Barrymore family tree

Unraveling The Barrymore Family Tree: A Look Into Hollywood Royalty

The Barrymore family, an emblematic constellation in the Hollywood firmament, epitomizes a legacy synonymous with acting royalty. As an authority on entertainment history and lineage, my experience sifting through genealogical labyrinths has frequently led me to the illustrious Barrymores—a dynasty that spans centuries.

I believe their story is not merely one of stardom but a fascinating tapestry of talent interwoven with personal trials and triumphs. Their narrative begins in 19th century London’s vibrant theater scene, evolving into a saga etched deeply into the annals of showbiz.

This blog post aims to demystify the intricate branches of the Barrymore family tree while encapsulating their influence on cinema and stage. The indelible mark they’ve left encompasses Academy Awards honors and stars cemented within the Walk of Fame—an affirmation of their enduring contributions to arts and culture.

Engage in this historical voyage as we unveil how Drew Barrymore’s endeavors continue to shape modern Hollywood, reconnecting her ancestral dots all the way back to celebrated figures like Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew.

Discover why their heritage still resonates today—read on for a dive deep into Tinseltown lore.

Key Takeaways

  • The Barrymore family’s enduring legacy in Hollywood began with Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew, whose children Lionel, Ethel, and John became influential figures during the golden age of cinema.
  • Each member of the Barrymore family made significant contributions to the film industry; from John’s magnetic presence on screen to Ethel’s legendary stage performances and Lionel’s versatility as an actor and director.
  • Drew Barrymore has continued the family’s impact by evolving her career beyond acting into producing, directing, screenwriting, and fashion. Her multifaceted talents have solidified the Barrymore legacy in modern Hollywood.
  • Through their iconic roles and enduring theatrical legacy, the Barrymores have established themselves as Hollywood royalty across multiple generations, leaving behind a cinematic heritage that continues to influence contemporary filmmaking.

The Origins of the Barrymore Legacy

A vintage theater stage with a bustling atmosphere and diverse actors.

Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew, both successful stage actors in the late 19th century, laid the foundation for the Barrymore family’s enduring legacy in Hollywood.

Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew

Maurice Barrymore, born Herbert Arthur Chamberlayne Blythe, made a significant splash on Broadway and pioneered the family’s transition into vaudeville. His dynamic presence on stage set the groundwork for what would become an enduring legacy in entertainment.

Georgiana Drew, his wife, brought her own prestigious theatrical lineage to the union. She hail from a prolific acting dynasty that included her parents, Louisa Lane Drew and Thomas Haycraft Lane, as well as her siblings John Drew Jr.

and Sidney Drew.

Together Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana crafted a family environment steeped in dramatic arts. They laid a solid foundation for their children—Lionel, Ethel, and John—who would rise to prominence as some of Hollywood’s most illustrious figures.

Their collective talents established the Barrymores not just as actors but as icons within the entertainment industry; their names synonymous with performance excellence across generations of filmgoers and theater enthusiasts alike.

The Golden Age Titans: Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore

Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore were influential figures during Hollywood’s golden age. Their impact on the film industry is undeniable. Find out more about their remarkable legacy in Hollywood royalty.

John Barrymore’s Rise and Fall

John Barrymore, a scion of the illustrious Barrymore acting dynasty, clinched his place in Hollywood with performances that captivated audiences. His ascent to stardom was meteoric; he became known for his magnetic presence and riveting portrayals in films like “The Sea Beast.” With an enigmatic charisma on both stage and screen, John set a new bar for actors during what many consider the golden age of cinema.

However, behind the glittering façade of fame, struggles brewed. John’s personal life suffered from multiple marriages and publicized divorces which eventually overshadowed his cinematic achievements.

As years passed by, chronic alcohol abuse led to a decline in both his health and career. Despite being part of Hollywood royalty alongside siblings Ethel and Lionel Barrymore, John’s star dimmed prematurely – culminating in a tragic ending marked by cirrhosis of the liver.

His fall from grace remains one of the most poignant reminders of the often ephemeral nature of celebrity status within the film industry.

Ethel Barrymore’s Theatrical Triumphs

Ethel Barrymore’s legacy as a stage actress is nothing short of legendary. Her performances captivated audiences and critics alike, earning her a reputation as one of the greats in American theatre.

She took to the stage with natural grace and powerful presence, embodying roles that spanned from Shakespearean tragedies to contemporary dramas. With each performance, Barrymore solidified her status as a leading lady of unparalleled talent.

Her 1944 Academy Award win for Best Supporting Actress only highlighted what many had long recognized: Ethyl was an extraordinary force in acting. Off-screen, she brought life to countless characters on Broadway stages, showcasing her versatility and depth.

The Barrymore siblings made cinematic history together in “Rasputin and the Empress,” but it was Ethel’s theatrical work that left an indelible mark on the arts landscape – truly cementing the Barrymore name in entertainment royalty.

Lionel Barrymore’s Enduring Screen Presence

Lionel Barrymore captured the hearts of moviegoers with his powerful performances and undeniable talent. His screen presence was commanding, making him one of the most respected actors of the golden age of Hollywood.

He won an Academy Award for his role in “A Free Soul,” showcasing his dynamic acting abilities across different genres. Audiences remember him fondly as Mr. Potter, the formidable antagonist in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” His contribution to cinema extended beyond acting; he also directed films and composed music.

His versatility set him apart in an era dominated by typecasting; Lionel Barrymore could slip into any character, from villains to virtuous figures, with seamless ease. This adaptability kept him in demand throughout his career, which spanned several decades and included countless memorable roles on both stage and screen.

Despite facing physical challenges later in life that limited his mobility, Lionel forged ahead undeterred, solidifying his legacy as a true icon of early American cinema.

The Barrymore Influence on Modern Hollywood

A photo of the iconic Barrymore family mansion in the Hollywood Hills with a bustling atmosphere and different people.

The Barrymore family’s impact on modern Hollywood can be seen through Drew Barrymore’s successful career evolution, along with the continued influence of the family as a whole. Drew has made significant contributions to the film industry and continues to carry on the legacy of her famous relatives.

Drew Barrymore’s Career Evolution

Drew Barrymore reinvented her career, branching out from acting into screenwriting, directing, producing, and fashion. She found stability through Flower Films and her clothing and cosmetics line, Flower Beauty.

Despite struggles with addiction in her youth, Barrymore emerged as a Hollywood powerhouse known for her roles in “The Wedding Singer,” “Charlie’s Angels,” and “Santa Clarita Diet.” Her multifaceted contributions solidify the Barrymore legacy in modern cinema.

Barrymore’s impact extends beyond the silver screen; she has earned recognition on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her diverse talents. From childhood stardom to becoming a respected entrepreneur within the entertainment industry, Drew Barrymore has skillfully navigated challenges to evolve into an influential figure on and off-screen.

The Barrymore Family’s Continued Impact

The Barrymore family’s continued impact on modern Hollywood is undeniable. With multiple Academy Awards and significant contributions to the entertainment industry, their influence has transcended generations.

From John Barrymore’s iconic Rudolph Valentino Medal in 1925 to Drew Barrymore’s diverse career evolution, the family has consistently made a mark on film history. Their extensive lineage includes notable members such as Jessica Barrymore, diana barrymore, Olive Barrymore Kopelman, and others who have left an indelible imprint on the industry.

The Pennsylvania Historical Marker designates the Barrymores for their profound contribution as performers to both stage and screen. This multi-generational legacy underscores their lasting impact on American entertainment culture, endearing them as one of Hollywood’s legendary dynasties.

The Barrymore Family Tree and Notable Members

The Barrymore family tree spans multiple generations and includes notable members such as John, Lionel, and Ethel Barrymore, who made significant contributions to the film industry.

A Glimpse into the Family’s Extensive Lineage

The Barrymore family lineage can be traced back to the mid-19th century London stage, with roots in both the Drew and Barrymore acting families. The extensive lineage of the Barrymore family includes notable members such as Maurice Barrymore, Georgiana Drew, Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore, Drew Barrymore, and several others. Their impact on Hollywood has continued for generations, shaping the industry in various ways.

  1. Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew were the patriarch and matriarch of the family, respectively.
  2. Their children Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore became iconic figures during the Golden Age of Hollywood.
  3. The family’s influence extended to modern Hollywood through Drew Barrymore’s successful career evolution.
  4. The family tree includes members like John Drew Barrymore, Dolores Costello, and Frankie Barrymore Kopelman who have also made significant contributions to the film industry.
  5. The name “Barrymore” itself is a composite of two prominent acting families – the Drews and the Barrymores – solidifying their place in Hollywood royalty.

Iconic Roles and Contributions to the Film Industry

The Barrymore family has left an indelible mark on the film industry, with each member contributing iconic roles and performances that have shaped Hollywood’s history. Here are some of their notable contributions:

  1. John Barrymore’s portrayal of Hamlet in the 1922 film solidified his reputation as a brilliant Shakespearean actor and showcased his immense talent on the silver screen.
  2. Ethel Barrymore’s performance in “None But the Lonely Heart” earned her an Academy Award nomination, highlighting her ability to bring depth and emotion to her characters.
  3. Lionel Barrymore’s role as Mr. Potter in “It’s a Wonderful Life” remains one of the most iconic antagonists in film history, showcasing his versatility and range as an actor.
  4. Drew Barrymore’s breakthrough role in “E.T. The Extra – Terrestrial” captured the hearts of audiences worldwide, cementing her status as a child star and later as a successful adult actress.
  5. The Barrymore family’s enduring theatrical legacy has continued to inspire generations of actors and filmmakers, leaving an undeniable impact on the entertainment industry.


The Barrymore family has left an indelible mark on Hollywood, with its rich legacy spanning generations. From the illustrious careers of Lionel, Ethel, and John to Drew Barrymore’s modern-day success, their influence continues to shape the entertainment industry.

Their enduring impact serves as a testament to the family’s talent and resilience in navigating the complexities of fame and fortune. Hollywood royalty indeed, the Barrymore family tree stands as a symbol of artistic prowess and tenacity for future generations.


1. Who started the Barrymore family legacy in Hollywood?

Herbert Blythe, known as Maurice Barrymore, began the legacy with his wife Georgiana Drew Barrymore, and together they became part of Hollywood royalty.

2. What are some famous works associated with the Barrymore family?

Members of the Barrymore family have starred in classic films like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and plays such as “You Can’t Take It with You.”

3. Did any members of the Barrymore family make contributions to theater?

Yes, besides film, they contributed greatly to theater with connections to places like Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and Arch Street Theatre.

4. Are there any notable relationships between the Barrymores and other famous actors?

The Barrymores were related to acting greats such as Edwin Booth and were connected through marriage to “Mr. & Mrs. Sidney Drew.”

5. How far back does the acting tradition in the Barrymore family go?

The acting roots can be traced back several generations, all the way to Louisa Lane Drew and her father Junius Brutus Booth, making it a multi-generational dynasty in performing arts.