John Drew Barrymore

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John Drew Barrymore
John Drew Barrymore 1953.jpg
From a Schlitz Playhouse of Stars presentation, 1953
BornJohn Blyth Barrymore[1]
(1932-06-04)June 4, 1932
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedNovember 29, 2004(2004-11-29) (aged 72)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1949–1976
Cara Williams
(m. 1953; div. 1960)

Gabriella Palazzoli
(m. 1960; div. 1970)

Jaid Barrymore
(m. 1971; div. 1984)

Nina Wayne
(m. 1985; div. 1994)
[citation needed]
Children4, including John Blyth and Drew Barrymore
Parent(s)John Barrymore
Dolores Costello

John Drew Barrymore (born John Blyth Barrymore, Jr.;[2] June 4, 1932 – November 29, 2004) was an American 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 actor John Blyth Barrymore and actress Drew Barrymore. Diana Barrymore was his half-sister from his father's second marriage.

Early life[edit]

Barrymore was born in Los Angeles, California to John Barrymore (born John Blyth) 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.[2][3]


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.[2][4]

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.[5] He did appear as Stacey Daggart in the 1966–67 NBC series The Road West, starring Barry Sullivan.

Career decline and death[edit]

After the SAG suspension was served to Barrymore in 1967, he sporadically worked on-screen, sometimes with a few years between appearances. His TV and film career ended permanently by 1976, although even before this point he became more and more reclusive. Barrymore suffered from the same addiction problems that had destroyed his father, and he became a derelict. He was estranged from his family, including his children, and his lifestyle continued to worsen as his physical and mental health deteriorated.[6][7]

In 2003, his daughter Drew moved him near her home, despite their estrangement. She paid his medical bills until his death from cancer the following year at age 72. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to television.

Personal life[edit]

All of Barrymore's marriages ended in divorce. His first marriage was to actress Cara Williams in 1952; they had one child, John Blyth Barrymore (b. 1954), before their divorce in 1959. A year later, in 1960, Barrymore married Gabriella Palazzoli. Their daughter, Blyth Dolores Barrymore, was born that same year. Their marriage lasted 10 years before ending in divorce in 1970.[8]

  • Cara Williams (1953–1959) (divorced) (1 child)
  • Gabriella Palazzoli (1960–1970) (divorced) (1 child)
    • Blyth Dolores Barrymore, born 1960
  • Ildiko Jaid Mako (1971–1984) (divorced) (1 child)
  • Nina Wayne (1985–1994) (divorced)[citation needed] (1 child)
    • Brahma (Jessica) Blyth Barrymore (1966–2014)[9]



  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. ^ a b c Oliver, Myrna (1 December 2004). "John Drew Barrymore, 72; Troubled Heir to the Throne of the Royal Family of Acting". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  3. ^,78446&hl=en[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ John Drew Barrymore, 72, of Acting Clan, New York Times, 1 December 2004
  5. ^ Solow, Herbert F. & Robert H. Justman "Inside Star Trek" ISBN 0-671-89628-8 pp. 201-202
  6. ^ John Drew Barrymore Actor son of John Barrymore who exceeded even his father's off-screen excesses, The Independent obituary, 1 December 2004
  7. ^ John Drew Barrymore dies, Sydney Morning Herald, 30 November 2004
  8. ^ "John Drew Barrymore". The Independent. 1 December 2004. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  9. ^ Alt.Film.Guide - Jessica Barrymore Found Dead: Daughter of John Drew Barrymore, Drew Barrymore Half-Sister

External links[edit]