Cover image for The house of Barrymore
The house of Barrymore
Peters, Margot.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
N.Y. : A.A. Knopf, [1990]

Physical Description:
xi, 641 pages ; 25 cm
Personal Subject:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2285 .P48 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PN2285 .P48 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Biographer Peters has charted the lives of the Bronte sisters, a task that may have helped prepare her for this group portrait of the show-business Barrymores. Dealing with notably flamboyant personalities and often with conflicting versions of the same family history, Peters has her work cut out for her in trying to discern truth from theatrical effect. The greasepaint certainly ran in the veins that produced brothers John and Lionel and sister Ethel, and the early chapters of this book chart those siblings' illustrious genealogy. The rest of the story covers the careers of these three, as they proceeded from stage to the movies and on to radio and television. But the Barrymore legend also has a downside, and the accounts of heartbreak, disillusionment, and disappointment also fill out the story. Finally, Peters peeks at what awaits the latest generation. Chronologies, notes, and bibliography; index. ~--John Brosnahan

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this lengthy biography of the Barrymore dynasty, the spotlight, as in life, shines brightest on Lionel (1878-1954), Ethel (1879-1959) and John (1882-1942). Greatly gifted, the three stars of stage and film were also alcoholics, an addiction Ethel conquered when it threatened her performances. Although Lionel's weaknesses included morphine, he was able to maintain a distinguished career. It was the ``baby,'' John, whose private and public pursuits were ruined by boozing and womanizing. He was hailed as the world's most memorable Hamlet, yet John's star fell steadily after his youthful triumphs, until he was driven to connive with his exploiters in his downfall. Loosely organized and sometimes hard to track, this frustrating volume by the author of Bernard Shaw and the Actresses nevertheless captures some of the Barrymore magic. Photos. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Working from an impressive array of sources--Peters combed theatrical libraries and collections across the country and communicated with dozens of her subjects' associates and acquaintances--the author has created a definitive account of the lives and careers of John, Ethel, and Lionel Barrymore, ``Broadway's Royal Family of Actors.'' Much more comprehensive than Ethel's Memoirs and Gene Fowler's Good Night Sweet Prince: The Life and Times of John Barrymore , both currently available only in reprint editions, this biography includes extensive notes for each of its 31 chapters as well as a selected bibliography. The author of excellent biographies of Charlotte Bronte ( Unquiet Soul , LJ 4/15/75) and Mrs. Patrick Campbell ( Mrs. Pat , LJ 2/1/84), Peters has made an outstanding contribution to the history of the American theater in her thoroughly readable account of three of its most illustrious artists.-- Carolyn M. Mulac, Chicago P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.