Drew Blyth Barrymore (born February 22, 1975) is an American actress, model, producer, director and author. She is a descendant of the Barrymore family of well-known American stage and cinema actors, and is a granddaughter of film legend John Barrymore. Barrymore first appeared in an advertisement when she was eleven months old. Her TV debut was in 1978 as Melissa on The Waltons and in 1980, she made her film debut in Altered States. In 1982, she starred in her breakout role as Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and quickly became one of Hollywood’s most recognized child actresses, going on to establish herself in mainly comic roles.
Following a turbulent childhood which was marked by recurring drug and alcohol abuse, and two stints in rehab, Barrymore wrote the 1990 autobiography, Little Girl Lost. She successfully made the transition from child star to adult actress with a number of films including Poison Ivy, Bad Girls, Boys on the Side and Everyone Says I Love You. Subsequently, she also starred in romantic comedies, such as The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates.
In 1997, she and her business partner Nancy Juvonen formed the production company Flower Films, with its first production the 1999 Barrymore film Never Been Kissed. Flower Films went on to produce the Barrymore vehicle films Charlie’s Angels, 50 First Dates and Music and Lyrics, as well as the cult film Donnie Darko. Barrymore’s more recent projects include He’s Just Not That Into You, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Everybody’s Fine and Going the Distance. A recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Barrymore appeared on the cover of the 2007 People magazine’s 100 Most Beautiful issue.
Barrymore was named an Ambassador Against Hunger for the UN World Food Programme (WFP). Since then, she has donated over US$1 million to the program. In 2007, she became both CoverGirl’s newest model and spokeswoman for the cosmetic and the face for Gucci’s newest jewelry line. In 2010, she won the Screen Actors Guild Award and the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film for her portrayal of Little Edie in Grey Gardens.
Early life and family
Barrymore was born in Culver City, California, to American actor John Drew Barrymore and Jaid Barrymore (born Ildikó Jaid Makó), an aspiring actress. Barrymore’s mother was born in a Displaced persons camp in Brannenburg, West Germany, to Hungarian World War II refugees. Barrymore’s father was of English, Irish, and German ancestry. Her parents divorced in 1984, when she was nine years old. She is one of four children with a half-brother, John Blyth Barrymore, who is also an actor, and two half-sisters, Blyth Dolores Barrymore and Jessica Blyth Barrymore (Brahma).
Barrymore was born into acting: all of her paternal great-grandparents – Maurice Barrymore and Georgie Drew Barrymore, and Maurice Costello and Mae Costello (née Altschuk) – as well as her paternal grandparents, John Barrymore and Dolores Costello, were actors; John Barrymore was arguably the most acclaimed actor of his generation. She is the niece of Diana Barrymore and the grandniece of Lionel Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore and Helene Costello, the great-great-granddaughter of John Drew and actress Louisa Lane Drew, and the great grandniece of Broadway idol John Drew, Jr. and silent film actor, writer and director Sidney Drew. She is also the god-daughter of director Steven Spielberg, and actress Sophia Loren.
Her first name, Drew, was the maiden name of her paternal great-grandmother, Georgie Drew Barrymore and her middle name, Blyth was the original surname of the dynasty founded by her great-grandfather, Maurice Barrymore.
Barrymore’s career began when she was auditioned for a dog food commercial when she was 11 months old. When she was bitten by her canine co-star, the producers were afraid she would cry, but she merely laughed, and was hired for the job. She made her feature film debut in Altered States (1980), in which she had a small part. A year later, she played Gertie, the younger sister of Elliott, in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, which made her one of the most famous child stars of the time and earned her the Young Artist Award as Best Young Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture in 1982. She received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture in 1984 for her role in Irreconcilable Differences, in which she starred as a young girl divorcing her parents. In a review in the Chicago Sun-Times, Roger Ebert stated: “Barrymore is the right actress for this role precisely because she approaches it with such grave calm.”
In the wake of this sudden stardom, Barrymore endured a notoriously troubled childhood. She was already a regular at the famed Studio 54 when she was a little girl, smoking cigarettes at the age of nine, drinking alcohol by the time she was eleven, smoking marijuana at the age of twelve and snorting cocaine at the age of thirteen. Her nightlife and constant partying became a popular subject with the media. She was in rehab at the age of fourteen. A suicide attempt, also at the age of fourteen, put her back in rehab, followed by a three-month stay with singer David Crosby and his wife. The stay was precipitated, Crosby said, because she “needed to be around some people that were committed to sobriety.” Barrymore later described this period of her life in her autobiography, Little Girl Lost. The following year, following a successful juvenile court petition for emancipation, she moved into her own apartment.
In her late teens, her rebelliousness played itself out on screen and in print. Barrymore forged an image as a manipulative teenage seductress, beginning with the film Poison Ivy (1992), which was a box office failure, but was popular on video and cable. That same year, at the age of seventeen, she posed nude for the cover of the July issue of Interview magazine with her then-fiancé, actor Jamie Walters, as well as appearing nude in pictures inside the issue. In 1992, she underwent breast reduction surgery and has said on the subject:
“I really love my body and the way it is right now. There’s something very awkward about women and their breasts because men look at them so much. When they’re huge, you become very self-conscious. Your back hurts. You find that whatever you wear, you look heavy in. It’s uncomfortable. I’ve learned something, though, about breasts through my years of pondering and pontificating, and that is: Men love them, and I love that.”
In 1993, Barrymore earned a second Golden Globe nomination, this time for the film Guncrazy. Barrymore posed nude at the age of nineteen for the January 1995 issue of Playboy. Steven Spielberg, who directed her in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial when she was a child and is her godfather, gave her a quilt for her twentieth birthday with a note that read, “Cover yourself up.” Enclosed were copies of her Playboy pictures, with the pictures altered by his art department so that she appeared fully clothed. During a 1995 appearance on Late Show with David Letterman, Barrymore climbed onto David Letterman’s desk and bared her breasts to him, her back to the camera, in celebration of his birthday. She modeled in a series of Guess? jeans ads during this time.
Return to prominence
In 1995, Barrymore starred in Boys on the Side opposite Whoopi Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker, and in her cameo appearance in Joel Schumacher’s film Batman Forever, she played Sugar, a moll to Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones). The following year, she made a cameo in the successful horror film Scream. Barrymore has continued to be highly bankable, and a top box office draw. She was frequently cast in romantic comedies such as Wishful Thinking (1997), The Wedding Singer (1998), and Home Fries (1998). Barrymore’s role in the costume drama Ever After (1998) offered a modern take on the classic fairy tale of Cinderella and served as a reminder, according to Roger Ebert, of how well Drew Barrymore “can hold the screen and involve us in her characters.”
In 2000, Barrymore was nominated for an Emmy Award for her performance in Olive, the Other Reindeer. Besides a number of appearances in films produced by her company, Flower Films, including Charlie’s Angels, Barrymore had a dramatic role in the comedy-drama Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), playing a teenage mother in a failed marriage with the drug-addicted father (based on the real-life story of Beverly Donofrio). In 2002, Barrymore appeared in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, alongside Sam Rockwell and Julia Roberts.
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Flower Films and later work
In 1995, Barrymore formed Flower Films, a production company, with business partner Nancy Juvonen. The first film produced by the company was 1999’s Never Been Kissed. The second offering from the company was Charlie’s Angels (2000), a major box office success in 2000 that helped solidify the standing of both Barrymore and the company. When the production of Richard Kelly’s debut film, Donnie Darko, was threatened, Barrymore stepped forward with financing from Flower Films and took the small role of Karen Pomeroy, the title character’s English teacher. Although the film was less than successful at the box office in the wake of 9/11, it reached cult film status after the DVD release, inspiring numerous websites devoted to unraveling the plot twists and meanings.
In 2003, she reprised her role as Dylan Sanders in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, and appeared with Ben Stiller in Duplex in 2003. Flower Films produced 50 First Dates with co-star Adam Sandler’s Happy Madison company in 2004. Summing up Barrymore’s appeal, Roger Ebert, in his review of 50 First Dates, described Barrymore as having a “smiling, coy sincerity,” describing the film as “ingratiating and lovable.” 50 First Dates was followed by Fever Pitch (2005), and in 2007, Music and Lyrics and Lucky You. She also starred in recent films, such as Beverly Hills Chihuahua, He’s Just Not That Into You, Grey Gardens and Everybody’s Fine. Barrymore’s directorial debut film Whip It, was released in October 2009. It starred Ellen Page and Marcia Gay Harden, and centered on an obsession with beauty pageants and the Austin, Texas, Hurl Scouts roller derby team. Barrymore also co-starred in the film.
In 2010, Barrymore reunited with former partner Justin Long on the set of Going the Distance, directed by Nanette Burstein. An R-rated romantic comedy about a couple dealing the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship while commuting between New York City and San Francisco, the largely improvised film garnered generally mixed reviews by critics, who summed it as “timelier and a little more honest than most romantic comedies.” Budgeted at US$32 million, the film became a moderate financial success at a worldwide box office total of US$40 million.
In 2011, Barrymore starred with John Krasinski in Ken Kwapis’s Big Miracle (2012), a romantic drama based on the 1989 book Freeing the Whales, which covers Operation Breakthrough, the 1988 international effort to rescue gray whales from being trapped in ice near Point Barrow, Alaska. On August 2, 2011, Barrymore directed the music video for the song “Our Deal,” for the band Best Coast, which features Chloë Grace Moretz, Miranda Cosgrove, Tyler Posey, Donald Glover, Shailene Woodley and Alia Shawkat.
Other career highlights
In 1999, Barrymore was honored by the Young Artist Foundation with its Former Child Star “Lifetime Achievement” Award commemorating her outstanding achievements within the film industry as a child actress. In 2005, she began a recurring role in the animated comedy Family Guy as Brian Griffin’s simple-minded girlfriend, Jillian. She subsequently appeared in a total of eleven episodes. She was the subject of the 2005 documentary My Date with Drew. In it, an aspiring filmmaker, who was a fan of Barrymore’s, used his limited resources in an attempt to gain a date with her. On February 3, 2004, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Barrymore’s films compiled a worldwide box office gross that stood at over US$2.3 billion. According to The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Star Salary Top 10, she was tied for eighth place on the top ten list of actresses’ salaries, commanding 10 to 12 million dollars per movie for 2006. Barrymore became the youngest person to have hosted Saturday Night Live (SNL) having hosted on November 20, 1982 at 7 years of age, a record that remained unbroken as of 2008. On February 3, 2007, Barrymore hosted SNL for the fifth time, making her the second female host (after Candice Bergen) in the show’s history to do so. She hosted again on October 10, 2009, becoming the first female to host six times. In March 2012, Barrymore began co-hosting the twelfth season of The Essentials, a film showcase on Turner Classic Movies which spotlighted significant classic films. She so hosted alongside TCM regular, Robert Osborne.
Barrymore became a CoverGirl Cosmetics’s model and spokeswoman in 2007. In February 2015, she remained one of the faces of CoverGirl, alongside Queen Latifah and Taylor Swift. The company partnered up with her, because “she emulates the iconic image of CoverGirl with her fresh, natural beauty and energetic yet authentic spirit,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, Vice President and General Manager of CoverGirl Cosmetics North America. She brought not only her personality into this endorsement but also her creative side, as she also helped create the ads. She was No. 1 in People’s annual 100 Most Beautiful People list in 2007. Also in 2007, she was named the new face for the Gucci jewelry line. As a model, Barrymore signed a contract with IMG Models New York City.
In May 2007, Barrymore was named Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Programme and later donated $1 million to the cause. In September 2010, Barrymore was confirmed to act out the role of Ganga in the Indian Bollywood film The Lifestyle – In Generation Next, to be directed by Santosh Kumar Jain and released in 2012. Several articles and interviews reported Barrymore’s taste for photography. As a guest photographer for a magazine series called “They Shoot New York,” she appeared on the cover holding a Pentax K1000 film camera. She expressed hopes of exposing her work in a gallery one day, as she had documented the most recent decade of her life with a Pentax camera.
In 2013, Barrymore stated during an appearance on talk show The View that she enjoys practicing Judaism and is thinking of converting. “It’s a beautiful faith and I’m so honored to be around it. It’s so family-oriented [and] the stories are so beautiful and it’s incredibly enlightening. I’m really happy.”
Concerning her sexuality, in an interview with Contact Music in 2003, Barrymore said “Do I like women sexually? Yeah, I do. Totally. I have always considered myself bisexual.” Barrymore was quoted in 2004 as saying, “A woman and a woman together are beautiful, just as a man and a woman together are beautiful. Being with a woman is like exploring your own body, but through someone else. When I was younger I used to go with lots of women. Totally. I love it”. In March 2007, former magazine editor Jane Pratt claimed on her Sirius Satellite Radio show that she had a romance with Barrymore in the mid-1990s.
Barrymore is the godmother of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love’s daughter, Frances Bean Cobain.
Relationships, marriages and family life
In 1991, at the age of 16, Barrymore became engaged to Leland Hayward, grandson and namesake of Hollywood producer Leland Hayward. After a few months, this engagement was called off. Barrymore was engaged to and lived with musician and actor Jamie Walters from 1992 to 1993.
Barrymore married her first husband, Welsh bartender turned Los Angeles bar owner Jeremy Thomas, at the age of nineteen on March 20, 1994. She filed for divorce from him less than two months later.
Barrymore began dating MTV host and comedian Tom Green in 1999. Barrymore and Green lived together for a year before getting engaged in July 2000. They wed in July 2001. Green filed for divorce in December 2001. The divorce was finalized on October 15, 2002. Before their divorce, they starred together in Charlie’s Angels and Green’s first directorial movie Freddy Got Fingered.
In 2002, Barrymore began dating The Strokes’ drummer Fabrizio Moretti, soon after they met at a concert. Their five-year relationship ended in January 2007. She then began dating actor Justin Long, but they confirmed they broke up in July 2008. Barrymore and Long reunited in 2009 and co-starred in the 2010 film Going the Distance, but reportedly broke up again in 2010.
In early 2011, Barrymore began dating art consultant Will Kopelman, the son of former Chanel CEO Arie Kopelman. The couple announced their engagement in January 2012, and married on June 2, 2012 in Montecito, California. The couple’s wedding picture was featured on the cover of People magazine on June 6, 2012. Barrymore and Kopelman have two daughters: Olive Barrymore Kopelman (born September 2012) and Frankie Barrymore Kopelman (born April 2014).
- Aronson, Virginia. Drew Barrymore. Chelsea House, 1999. ISBN 0-7910-5306-7
- Bankston, John. Drew Barrymore. Chelsea House Publishers, 2002. ISBN 0-7910-6772-6
- Barrymore, Drew. Little Girl Lost. Pocket Star Books, 1990. ISBN 0-671-68923-1
- Ellis, Lucy. Drew Barrymore: The Biography. Aurum Press, 2004. ISBN 1-84513-032-4
- Hill, Anne E. Drew Barrymore. Lucent Books, 2001. ISBN 1-56006-831-0