Lionel Barrymore: "I've got a lot of ham in me."
Lionel Barrymore was an actor, composer, writer, director, and inventor (he invented the boom microphone). The elder brother of Ethel Barrymore and John Barrymore, Lionel was the first child of Maurice Barrymore and Georgiana Drew Barrymore (daughter of famed Arch Street Theatre owners Louisa Lane Drew and John Drew).
Lionel Barrymore stage career began in the early 1900s, his sibling soon followed suit. His brother, John Barrymore, was best know for his rugged good looks and starred in lead roles; Lionel Barrymore was better known as a character actor. In 1909, Lionel began working in the new medium of movies with D.W. Griffith. He was the first of the Barrymore siblings to move from stage to screen and received much criticisms from his sister Ethel Barrymore. However, she also made the move to movies in 1914.
In 1925, Lionel quit his theater career and moved to Hollywood to make films. He won an Academy Award for his role in A Free Soul in 1931. He had an illustrious film career starring in such films as The Mysterious Island, Grand Hotel, Dinner at Eight, and Key Largo. He soon became typecast as a grouchy old man such as Mr. Potter in the film It's a Wonderful Life.
On radio, Lionel Barrymore is best know for his roles as Doctor Gillespie in the Doctor Kildare, a role in which he reprised from the Doctor Kildare movies. He also played the title role in another 1940s radio series, Mayor of the Town. He was in a number of other old time radio shows including Command Performance, Kraft Music Hall, Lux Radio Theater, and Lionel Barrymore Concert Hall. Barrymore died on November 15, 1954 from a heart attack.
For additional Barrymore, see also: Hallmark Hall of Fame.