John Drew Sr.

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John Drew
Jonathan Henry Drewland

(1827-09-03)September 3, 1827
Dublin, Ireland
DiedMay 21, 1862(1862-05-21) (aged 34)
Resting placeMount Vernon Cemetery
(m. 1850)
ChildrenLouisa Drew
John Drew Jr.
Georgiana Drew

John Drew (September 3, 1827 – May 21, 1862) was an Irish-American stage actor and theatre manager.[1]: 175 

Early life[edit]

Born Jonathan Henry Drewland in Dublin, Ireland,[1]: 175  to Thomas L. Drewland and Louise Kanten, he was the fifth of six children. In 1832, he emigrated to the United States with his family to Boston, Massachusetts. As a child, he spent most of his life living in Boston. This is where he began acting. A younger brother, Frank Drew (1831–1903), also became an actor.[1]: 179 


After moving to the United States, Drew got a job in the theatrical company of Joseph J. Johlen (the theatre manager). He appeared in a number of Johlen's plays, including Uncle Mutch, The Barber Man, Canterbury of Livingston and The Progrist.

Drew made his first New York appearance in 1846. He played Irish and light comedy parts with success in many American cities, and was the manager of the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia.

Personal life[edit]

John married Louisa Lane in 1848 this being her third marriage and his first. They had three children, Louisa (1852–1888), John Jr. (1853–1927), and Georgiana (1856–1893), the latter two of whom were accomplished actors (Georgiana married Maurice Barrymore in 1876, begetting the Barrymore family; this makes John Drew a great-great-grandfather of actress Drew Barrymore).

Drew died at his home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the early age of 34, after tripping, falling and fatally hitting his head during a party for daughter Georgiana. He was buried in Glenwood Cemetery[2] in Philadelphia, which was later closed, and his remains were moved to Mount Vernon Cemetery. After his death, his wife Louisa took over the management of the Arch Street Theatre.[3] The Arch Street survived until 1936 when it was demolished.


  1. ^ a b c Moses, Montrose Jonas (1968) [first published 1906]. Famous Actor-Families in America. New York: Benjamin Blom, Inc. LCCN 68-58994.
  2. ^ Lindsay, Suzanne Glover (5 September 2019). "The Drews and Barrymores: A Theatrical Dynasty at St. Stephen's!". St. Stephens Episcopal Church. Retrieved 19 January 2022.
  3. ^ Wilson, Scott (19 August 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Site of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 208. ISBN 978-0-7864-7992-4. Retrieved 21 September 2019.

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