Lionel Barrymore

Highest Rated: 100% Treasure Island (1934)
Lowest Rated: 20% Devil Doll (1964)
Birthday: Invalid date
Birthplace: Not Available
Like his younger brother John, American actor Lionel Barrymore wanted more than anything to be an artist. But a member of the celebrated Barrymore family was expected to enter the family trade, so Lionel reluctantly launched an acting career. Not as attractive as John or sister Ethel, he was most effectively cast in character roles - villains, military officers, fathers - even in his youth. Unable to save what he earned, Barrymore was "reduced" to appearing in films for the Biograph Company in 1911, where he was directed by the great D.W. Griffith and where he was permitted to write a few film stories himself, which to Lionel was far more satisfying than playacting. His stage career was boosted when cast in 1917 as Colonel Ibbetson in Peter Ibbetson, which led to his most celebrated role, Milt Shanks in The Copperhead; even late in life, he could always count on being asked to recite his climactic Copperhead soliloquy, which never failed to bring down the house. Moving on to film, Barrymore was signed to what would be a 25-year hitch with MGM and begged the MGM heads to be allowed to direct; he showed only moderate talent in this field, and was most often hired to guide those films in which MGM wanted to "punish" its more rebellious talent. Resigning himself to acting again in 1931, he managed to cop an Academy Award for his bravura performance as a drunken defense attorney in A Free Soul (1931), the first in an increasingly prestigious series of movie character parts. In 1937, Barrymore was crippled by arthritis, and for the rest of his career was confined to a wheelchair. The actor became more popular than ever as he reached his sixtieth birthday, principally as a result of his annual radio appearance as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and his continuing role as Dr. Gillespie in MGM's Dr. Kildare film series. Barrymore was aware that venerability and talent are not often the same thing, but he'd become somewhat lazy (if one can call a sixtyish wheelchair-bound man who showed up on time and appeared in at least three films per year "lazy") and settled into repeating his "old curmudgeon with a heart of gold" performance, save for the occasional topnotch part in such films as It's a Wonderful Life (1946) and Down to the Sea in Ships (1949). Denied access to television work by his MGM contract, Barrymore nonetheless remained active in radio (he'd starred in the long-running series Mayor of the Town), and at one point conducted a talk program from his own home; additionally, the actor continued pursuing his hobbies of writing, composing music, painting and engraving until arthritis overcame him. On the day of his death, he was preparing for his weekly performance on radio's Hallmark Playhouse; that evening, the program offered a glowing tribute to Barrymore, never once alluding to the fact that he'd spent a lifetime in a profession he openly despised.


Highest Rated Movies



No Score Yet The Lady And The Mouse Actor 2010
20% Devil Doll Paul Lavond / Madame Mandilip 1964
No Score Yet Bell Science - Our Mr. Sun Actor 1956
No Score Yet Yesterday And Today Actor 1953
No Score Yet Main Street to Broadway Himself 1953
No Score Yet Lone Star Andrew Jackson 1952
No Score Yet Right Cross Sean O'Malley 1950
No Score Yet Malaya John Manchester 1949
No Score Yet Down to the Sea in Ships Capt. Bering Joy 1949
97% Key Largo James Temple 1948
80% Duel in the Sun Senator Jackson McCanles 1946
93% It's a Wonderful Life Henry Potter 1946
No Score Yet The Secret Heart Dr. Rossiger 1946
No Score Yet The Valley of Decision Pat Rafferty 1945
80% Since You Went Away Clergyman 1944
No Score Yet A Guy Named Joe The General 1944
No Score Yet Dragon Seed Narrator 1944
No Score Yet Thousands Cheer Announcer 1943
No Score Yet Tennessee Johnson Thad Stevens 1942
No Score Yet Lady Be Good Judge Murdock 1941
No Score Yet The People vs. Dr. Kildare (My Life Is Yours) Dr. Leonard Gillespie 1941
No Score Yet Dr. Kildare's Crisis Dr. Leonard Gillespie 1940
No Score Yet Doctor Kildare Goes Home Dr. Leonard Gillespie 1940
No Score Yet Dr. Kildare's Strange Case Dr. Leonard Gillespie 1940
No Score Yet The Secret of Dr. Kildare Dr. Leonard Gillespie 1939
No Score Yet On Borrowed Time Julian Northrup - Gramps 1939
No Score Yet Calling Dr. Kildare Dr. Leonard Gillespie 1939
No Score Yet Land of Liberty Actor 1939
No Score Yet Let Freedom Ring Thomas Logan 1939
No Score Yet Young Dr. Kildare Dr. Gillespie 1938
91% You Can't Take It With You Martin Vanderhof 1938
No Score Yet A Yank at Oxford Dan Sheridan 1938
71% Test Pilot Howard B. Drake 1938
No Score Yet Saratoga Grandpa Clayton 1937
93% Captains Courageous Disko 1937
No Score Yet A Family Affair Judge James K. Hardy 1937
No Score Yet Navy Blue and Gold Capt. Skinny Dawes 1937
No Score Yet The Gorgeous Hussy Andrew Jackson 1936
No Score Yet The Road to Glory Papa LaRoche 1936
No Score Yet The Voice of Bugle Ann Springfield 'Spring' Davis 1936
87% The Devil-Doll Paul Lavond / Madame Mandilip 1936
92% Camille Duval 1936
No Score Yet Ah, Wilderness! Nat Miller 1935
No Score Yet The Return of Peter Grimm Peter Grimm 1935
No Score Yet Public Hero #1 Actor 1935
79% Mark of the Vampire Prof. Zelin 1935
No Score Yet The Little Colonel Colonel Lloyd 1935
No Score Yet David Copperfield (The Personal History, Adventures, Experience, & Observation of David Copperfield the Younger) Dan Peggotty 1935
100% Treasure Island Billy Bones 1934
No Score Yet The Girl From Missouri (100 Per Cent Pure) (Born to Be Kissed) T.R. Paige 1934
No Score Yet Night Flight Robineau 1933
No Score Yet Berkeley Square Innkeeper 1933
No Score Yet One Man's Journey Dr. Eli Watt 1933
100% Dinner at Eight Oliver Jordan 1933
No Score Yet Stranger's Return Grandpa Storr 1933
No Score Yet Looking Forward (The New Deal) Tim Benton 1933
No Score Yet Rasputin and the Empress Rasputin (aka Father Grisha) 1933
No Score Yet The Washington Masquerade Jeff Keane 1932
57% Mata Hari Gen. Serge Shubin 1932
No Score Yet Arsene Lupin Detective Guerchard 1932
No Score Yet Broken Lullaby, (The Man I Killed) Dr. H. Holderlin 1932
86% Grand Hotel Otto Kringelein 1932
No Score Yet Guilty Hands Richard Grant 1931
No Score Yet A Free Soul Stephen Ashe 1931
No Score Yet Ten Cents a Dance Director 1931
No Score Yet The Rogue Song Director Producer 1930
No Score Yet Free and Easy (Easy Go) Himself 1930
No Score Yet The Mysterious Island Count Dakkar 1929
No Score Yet Absinthe Director 1929
40% The Hollywood Revue of 1929 Himself 1929
No Score Yet The Unholy Night (The Green Ghost) Director 1929
No Score Yet West of Zanzibar Mr. Crane 1928
83% Sadie Thompson Alfred Atkinson 1928
No Score Yet Love (Anna Karenina) Actor 1927
No Score Yet Camille Actor 1927
No Score Yet The Show Actor 1927
No Score Yet The Temptress Canterac 1926
No Score Yet The Bells Actor 1926
57% America Capt. Walter Butler 1924
No Score Yet Decameron Nights Suladin 1924
No Score Yet The Face in the Fog Blackie Dawson, reformed crook 1922
80% The Penalty Actor 1920
No Score Yet Judith of Bethulia Extra 1914
No Score Yet Power of the Press Steve Carson 1914
No Score Yet The Musketeers of Pig Alley Actor 1912