Saturday, January 25, 2014

Keeping Up With The Barrymores: If Reality TV Was Around Back Then

Kardashians? Nah - if I am going to spend reality time with a Hollywood family, Id much rather spend it with a clan like the Barrymores. Now there's a family worth following!

Season One:  Dramatic Beginnings

Herbert Arthur Chamberlain Blythe (1849-1905), the son of a surveyor for the British East India Company, here's the call of the theater and adopts the stage name Maurice Barrymore to spare his respectable family the shame of having a child on the stage. He made his way from India to England to Broadway, where he met, fell in love with and married the actress, Georgiana Drew (1856-1893). Georgiana came from acting family, John and Louise Lane Drew. Louisa was a thrice-married woman, quite scandalous at the time. 
The Dashing Maurice Barrymore
I'm sure there was much chatter about that over the mutton chops.
The Lovely Georgiana Drew Barrymore
Georgiana and Maurice had three children (Ethel, Lionel and John) and were happy at first, but, alas, hubby possessed a wandering eye and the marriage became yet another unhappy theatrical venture.  His rumored amours were: Helena Modjeska, Mrs. Fiske, Mrs. Leslie Carter, Lillian Russell and - gasp! - Lily Langtry. Take that, George Clooney!! Poor Georgiana died of tuberculosis at age 36, leaving her children in the care of her mother in Philadelphia. Maurice, who had limited contact with his children until their teens, continued to act. At the time of his death (from syphilis), he was playing vaudeville. 
Georgie with children Ethel, Lionel and John.
There are no known photos of Maurice with his 3 children.
Juicy, no? Stay tuned for Season 2 of Keeping Up With the Barrymores! Oh those kids!