TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (0)
Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY
Actress, producer and director Drew Barrymore rode a career rollercoaster before hitting the age of 25, surviving childhood stardom and adolescent drug addiction - to say nothing of a tragic family legacy of great talent, but also great pain - only to work her way up to Hollywood A-lister. Steven Spielberg's science fiction blockbuster "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) first launched the dimpled and precocious seven-year-old, though her image was shattered by tabloid photos of her partying at New York night clubs and three stints in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction by the time she was just 13 years old. Following several years of teen angst typecasting in low-budget features like "Poison Ivy" (1992), Barrymore's big, open smile resurfaced and she was tapped by filmmakers for the free-spirited energy she brought to the screen. A naturally charming lead in romantic comedies, Barrymore won over male and female audiences by playing slightly offbeat but sincere sweethearts in hits like "The Wedding Singer" (1998), "50 First Dates" (2004) and "Music and Lyrics" (2007). Her down-to-earth appeal also led to popularity in empowerment-themed chick flicks, ranging from the melodramatic "Boys on the Side"...
Actress, producer and director Drew Barrymore rode a career rollercoaster before hitting the age of 25, surviving childhood stardom and adolescent drug addiction - to say nothing of a tragic family legacy of great talent, but also great pain - only to work her way up to Hollywood A-lister. Steven Spielberg's science fiction blockbuster "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial" (1982) first launched the dimpled and precocious seven-year-old, though her image was shattered by tabloid photos of her partying at New York night clubs and three stints in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction by the time she was just 13 years old. Following several years of teen angst typecasting in low-budget features like "Poison Ivy" (1992), Barrymore's big, open smile resurfaced and she was tapped by filmmakers for the free-spirited energy she brought to the screen. A naturally charming lead in romantic comedies, Barrymore won over male and female audiences by playing slightly offbeat but sincere sweethearts in hits like "The Wedding Singer" (1998), "50 First Dates" (2004) and "Music and Lyrics" (2007). Her down-to-earth appeal also led to popularity in empowerment-themed chick flicks, ranging from the melodramatic "Boys on the Side" (1995) to the sublimely fun "Charlie's Angels" film franchise, which she also produced as co-owner of her own Flower Films. Well after her dark years were behind her, Barrymore continued to make entertainment news for the occasional spontaneous nudity incident or whirlwind marriage, but nothing could mar her hard-won status as a perennially popular actress and successful producer-turned-director.
Born Feb. 22, 1975, in Los Angeles, Barrymore was the product of a five-generation strong acting dynasty that included her grandfather, Shakespearean actor John Barrymore, silent film star grandmother Dolores Costello, great-uncle and Oscar winner Lionel Barrymore, and a stage actress and Oscar-winning great-aunt Ethel Barrymore, among others. Her father John Barrymore, Jr., a Bohemian screen actor known for his drug arrests and hippie lifestyle during the 1960s, and Barrymore's mother, actress and model Ildyko Jaid, split up before the youngest Barrymore was even born. Raised by a struggling single mom, Barrymore made her screen debut at two and a half quite by accident; a favor by her mother to director of the TV film "Suddenly Love" (1978) starring Cindy Williams. More than just another cute, dimpled blonde, Barrymore showed an unusual amount of concentration and overall understanding of her job on the set. Her mother had concerns, but the girl who loved creating fantasy worlds and playing dress-up begged her mother to let her act more. She was cast in a number of commercials, hit theaters in a small role in "Altered States" (1980), and became America's sweetheart at the age of seven for her refreshingly wry, scene-stealing performance as wide-eyed Gertie in the Steven Spielberg family classic, "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial." The film went on to become one of the top-grossing of all time, earning Barrymore a BAFTA nomination for Most Promising Newcomer, a Young Artist Award for Best Young Supporting Actress, and instant fame.
While Barrymore's lineage was responsible for some of the notice, her precocious charisma propelled her career onto the next phase, where she was promptly cast against-type in the sci-fi offering "Firestarter" (1984) as a destructive, telekinetic tot in the Stephen King adaptation. In the comic but somber "Irreconcilable Differences" (1984), Barrymore played a nine-year-old Hollywood daughter who sues for emancipation from her self-involved, high profile parents, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actress. The story struck home with the young actress because while Barrymore appeared to be America's lovable, precocious scamp, off-screen her peripatetic lifestyle, absent father, and rocky relationship with her mother made for an emotionally starved kid who turned to drugs and alcohol to escape the loneliness and chaos. Meanwhile, Spielberg tapped his protégé (who credited him with being a wonderful father figure to her during that era) for another King adaptation, "Cat's Eye" (1985) and she appeared in more TV movies including "Babes in Toyland" (1986). But before long, Barrymore was attracting less attention for her appearances on screen than for stories about her pre-adolescent cocaine and alcohol abuse, complete with tabloid photos of the 10-year-old out at nightclubs.
After a three-month stint in rehab at age 12, Barrymore relapsed, attempted suicide and was again sent back to the facility. She relapsed a second time and upon her third release, she moved in with sober musician David Crosby (of Crosby, Stills & Nash) and his wife where she remained committed to sobriety. Struggling to make sense of her tumultuous youth (and to set the records straight before the tabloids dragged her through the mud), she co-wrote the memoir, Little Girl Lost (1989). She returned to the screen to star, appropriately enough, in the CBS Schoolbreak Special "15 and Getting Straight" (1989) and, in a case of life imitating art, successfully filed for emancipation from her nightlife-loving mother. She began the long road of rebuilding her career by taking advantage of her troubled, fast-living image with Lolita-like roles in low budget thrillers like "Poison Ivy" (1992) and Tamra Davis' "Guncrazy" (1992), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination. She was similarly cast as an angsty teen in "2000 Malibu Road" (CBS, 1992) a short-lived trashy soap, as well as the TV movie "The Amy Fisher Story" (ABC, 1993), based on the sordid case of the Long Island teenager who shot the wife of her former lover. Off-screen, the 18-year-old actress' engagement to one-hit wonder Jamie Walters and her new collection of tattoos assured audiences that her wild days were not entirely behind her, even if her unhappiness was.
Re-entering the big budget mainstream and putting teen characters behind her, Barrymore was cast alongside respected actresses Madeleine Stowe, Mary Stuart Masterson and Andie McDowell in the female-fuelled Western, "Bad Girls" (1994). She had a whirlwind, 11-month marriage to Hollywood bar owner Jeremy Thomas, followed by a number of memorable public displays of irreverence - including flashing her breasts at talk show host David Letterman while standing on his desk, and posing for Playboy magazine - that cemented her image as a free-spirited, irrepressible, but good humored antidote to the mopey-young-adult-trend of the 1990s. Her ensuing film roles reflected the spunky survivor's appeal, beginning with her charming, funny, and touching role in "Boys on the Side" (1995), a chick flick road movie co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker. Barrymore impressed with an acting depth not previously seen, and planted a new stake in Hollywood as a producer, forming Flower Films with partner Nancy Juvonen. Following a cameo as the glitzy but inherently childlike femme fatale Sugar in "Batman Returns" (1995), Wes Craven hired her for a pivotal role in his tongue-in-cheek slasher flick "Scream" (1996), which bucked the preset conventions of horror films and begat a new era of the well-worn genre. Her opening scene, in which she died a gruesome and horrifying death, became one of the most famous opening scenes in cinema history - certainly in the horror genre.
In a show of screen credibility, Barrymore was cast in the ensemble of Woody Allen's philosophical musical "Everyone Says I Love You" (1996), gracefully and sympathetically portraying a tony New York City daughter of privilege. In the first of many successful romantic comedies, she had a huge hit with 1998's "The Wedding Singer," where she was sweetly captivating as a New Jersey waitress who falls for Adam Sandler's aspiring entertainer. The same year, she happily took on the character of Cinderella in the charming and affirming romance "Ever After," embroidering the story with an empowering, modern sensibility that would become a common theme throughout her career, as it mirrored her own hard-won evolution. After receiving positive notices for the smart, sensitive, non-traditional fairy tale heroine, Barrymore proved she could attract audiences as a film lead, headlining the quirky comedy "Home Fries" (1998). Another romantic comedy success, the film found Barrymore playing a pregnant fast food worker who falls in love with her unborn child's adult would-be stepbrother, played by Barrymore's then-boyfriend, Luke Wilson. She veritably lit up the screen with her inimitable spirit and radiance, which led to a production deal with Fox 2000, Flower Films and the unveiling of its first partnering - "Never Been Kissed" (1999). Another comedy with an undertone of girl power, the film starred executive producer Barrymore as a twenty-something reporter posing as a high school student for an undercover assignment.
In a big budget follow-up that secured Barrymore a firm place on Hollywood's A-list, Flower Films produced and Barrymore starred in an updated version of the 1970s "jiggle TV" series, "Charlie's Angels" (2000). The stylish, tongue-in-cheek actioner co-starring Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu was a box-office hit, luring in a considerable male audience, as well as Barrymore's usual female fan base. She did make a successful visit to tearjerker territory the following year, undertaking a demanding role as a pregnant teenager who raises her child as a single mother in Penny Marshall's poignant "Riding in Cars with Boys" (2000). Playing a character who ages from 16 to her mid-30s, Barrymore offered a strong turn that showed a previously untapped range and depth. Barrymore next served as executive producer of the acclaimed indie cult favorite, "Donnie Darko" (2001), which starred then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal as a high school student who is haunted by troubling visions of the end of the world. The film was acclaimed on the festival circuit, nominated for the Jury Prize at Sundance, and the ever-unpredictable Barrymore paired this professional success with a surprise elopement to juvenile comic prankster and TV star, Tom Green. The pair had been in the news earlier that year when a fire destroyed the home they shared in Los Angeles, but the couple escaped safely, thanks to a warning by their dog.
In 2002, Barrymore was well-cast by first time director George Clooney to portray a Bohemian but grounding force in the fictionalized bio of game show king, Chuck Barris in "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind." Displaying her usual warmth, Barrymore was also mature and vulnerable and gave a powerhouse performance that spanned over 30 years and the emotional range of a long-term, tumultuous relationship. Off-screen, she and Green filed for divorce and Barrymore was promptly linked to Fabrizio Moretti, lead singer of the hip New York rock group, The Strokes. She reunited with Diaz and Liu for the successful but critically lambasted sequel, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003), the trio again demonstrating their expertise as masters of espionage, martial arts and disguise. As producer of the film, Barrymore scored a major coup by personally luring Hollywood expatriate Demi Moore out of semi-retirement to play the villainess. She made a rare misstep, however, when Barrymore produced and co-starred in "Duplex" opposite Ben Stiller. The stale, predictable comedy lacked chemistry, and Barrymore playing a young yuppie spelled a box office bomb.
Just days after becoming the sixth member of her family to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame, Barrymore reteamed with Sandler in "50 First Dates" (2004), a runaway screwball hit that cast her as a woman without a short term memory and the smitten veterinarian (Sandler) who has to win her heart anew every 24 hours. Again wearing the hats of both producer and star, Barrymore next rolled out "Fever Pitch" (2005), directed by the Farrelly Brothers from the Nick Hornby novel. A winsome, appealing effort, Barrymore played a corporate climber whose idyllic romance with a schoolteacher (Jimmy Fallon) is threatened by his insane devotion to the Boston Red Sox. Next she generously made an all-important appearance in low budget filmmaker Brian Herzlinger's shameless "My Date With Drew" (2005), a documentary chronicling his attempts to meet the object of his supposed lifelong crush before having to return the video camera he purchased. In 2005, Barrymore began a recurring voice role on the animated cult TV hit "Family Guy" (Fox, 1999-2002, 2005- ) and made a long-overdue return to family fare by voicing Maggie in the animated "Curious George" (2006). Barrymore scored another romantic comedy hit with "Music & Lyrics" (2007), an international favorite that paired her with Hugh Grant as a washed-up pop star and ever-sparkling Barrymore as an unlikely songwriting partner who fuels his comeback, as well as a romance.
However, Curtis Hanson's drama "Lucky You" (2007), co-starring Barrymore as an aspiring singer and Eric Bana as a professional gambler, folded almost instantly amid a flurry of flashier summer releases. Barrymore's five-year relationship with rocker Moretti ended that same year, leading to a quick rebound with director Spike Jonze and ensuing relationship with actor and Mac computer hawker, Justin Long, whom she met on the set of the romantic comedy "He's Just Not That Into You" (2008). She was "just not into him" by the time the film hit theaters in early 2009, though audiences flocked to the tongue-in-cheek big screen adaptation of the humorous self-help tome, populated by favorites Barrymore, Ben Affleck, Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Aniston. The 34-year-old actress continued to push the boundaries of her career, delving into dramas like "Grey Gardens" (HBO, 2009), based on the 1975 cult documentary about a pair of eccentric, wealthy New Yorkers (also Jessica Lange) related to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Jeanne Tripplehorn). The made-for-cable movie earned numerous kudos and accolades, including Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award wins over Lange for Barrymore.
On the big screen, she was featured in "Everybody's Fine" (2009), a dramedy starring Robert De Niro as the widowed father trying to reconnect with his grown daughter (Barrymore). Meanwhile, Barrymore made her directorial debut in 2009, where she was a perfect choice to helm the story of a teen who escapes humdrum small town Texas life by joining a roller derby team. "Whip It," starring Ellen Page, also included Barrymore, Juliette Lewis and Kristen Wiig strapping on skates to play cutthroat rivals.
Filmographyclose complete filmography
CAST: (feature film)
Milestones close milestones
Named Woman of the Year by Hasty Pudding Theatricals of Harvard University in 2001.
In February 2001, one of her pet dogs alerted Barrymore and her fiance Tom Green of a fire that ultimately destroyed their home.
On working with Steven Spielberg: "Right off, I fell in love with Steven. In many ways he was, and always will be, the dad I never had."---From "Little Girl Lost".
"I think she conquered many demons early in life, and she's come out the other end an extraordinary human being. The nice thing about Drew is she's gotten strong but not tough."---director Joel Schumacher quoted in Newsday, May 21, 1995.
When she was a child and appeared on the party circuit with her mother, Barrymore was dubbed 'The Badger' by actor Gary Busey because 'she was shorter than everyone else, moved faster and darted around close to the ground.'"---From Us, November 1998.
"... It's Ms Barrymore whose presence illuminates the screen. She's come a long way since 'E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial' and possibly, she has much further to go after she graduates from her Lolita roles."---Vincent Canby reviewing "Guncrazy" in The New York Times, January 27, 1993.
"I can't see myself the way other people see me. I'm not insecure. I've been through way too much fucking shit to be insecure. I've got huge balls. But I've been humbled. That makes you grateful for every day you have."---From "Drew Barrymore: Wild Thing" by Chris Mundy, Rolling Stone, June 15, 1995.
"The truth is that as a child I always wanted a boring functional family, with proper parents. I am fine now with the fact that my family is totally wacky. But you don't want guys like these to be your mom and dad.
"You can stand around and complain at Hollywood, with all of its hurt and bulls***, or you can do something about it. I want to produce films, not to make more money or to become powerful, but just to have some control over my working life and future. I also want to work with people I like. I know my limitations. I am not a method actor; I am not brilliantly trained or highly technical. I have to bring a good deal of myself to a part or it doesn't work."---Barrymore quoted in the London Times, October 4, 1998.
"I could definitely relate to how Sally [in 'Home Fries'] looked at her dad, which was, I see you for who you are. And I accept you for that. More importantly, I expect nothing more, because that's the only way I won't be let down ...
"He's my father and he gave me life. But we're just like neighbors. I think I was basically just trying to make sure he was safe, and he is. I don't have to worry and I don't worry. I get snippets of what a lovely person he is. But I also remember he's that crazy man, the same one I knew when I was kid. He didn't take care of me. I don't take care of him ... I don't confide in him, or rely on him. Whenever I see him, it's a joy. Then, sometimes I don't see him for two days. It's easy and it has to be easy."---Barrymore on her on-again, off-again relationship with her father, to Movieline, April 1998.
"Drew reminds me of Jodie Foster. When you're a child actor, you grow up precocious because you're around adults all the time. Jodie was like that, and Drew is, too. She's very real, there's none of this phony-baloney business. She sees herself like the guys who do the lights. She sees herself as just another worker on a film."---director Jonathan Kaplan ("Bad Girls") quoted in Us, May 1994.
"I am Miss Bubbly. But I'm just honest. That way, I never have to question what I thought, said or did.
"But life is beautiful. I live for kindness and moments when someone makes you feel good. I don't know if you're happy all day long, every day, but I think that you try to be and you want to be. After years of life, you accumulate these moments, and you hope that even if that's the best it ever is and will be, that's good. I'm content with that."---Barrymore on her blithe spirit, quoted in The Boston Globe, November 22, 1998.
" ... No one in my family can make any mistakes from the grave, at least. From the grave you're sacred, you have no flaws. Of course, I only know the pleasures of being alive, and I wouldn't trade them in. Until my time is up ... "---From Details, February 1997.
"I don't sit and think in my head, 'You're a role model,' because I think that would make me contrived."---Drew Barrymore to Daily News, April 8, 1999.
"When I first met her, I used to say she was an 8-year-old boy and a 40-year-old woman in the same body. Now I see a mature young businesswoman who is not only looking after her own best interests [but] also has a lot of serious people asking that she look after their best interests, too. And she's doing it."---Nancy Juvonen, Barrymore's partner in Flower Films, quoted in Us, November 1998.
"I didn't get much theater growing up. I can see my family turning in their graves when I say that."---Barrymore to James Brady, quoted in Parade Magazine, March 28, 1999.
"This is my analogy of how Drew works a room. You give Drew a box with a piece of lint in it. 'Oh!' She throws her arms around you. 'Thank you! How did you know this was my secret passion? This is the best gift I've ever gotten, because you knew that secretly I love lint!' That's Drew. She's always on. always up, always wide-eyed."---an unidentified acquaintance quoted in Premiere, September 1998.
"All that matters to me is that physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, verbally, you know, accents, dialogue, wardrobe, you know, personalities, backstories, cultures, everything, I want to be different in every movie. And if, you know, you play a couple of characters that have a similar genre, can you depict that they do have differences, no matter what? All that matters to me is that I get to be every different type of person; bad, good, indifferent. Maybe my choices at times have seemed odd, but I read these scripts and knew I had to be these people.
"For a while, you know, when I was like 16 to 20, I like ... I had like this total wild streak in me and yet I wasn't wild at all but I loved playing these wild characters. I just ... you know, it's cathartic and you do become these people and it was really fun for me. I love movies more than anything."---Barrymore to Roger Ebert in the Chicago Sun-Times, November 22, 1998.
"I don't feel bitter about anything in the past. Even if it all ended today, how fun is that I've gotten to be both [the diabolical] Poison Ivy and [the sweet] Danielle in 'Ever After'? I want to do everything, be a pirate, get to run around and look bad [on screen], get to dress up and look good!"---Barrymore on being named a recipient of the Women in Films Crystal Award, was quoted in The Hollywood Reporter, June 11, 1999.
In February 2004, Barrymore officially joined her famous showbiz relatives when she was honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She joins her father John D. Barrymore, grandfather John Barrymore, great uncle Lionel Barrymore and great aunt Ethel Barrymore.
"If I hadn't married Tom, I wouldn't be as strong as I am now ... These intense tornadoes that I walk away from, though ridiculous, embarrassing, uncomfortable ... have taught me so much."---Barrymore on her five month marriage to Tom Green US weekly April 19, 2004.
Barrymore was named one of People Magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People for 2004
"I'm still trying to figure out exactly who I am and what I want to be. I'm getting there, at my own pace."---Barrymore quoted in People, April 25, 2005.
Companions close complete companion listing
Bibliography close complete biography
Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.Click here to contribute