aka "The Great Profile"

”A man must pay the fiddler. In my case it so happened that the entire orchestra often had to be subsidized.”

Born John Blythe on February 14, 1882 in Philadelphia, PA and probably best known for his work on the stage where he won international acclaim for his portrayal of Hamlet. As a youth he had dreams of becoming an artist but like his siblings, found a career in acting more profitable. His roles often catered to the more grotesque nature and he often portrayed a madman or one who was living on the edge of society. A world famous drunk, his taste for alcohol got so bad that he often had to resort to cue cards to remember his lines. After making over 60 films, he died at the relatively young age of 60 on May 29, 1942.


Playmates (1941)
World Premiere (1941)
The Invisible Woman (1940)
The Great Profile (1940)
Midnight (1939)
The Great Man Votes (1939)
Hold That Co-ed (1938)
Spawn of the North (1938)
Marie Antoinette (1938)
Romance in the Dark (1938)
Bulldog Drummond's Peril (1938)
Bulldog Drummond Comes Back (1937)
True Confession (1937)
Bulldog Drummond's Revenge (1937)
Night Club Scandal (1937)
Maytime (1937)
Romeo and Juliet (1936)
Twentieth Century (1934)
Long Lost Father (1934)
Hamlet - Act I: Scene V (1933)
Counsellor at Law (1933)
Night Flight (1933)
Dinner at Eight (1933)
Reunion in Vienna (1933)
Topaze (1933)
Rasputin and the Empress (1932)
A Bill of Divorcement (1932)
State's Attorney (1932)

Grand Hotel (1932)
Arsène Lupin (1932)
The Mad Genius (1931)
Svengali (1931)
Moby Dick (1930)
Man from Blankley's, (1930),br> General Crack (1930)
The Show of Shows, (1929)
Eternal Love (1929)
Tempest (1928)
The Beloved Rogue, (1927)
When a Man Loves (1927)
Don Juan (1926)
The Sea Beast, (1926)
Beau Brummel (1924)
Sherlock Holmes (1922)
The Lotus Eater (1921)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920/I)
The Test of Honor(1919)
Here Comes the Bride (1919)
On the Quiet (1918)
National Red Cross Pageant (1917)
Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman (1917)
The Red Widow (1916)
The Lost Bridegroom(1916)
Nearly a King (1916)
The Incorrigible Dukane (1915)
The Dictator (1915)
Are You a Mason? (1915)
The Man from Mexico (1914)
An American Citizen (1914)



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