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|Also Known As:||Lionel Blyth,Mr. Lionel Barrymore||Died:||November 15, 1954|
|Born:||April 28, 1878||Cause of Death:||heart ailment|
|Birth Place:||Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA||Profession:||Cast ... actor director composer artist author producer screenwriter vaudevillian|
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.
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