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Barrymore Lionel; Autographed (facsimile) key book sepia tone photo circa early 1930s.

SKU: Barrymore Lionel; photo $14.95
Lionel Barrymore (April 28 1878 November 15 1954) was an American actor of stage screen and radio as well as a film director. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul (1931) and remains perhaps best known for the role of the villainous Henry Potter character in Frank Capra's 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life. He was also a member of the illustrious theatrical Barrymore family. Early life: Lionel Barrymore was born Lionel Herbert Blythe in Philadelphia the son of actors Georgiana Drew Barrymore and Maurice Barrymore. He was the elder brother of Ethel and John Barrymore the uncle of John Drew Barrymore and Diana Barrymore and the great-uncle of Drew Barrymore. Barrymore was raised a Roman Catholic. He attended the Episcopal Academy in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. In her autobiography Eleanor Farjeon recalled that when she and Barrymore were friends as toddlers she would take off her shoes and he would kiss her feet. He was married twice to actresses Doris Rankin and Irene Fenwick a one-time lover of his brother John. Doris's sister Gladys was married to Lionel's uncle Sidney Drew which made Gladys both his aunt and sister-in-law. Doris Rankin bore Lionel two daughters Ethel Barrymore II (b. 1908) and Mary Barrymore (b. 1916). Unfortunately neither baby girl survived infancy though Mary lived a few months. Lionel never truly recovered from the deaths of his girls and their loss undoubtedly strained his marriage to Doris Rankin which ended in 1923. Years later Barrymore developed a fatherly affection for Jean Harlow who was born about the same time as his two daughters and would have been about their age. When Jean died in 1937 Lionel and Clark Gable mourned her as though she had been family. Stage career: Barrymore began his stage career in the mid 1890s acting with his grandmother Louisa Lane Drew. He appeared on Broadway in his early twenties with his uncle John Drew Jr. in such plays as The Second in Command (1901) and The Mummy and the Hummingbird (1902) both produced by Charles Frohman. In 1905 Lionel and his siblings John and Ethel were all being groomed under the tutelage of Frohman. That year Lionel appeared with John in a short play called Pantaloon while John appeared with Ethel in Alice-Sit-By-The-Fire. In 1910 after he and Doris had spent many years in Paris Lionel came back to Broadway where he established his reputation as a dramatic and character actor. He and his wife often acted together on stage. He proved his talent in many plays including Peter Ibbetson (1917) (with brother John) The Copperhead (1918) (with Doris) and The Jest (1919) (again with John). Lionel gave a short-lived performance as MacBeth in 1921. The play was not successful and more than likely convinced Lionel to permanently return to films. One of Lionel's last plays was Laugh Clown Laugh (1923) with his second wife Irene Fenwick. This play would later be made into a 1928 silent film starring Lionel's friend Lon Chaney Sr.. Film career: Barrymore began making films about 1911 with D.W. Griffith at the Biograph Studios. There are claims that he made an earlier film with Griffith called The Paris Hat (1908) but no such movie exists. Lionel and Doris were in Paris in 1908 where Lionel attended art school and where their first baby Ethel was born. Lionel mentions in his autobiography We Barrymores that he and Doris were in France when Bleriot flew the channel on July 25 1909. Entering films the same year his uncle Sidney Drew began a film career at Vitagraph Barrymore made The Battle (1911) The New York Hat (1912) Friends and Three Friends (1913). In 1915 he co-starred with Lillian Russell in a movie called Wildfire one of the legendary Russell's few film appearances. He also made a foray into directing at Biograph. The last silent film he directed Life's Whirlpool (Metro Pictures 1917) starred his sister Ethel. In early 1920 Barrymore reprised his title role in the stage play The Copperhead (1920) in a Paramount Artcraft film of the same name. Before the formation of MGM in 1924 Barrymore forged a good relationship with Louis B. Mayer early on at Metro Pictures. He made numerous silent features for Metro most of them now lost. He occasionally freelanced returning to Griffith in 1924 to film America. His last film for Griffith was in 1928's Drums of Love. After Lionel and Doris divorced in 1923 he married Irene Fenwick. The two went to Italy to film The Eternal City for Metro Pictures in Rome combining work with their honeymoon. In 1924 he went to Germany to star in British producer-director Herbert Wilcox's Anglo-German co-production Decameron Nights filmed at UFA's Babelsberg studios outside Berlin. Prior to his marriage to Irene he and his brother John fell out over the issue of Irene's chastity in the wake of her having been one of John's lovers. The brothers didn't speak again for two years and weren't seen together until the premiere of John's film Don Juan in 1926 having patched up their differences. In 1924 he left Broadway for Hollywood. He starred as Frederick Harmon in director Henri Diamant-Berger's drama Fifty-Fifty (1925) opposite Hope Hampton and Louise Glaum and made several other freelance motion pictures including The Bells (Tiffany Pictures 1926) with a then-unknown Boris Karloff. After 1926 however he worked almost exclusively for MGM appearing opposite such luminaries as John Gilbert Lon Chaney Sr. Jean Harlow Wallace Beery Marie Dressler Greta Garbo Clark Gable Spencer Tracy and his brother John. On the occasional loan-out Barrymore had a big success with Gloria Swanson in 1928's Sadie Thompson and the aforementioned Griffith film Drums of Love. Talkies were now a reality and Barrymore's stage-trained voice recorded well in sound tests. In 1929 he returned to directing films. During this early and imperfect sound film period he made the controversial His Glorious Night with John Gilbert Madame x starring Ruth Chatterton and Rogue Song Laurel & Hardy's first color film. Barrymore returned to acting in front of the camera in 1931. In that year he won an Academy Award for his role as an alcoholic lawyer in A Free Soul (1931) after being nominated in 1930 for Best Director for Madame x. He could play many characters like the evil Rasputin in the 1932 Rasputin and the Empress (in which he co-starred with siblings John Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore) and the ailing Oliver Jordan in Dinner at Eight (1933 also with John Barrymore although they had no scenes together). During the 1930s and 1940s he became stereotyped as grouchy but sweet elderly men in such films as The Mysterious Island (1929) Grand Hotel (1932 with John Barrymore) Captains Courageous (1937) You Can't Take It with You (1938) Duel in the Sun (1946) and Key Largo (1948). In a series of Doctor Kildare movies in the 1930s and 1940s he played the irascible Doctor Gillespie repeating the role he'd created in the radio series throughout the 1940s. He also played the title role in another 1940s radio series Mayor of the Town. Barrymore had broken his hip in an accident hence he played Gillespie in a wheelchair: later his worsening arthritis kept him in the chair. The injury also precluded his playing Ebenezer Scrooge in the 1938 MGM film version of A Christmas Carol a role Barrymore played every year but one on the radio from 1934 through 1953. His final film appearance was a cameo in Main Street to Broadway an MGM musical comedy released in 1953. His sister Ethel also appeared in the film. Perhaps his best known role thanks to perennial Christmastime replays on television was Mr. Potter the miserly and mean-spirited banker in It's a Wonderful Life (1946) opposite James Stewart. The role suggested that of the ''unreformed'' stage of Barrymore's ''Scrooge'' characterization. Lionel's wife Irene died on Christmas Eve of 1936 and Lionel did not perform his annual Scrooge that year. John filled in as Scrooge for his grieving brother. Barrymore loathed the income tax system which kept him working to the end of his life. He expressed an interest in appearing on television in the 1950s but felt compelled to remain loyal to his old friend and employer Louis B. Mayer and MGM. Composer: Barrymore was also a prolific composer. His works ranged from solo piano pieces to large-scale orchestral works such as ''Tableau Russe.'' His piano compositions ''Scherzo Grotesque'' and ''Song Without Words'' were published by G. Schirmer in 1945. Graphic artist: Barrymore was also a very skillful graphic artist. For years he maintained an artist's shop and studio attached to his home in Los Angeles. His etchings and drawings are prized by collectors around the world. Death: Lionel Barrymore died on November 15 1954 from a heart attack in Van Nuys California and was entombed in the Calvary Cemetery in East Los Angeles California. He is honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the motion picture and radio categories.