Lionel Barrymore

Actor, Director, Screenwriter
The eldest brother in an acting dynasty that included sister Ethel and brother John, Lionel Barrymore became one of his era's most popular thespians, despite vociferous claims that his profession was dictated by ... Read more »
Born: 04/28/1878 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA


Actor (76)

Mary Pickford, The Muse of the Movies 2008 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Main Street to Broadway 1953 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Right Cross 1950 (Movie)


Key Largo 1948 (Movie)


Duel in the Sun 1947 (Movie)


It's a Wonderful Life 1946 (Movie)

Mr Potter (Actor)

The Bad Man 1940 (Movie)

Uncle Henry Jones (Actor)

You Can't Take It With You 1938 (Movie)

Martin Vanderhof (Actor)

Test Pilot 1937 (Movie)


Camille 1936 (Movie)

Monsieur Duval (Actor)

Captains Courageous 1936 (Movie)

Disko (Actor)

The Devil-Doll 1935 (Movie)

Paul Lavond (Actor)

The Gorgeous Hussy 1935 (Movie)

Andrew Jackson (Actor)

David Copperfield 1934 (Movie)


Dinner at Eight 1932 (Movie)

Oliver Jordan (Actor)

Grand Hotel 1932 (Movie)

Otto Kringelein (Actor)

Mata Hari 1931 (Movie)


Free and Easy 1930 (Movie)

Director, bedroom scene (Actor)

The Yellow Ticket 1930 (Movie)

Baron Igor Andreeff (Actor)

Hollywood Revue of 1929 1929 (Movie)


The Mysterious Island 1928 (Movie)


West of Zanzibar 1927 (Movie)

Crane (Actor)

The Temptress 1925 (Movie)

Canterac (Actor)

Judith of Bethulia 1912 (Movie)


The Informer 1911 (Movie)


A Free Soul (Movie)

Stephen Ashe (Actor)

A Guy Named Joe (Movie)

The General (Actor)

A Yank at Oxford (Movie)

Dan Sheridan (Actor)

Ah, Wilderness! (Movie)

Nat Miller (Actor)

Berkeley Square (Movie)

Innkeeper (Actor)

Boomerang Bill (Movie)

Boomerang Bill (Actor)

Broken Lullaby (Movie)

Dr. Holderlin (Actor)

Calling Dr. Kildare (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)

Christopher Bean (Movie)

Dr. Haggett (Actor)

Down to the Sea in Ships (Movie)

Capt. Bering Joy (Actor)

Dr. Gillespie's Criminal Case (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)

Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant (Movie)

Dr. Gillespie (Actor)

Dr. Kildare Goes Home (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)

Dr. Kildare's Crisis (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)

Dr. Kildare's Strange Case (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)

Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)

Drums of Love (Movie)

Duke Cathos De Alvia (Actor)

Fighting Blood (Movie)


Guilty Hands (Movie)

Richard Grant (Actor)

Lady Be Good (Movie)

Judge Murdock (Actor)

Let Freedom Ring (Movie)

Thomas Logan (Actor)

Love Comes Along (Movie)


Malaya (Movie)

John Manchester (Actor)

Mark of the Vampire (Movie)

Prof. Zelen (Actor)

Navy Blue and Gold (Movie)

Capt. "Skinny" Dawes (Actor)

On Borrowed Time (Movie)

Julian Northrup, "Gramps" (Actor)

One Man's Journey (Movie)

Dr. Eli Watt (Actor)

Rasputin and the Empress (Movie)

Rasputin (aka Father Grisha) (Actor)

Sadie Thompson (Movie)

Alfred Atkinson (Actor)

Saratoga (Movie)

Grandpa Clayton (Actor)

Since You Went Away (Movie)

The Clergyman (Actor)

Tennessee Johnson (Movie)

Thad Stevens (Actor)

The Barrier (Movie)

Stark Bennett (Actor)

The Battle (Movie)


The Bells (Movie)


The Exploits of Elaine (Movie)


The Girl from Missouri (Movie)

T.R. Paige (Actor)

The Iron Man (Movie)

Philip Durban (Actor)

The Little Colonel (Movie)

Colonel Lloyd (Actor)

The Return of Peter Grimm (Movie)

Peter Grimm (Actor)

The Road to Glory (Movie)

Papa LaRoche (Actor)

The Secret Heart (Movie)

Dr. Rossiger (Actor)

The Secret of Dr. Kildare (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)

The Voice of Bugle Ann (Movie)

Spring Davis (Actor)

The Wanderer (Movie)


This Side of Heaven (TV Show)


Thousands Cheer (Movie)

Announcer (Actor)

Three Men in White (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)

Treasure Island (Movie)

Billy Bones (Actor)

Valley of Decision (Movie)

Pat Rafferty (Actor)

Young Dr. Kildare (Movie)

Dr. Leonard Gillespie (Actor)
Director (3)

His Glorious Night (Movie)


Madame X (Movie)


The Rogue Song (Movie)

Music (2)

Dr. Kildare's Wedding Day (Movie)

(Composer (Music Score))

His Glorious Night (Movie)

(Composer (Music Score))
Producer (1)

The Rogue Song (Movie)



The eldest brother in an acting dynasty that included sister Ethel and brother John, Lionel Barrymore became one of his era's most popular thespians, despite vociferous claims that his profession was dictated by financial need rather than a desire to perform. Literally pushed onto the stage as a toddler, the young Barrymore began appearing in silent films like "The New York Hat" (1912), most frequently for director D.W. Griffith. Work on Broadway in such performances as "The Copperhead" also provided income until the actor gradually turned his full attention to Hollywood. "A Free Soul" (1931) earned Barrymore an Oscar for Best Actor, while appearances in hits like "Grand Hotel" (1932), "Dinner at Eight" (1933) and "You Can't Take It With You" (1938) made him a bona fide movie star. Wheelchair-bound due to arthritis, he originated Dr. Gillespie, a character he would reprise for more than a dozen sequels, in the medical drama "Young Dr. Kildare" (1938). Barrymore's most indelible character was arguably that of Henry Potter, the villainous town elder in Frank Capra's holiday classic "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), a portrayal balanced out by his turn as the irrepressible James Temple in the Bogie and Bacall thriller "Key Largo" (1948). A man of many talents and interests, Barrymore was also an accomplished artist, composer and author whose celebrated six-decades-long career, while born of necessity, provided audiences with dozens of memorable performances.


Ethel Barrymore

born in August 1906 died on March 23, 1909 mother, Doris Rankin

Mary Barrymore

died at age two, c. 1906 mother, Doris Rankin

John Barrymore

born on February 15, 1882 died on May 29, 1942

Ethel Barrymore

acted with his sister Ethel and brother John in "Rasputin and the Empress" (1932) born on August 15, 1879 died on June 18, 1959

Drew Barrymore Actor

Born on Feb. 22, 1975 to John Drew Barrymore and Ildiko Jaid Mako (Jaid Barrymore)

Maurice Barrymore

born September 21, 1847 died March 2, 1905

Georgiana Drew


John Drew


Irene Fenwick

married from 1923 until her death on December 24, 1936

Eliza Lane


Doris Rankin

married in 1904 divorced in 1923


studied painting in Paris between 1903-07

Art Students League of New York

New York, New York



Last screen appearance in "Main Street to Broadway" (as himself)


Composed tone poem, "In Memoriam," in dedication to his brother, John, which was performed by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra


First appearance as Dr. Gillespie (for the 15-film MGM series) in "Young Dr. Kildare"


First feature as producer and composer (also director), "His Glorious Night"


Acted in MGM's first talkie, "Alias Jimmy Valentine"


Feature writing and directing debut, "Life's Whirlpool"


Feature film acting debut in "Men and Women"


Wrote two short films, one of which was D.W. Griffith's "The Tender-Hearted Boy"


Acted in over 50 short films (many by D.W. Griffith)


Joined Biograph film company


Broadway debut in "Sag Harbor"


Stage acting debut in "The Bachelor's Baby"


First stage appearance as Thomas the coachman in "The Rivals" (for one performance) during tour starring his grandmother, Mrs. John Drew

Bonus Trivia


Barrymore played Scrooge in an annual radio broadcast of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" which became something of a time-honored tradition.


Received a Treasury Department citation in 1954 for cooperation in helping promote investment in U.S. Savings Bonds.