John Drew Barrymore


John Drew Barrymore was an American actor and father of Hollywood star, Drew Barrymore. He was also known for his role in the popular TV series, Gunsmoke. Despite a promising start to his career, John Drew Barrymore struggled with personal demons that ultimately led to his downfall. In this blog post, we will explore the life and legacy of this talented actor.

Early Life and Career

John Drew Barrymore

Family Background

John Drew Barrymore was born on June 4, 1932, in Los Angeles, California. He was the son of legendary actor John Barrymore and his third wife, Dolores Costello. His parents’ tumultuous relationship and his father’s alcoholism had a profound impact on John Drew Barrymore’s childhood. His parents divorced when he was just nine years old, and he was raised mostly by his mother.

Acting Career

John Drew Barrymore made his acting debut in the 1950 film, The Sundowners, which also starred his mother. He went on to appear in several other films, including High School Confidential! and Never Love a Stranger. In 1962, he landed a recurring role in the popular TV series, Gunsmoke, playing the character of “Festus Haggen.”

Personal Life and Struggles

Marriages and Children

John Drew Barrymore was married four times and had four children. His first marriage was to actress Cara Williams, with whom he had a daughter, Jaid. He later married actresses Gabriella Palazzoli and Nina Wayne, with whom he had two children, John Blyth Barrymore and Blyth Dolores Barrymore. His fourth and final marriage was to actor and musician, Nina Li Chi, with whom he had a daughter, Drew Barrymore.

Personal Struggles

John Drew Barrymore struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction throughout his life. His personal demons led to numerous run-ins with the law, including arrests for drug possession and DUI. He also suffered from mental health issues, including bipolar disorder. These struggles ultimately derailed his promising career and led to his early death in 2004.


Impact on Hollywood

Despite his personal struggles, John Drew Barrymore left a lasting impact on Hollywood. He was a talented actor who appeared in numerous films and TV shows throughout his career. He was also the father of Hollywood star, Drew Barrymore, who has gone on to have a successful career of her own.

Remembering John Drew Barrymore

Today, John Drew Barrymore is remembered as a talented actor, a devoted father, and a troubled soul. His legacy serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of addiction and the importance of seeking help when struggling with mental health issues. Though his life was cut short, his impact on Hollywood and his family will never be forgotten.


Who was John Drew Barrymore?

John Drew Barrymore was an American actor and member of the famous Barrymore family, known for his roles in films such as “Night of the Quarter Moon” and “High School Confidential.”

What was John Drew Barrymore’s legacy?

John Drew Barrymore’s legacy includes his contributions to the film industry, his impact as a father to his children, and his memorable role as Will Stambridge in the TV series “Gunsmoke.”

What was John Drew Barrymore’s relationship with his family?

John Drew Barrymore was the son of actor John Barrymore and actress Dolores Costello, and the father of actress Drew Barrymore. He had a tumultuous relationship with his family, including his father and daughter, due to his struggles with alcoholism and drug addiction.

What were some of John Drew Barrymore’s notable film roles?

Some of John Drew Barrymore’s notable film roles include “The Big Night,” “The Shadow on the Window,” and “The Pharaohs’ Woman.”

What was John Drew Barrymore’s role in “Gunsmoke”?

John Drew Barrymore played the character of Will Stambridge in the TV series “Gunsmoke,” appearing in eight episodes between 1964 and 1967. His performance was well-received by audiences and critics alike.

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