The Barrymore Acting Dynasty

I want to begin this blog with a congratulations to Drew Barrymore on her new talk show! From discovering extra-terrestrials to working in a private detective agency in Charlie’s Angels, she can really accomplish anything!

We all know Barrymore from her starring roles in: The Wedding Singer (1998), Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998), Never Been Kissed (1999), Fifty First Dates (2004), and her first starring role in E. T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). These are just a few of her many films.

However, Barrymore comes from a line of famous actors and actresses, stretching as far back as 400 years! It is rather easy to come across her ancestors’ names in the theater and performing arts pages in the newspapers. No wonder Drew Barrymore has such acting talent!

The three most prominent ancestors read about in NJ newspapers are siblings, Ethel, Lionel, and John Barrymore. Respectively, they are Drew Barrymore’s great aunt, uncle, and grandfather.

Image of Ethel Barrymore with the heading "Intelligence Chief Stage Necessity."

Ethel Barrymore mentions that the most valuable asset that an actress can have is intelligence. Many women have beauty and prowess that can help achieve starring roles, however they will not be able to go far without intelligence. The article above is featured in November 12, 1912 Newark Evening Star and Newark Advertiser.

Images of plays in local theaters with Ethel Barrymore seen in the upper left.

Ethel Barrymore, shown in the image on the top left, starred in The Nightingale (1914). This article is featured in October 17, 1914 Newark Evening Star and Newark Advertiser.

Advertisement with Lionel Barrymore starring in "The Great Adventure."

Lionel Barrymore, Ethel’s brother, also starred in many roles included A Free Soul (1931), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) and an earlier film The Great Adventure (1921), featured in August 13, 1921 Perth Amboy Evening News.

Images of actors and spouses with the heading "Actors Happy Though Married" with Lionel Barrymore shown on the lower center and his wife, Doris Rankin, on the right.

The image above, featured in December 15, 1921 Perth Amboy Evening News, shows happily married stage folk! Lionel Barrymore is seen on the lower center with his wife, Doris Rankin, shown on the right.

Advertisement with John Barrymore starring in "Sherlock Holmes."

This advertisement, featured in January 20, 1923 Perth Amboy Evening News, mentions John Barrymore, starring in the main role in Sherlock Holmes (1922).

Images of films with John Barrymore starring in "The Man from Mexico" on the lower right corner.

The article above, featured in October 31, 1914 Newark Evening Star and Newark Advertiser, shows an image of John Barrymore, on the lower right corner, starring in The Man from Mexico (1914), his second feature film. The film was later remade as Let’s Get Married (1926).

(Contributed by Kristi Chanda)


“All in the Family: The Barrymores.” MyHeritage Blog, 15 Apr. 2019,

“Ethel Barrymore: TV Guide.”,

“The Man from Mexico.” IMDb,, 2 Nov. 1914,

Leave a Reply