Wikipedia:Today's featured article/February 15, 2015

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John Barrymore in 1922

John Barrymore (1882–1942) was an American actor most famous for his film roles. Born into a theatrical dynasty, he initially tried to avoid the stage, briefly attempting a career as an artist, but he soon followed his father Maurice and siblings Ethel and Lionel into acting. After beginning in light comedy, he moved to high stage drama, culminating in productions of Justice (1916), Richard III (1920), and especially Hamlet (1922), a role critics lavishly praised him for. After his stage career peaked, he turned entirely to cinema for the next 14 years, initially in silent films. His stage-trained voice proved an asset when sound films were introduced, and three of his works have been inducted into the National Film Registry. His personal life has been the subject of much attention before and since his death. He struggled with alcohol abuse from the age of 14, was married and divorced four times, and declared bankruptcy in his fifties. Much of his later work involved self-parody and the portrayal of drunken has-beens. A hugely influential actor whose talent still shapes Shakespearean acting today, his later career and private life were seen by the obituarists as a waste of a once-great talent. (Full article...)

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