Thursday, July 24, 2014

Blind Items Revealed- Old Hollywood

April 29, 2014

For most of his career, this stage/film actor with a famous last name was A++ list, but his longtime battle with the bottle caught up with him and it showed in his performances. He slipped to a B-list character actor with A-list name recognition, often appearing in supporting roles in both big-budget epics and low-budget musical comedies. When he first came out to Hollywood in the mid 1920s, the make-up department went into overdrive because pockmarks dotted his face due to his drinking. They had to use women's makeup to make him look presentable. The actor often joked to his friends that he was one step away to becoming a drag queen.

John Barrymore

17 comments:

LottaColada said...

Sandy got it

Vera Christina said...

drew comes by her addiction issues honestly.

FSP said...

v5@Sandy

sandybrook said...

Thanx

sandybrook said...

Imma hand it to Princess Nobody though because she declared Barrymore and I used a ?

D Brown said...

“Die? I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him.”
So said the Great Barrymore.
At the end.
The Great Profile collapsed while appearing on Rude Vallee’s radio show and died a few days later, on May 29, in his hospital room. Cause of death: Cirrhosis of the liver and pneumonia.
When W. C. Fields heard that his drinking buddy was on his deathbed, he sent him a telegram reading YOU CAN’T DO THIS TO ME.
Film director Raoul Walsh “borrowed” Barrymore’s body after the funeral (he bribed the undertaker with $200), and left his corpse propped in a chair for a drunken Errol Flynn to discover when he returned home from a night of drinking. Flynn recalled the morbid moment in his autobiography: “As I opened the door, I stared into the face of Barrymore. His eyes were closed. He looked puffed, white, bloodless. They hadn’t embalmed him yet. I let out a delirious scream. My heart pounded. I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night.”
Barrymore left specific instructions that he be cremated and his ashes buried next to his parents in the family plot in Philadelphia. However, as brother Lionel Barrymore and sister Ethel Barrymore were Catholic and cremation was not sanctioned by the Church at the time, the executors of his estate had Barrymore’s remains entombed at Calvary Cemetery in Los Angeles.
In 1980, John Drew Barrymore decided to fulfill his father’s wishes and have him cremated, and recruited his son to help. They had the casket removed from its Los Angeles crypt; before the body was cremated, John Jr. insisted on having a look inside. “Thank God I’m drunk,” he told his son. “I’ll never remember it.”
Barrymore’s ashes are interred in Mt. Vernon Cemetery in Philadelphia. His gravestone reminds one and all that the Great Profile was the greatest Hamlet of them all, with the line “Alas, Poor Yorick” engraved beneath his name. (Copied from the Examiner website)

AKM said...

Wow. I have to be honest and say that I didn't care too much about this reveal until your stories, D Brown. Fascinating! Thanks for sharing. :-)

parissucksliterally said...

I have never heard of pockmarks being caused by alcohol. Are you sure he didn't have them because he suffered from acne when he was younger?
Alcohol abuse certainly does not help a complexion, but causing pockmarks? That is new to me.

Mr.Cannon said...

Legitimate question: Did the term drag queen even exist in the '20s?

Jessica Larson said...

He probably just looked like hell from the years of not taking care of himself, and some drug use.

They also all had young teen age girlfriends & mistresses.

Sincerely,Your Friend said...

My Grandpappy must have been a sex addict.

SusanB said...

At his age his pockmarks could have been caused by chicken pox. I was a child long before the vaccine and have pockmarks on my hip from where my diaper rubbed on the sores when I was about 1 1/2 years old.

Pip said...

I don't think the drinking caused the pockmarks, though his complextion probably looked like shit from the booze.

@Susan, I still have some scars on my arms from when I had chicken pox.

Pip said...

Complexion*

Seven of Eleven said...

@paris, I was thinking the same thing! The only way booze could cause pockmarks is if you develop psoriasis from drinking too much, and the psoriasis spread to your face. They can leave scars if you pick at them and those scars could look like pockmarks.

Interesting stories, D!

auntliddy said...

Thanks dbriwn for cool stories.

Aoife said...

Thank you D Brown.