Drew Blythe Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) is an American actress, author, director, model and producer. She is a descendant of the Barrymore family of well-known American stage and cinema actors, and is a granddaughter of actor John Barrymore. Barrymore first appeared in an advertisement when she was eleven months old. In 1980, she made her film debut in Altered States. In 1982, she starred in her breakout role as Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and quickly became one of Hollywood’s most recognized child actresses, going on to establish herself in mainly comic roles.
Following a turbulent childhood which was marked by recurring drug and alcohol abuse, and two stints in rehab, Barrymore wrote the 1990 autobiography, Little Girl Lost. She successfully made the transition from child star to adult actress with a number of films including Poison Ivy, Bad Girls, Boys on the Side, Scream and Everyone Says I Love You. Subsequently, she also starred in romantic comedies, such as The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates.
In 1997, she and her business partner Nancy Juvonen formed the production company Flower Films, with its first production the 1999 Barrymore film Never Been Kissed. Flower Films went on to produce the Barrymore vehicle films Charlie’s Angels, 50 First Dates and Music and Lyrics, as well as the cult film Donnie Darko. Her more recent projects include He’s Just Not That Into You, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Everybody’s Fine and Going the Distance. A recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Barrymore appeared on the cover of the 2007 People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful people.
Barrymore was named an Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Since then, she has donated over US$1 million to the program. In 2007, she became both CoverGirl’s newest model and spokeswoman for the cosmetic and the face for Gucci’s newest jewelry line. In 2010, she won the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film for her portrayal of Little Edie in Grey Gardens.
- 1 Early life and family
- 2 Career
- 2.1 Early career
- 2.2 Rebellious era
- 2.3 Return to prominence
- 2.4 Flower Films and later work
- 3 Other career highlights
- 4 Personal life
- 4.1 Relationships, marriages and family life
- 5 Filmography
- 6 Awards and nominations
- 7 References
- 8 Further reading
- 9 External links
Early life and family
Barrymore was born in Culver City, California, to American actor John Drew Barrymore (1932-2004) and Jaid Barrymore (born Ildikó Jaid Makó; 1946-), an aspiring actress. Barrymore’s mother was born in a displaced persons camp in Brannenburg, West Germany, to Hungarian World War II refugees. Her parents divorced in 1984, when she was nine years old. She is one of four children with a half-brother, John, who is also an actor.
Barrymore was born into acting: all of her paternal great-grandparents – Maurice Barrymore and Georgie Drew Barrymore, and Maurice Costello and Mae Costello (née Altschuk) – as well as her paternal grandparents, John Barrymore and Dolores Costello, were actors; John Barrymore was arguably the most acclaimed actor of his generation. She is the niece of Diana Barrymore and the grandniece of Lionel Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore and Helene Costello, the great-great-granddaughter of Irish-born John Drew and English-born Louisa Lane Drew, all of whom were actors, and the great-grandniece of Broadway idol John Drew, Jr. and silent film actor, writer and director Sidney Drew. She is also the god-daughter of director Steven Spielberg, and actress Sophia Loren.
Her first name, “Drew”, was the maiden name of her paternal great-grandmother, Georgie Drew Barrymore, and her middle name, “Blythe”, was the original surname of the dynasty founded by her great-grandfather, Maurice Barrymore.
Barrymore’s career began when she was auditioned for a dog food commercial when she was 11 months old. When she was bitten by her canine co-star, the producers were afraid she would cry, but she merely laughed, and was hired for the job. She made her feature film debut in Altered States (1980), in which she had a small part. A year later, she played Gertie, the younger sister of Elliott, in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which made her one of the most famous child stars of the time and earned her the Young Artist Award as Best Young Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture in 1982. She received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture in 1984 for her role in Irreconcilable Differences, in which she starred as a young girl divorcing her parents. In a review in the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert stated: “Barrymore is the right actress for this role precisely because she approaches it with such grave calm.”
In the wake of this sudden stardom, Barrymore endured a notoriously troubled childhood. She was already a regular at the famed Studio 54 when she was a little girl, smoking cigarettes at the age of nine, drinking alcohol by the time she was eleven, smoking marijuana at the age of twelve and snorting cocaine at the age of thirteen. Her nightlife and constant partying became a popular subject with the media. She was in rehab at the age of fourteen, where she spent eighteen months in an institution for the mentally ill. A suicide attempt, also at the age of fourteen, put her back in rehab, followed by a three-month stay with singer David Crosby and his wife. The stay was precipitated, Crosby said, because she “needed to be around some people that were committed to sobriety.” Barrymore later described this period of her life in her autobiography, Little Girl Lost. The following year, following a successful juvenile court petition for emancipation, she moved into her own apartment.
In her late teens, her rebelliousness played itself out on screen and in print. Barrymore forged an image as a manipulative teenage seductress, beginning with the film Poison Ivy (1992), which was a box office failure, but was popular on video and cable. That same year, at the age of seventeen, she posed nude for the cover of the July issue of Interview magazine with her then-fiancé, actor Jamie Walters, as well as appearing nude in pictures inside the issue. In 1992, she underwent breast reduction surgery and has said on the subject:
“I really love my body and the way it is right now. There’s something very awkward about women and their breasts because men look at them so much. When they’re huge, you become very self-conscious. Your back hurts. You find that whatever you wear, you look heavy in. It’s uncomfortable. I’ve learned something, though, about breasts through my years of pondering and pontificating, and that is: Men love them, and I love that.”
In 1993, Barrymore earned a second Golden Globe nomination, this time for the film Guncrazy. Barrymore posed nude at the age of nineteen for the January 1995 issue of Playboy. Steven Spielberg, who directed her in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial when she was a child and is her godfather, gave her a quilt for her twentieth birthday with a note that read, “Cover yourself up.” Enclosed were copies of her Playboy pictures, with the pictures altered by his art department so that she appeared fully clothed. During her appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Barrymore climbed onto David Letterman’s desk and bared her breasts to him, her back to the camera, in celebration of his birthday. She modeled in a series of Guess? jeans ads during this time.
Return to prominence
In 1995, Barrymore starred in Boys on the Side opposite Whoopi Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker, and in her cameo appearance in Joel Schumacher’s film Batman Forever, she played Sugar, a moll to Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones). The following year, she made a cameo in the successful horror film Scream. Barrymore continued to be highly bankable, and a top box office draw. She was frequently cast in romantic comedies such as Wishful Thinking (1997), The Wedding Singer (1998), and Home Fries (1998). Barrymore’s role in the costume drama Ever After (1998) offered a modern take on the classic fairy tale of Cinderella and served as a reminder, according to Roger Ebert, of how well Drew Barrymore “can hold the screen and involve us in her characters.”
In 2000, Barrymore was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance in Olive, the Other Reindeer. Besides a number of appearances in films produced by her company, Flower Films, including Charlie’s Angels, Barrymore had a dramatic role in the comedy-drama Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), as a teenage mother in a failed marriage with the drug-addicted father (based on the real-life story of Beverly Donofrio). In 2002, Barrymore starred in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, with Sam Rockwell and Julia Roberts.