Barrymore, Ethel


1904 card signed by the great stage and screen actress, 1944 Oscar recipient for Best Supporting Actress



Type: Signed card
Description: (b. Ethel Mae Blythe,1879-1959) Stage, screen and radio actress whose career spanned 6 decades, was regarded as “The First Lady of the American Theatre”. She received the 1944 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in None but the Lonely Heart opposite Cary Grant.

The 2nd child of actors Maurice Barrymore (b. Herbert Blythe) and Georgiana Drew, sister of actors John and Lionel Barrymore, aunt of actor John Drew Barrymore, great-aunt of actress Drew Barrymore. Her 1st Broadway appearance was in 1895, in a play called The Impudent Young Couple which starred her uncle John Drew Jr. and Maude Adams; she appeared with Drew and Adams again in 1896 in Rosemary. In 1897 Ethel went with William Gillette to London to play Miss Kittridge in Gillette’s Secret Service. Henry Irving and Ellen Terry offered her the role of Annette in The Bells. A full London tour was on and, before it was over, Ethel created, on New Year’s Day 1898, Euphrosine in Peter the Great at the Lyceum, the play written by Irving’s son, Laurence. Winston Churchill asked her to marry him but not wishing to be a politician’s wife, she refused. Winston, years later, married Clementine Hozier and Winston and Ethel remained friends to the end of her life.

After her season in London, Ethel returned to the US and Charles Frohman cast her first in Catherine and then as Stella de Grex in His Excellency the Governor. After that, Frohman gave Ethel the role that would make her a star: Madame Trentoni in Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines which opened in London’s West End February 4, 1901.After her triumph in Captain Jinks, Ethel gave sterling performances in many top-rate productions.

Barrymore and friend Marie Dressler were strong supporter of the Actors’ Equity Association and had a high-profile role in the 1919 strike. Her support for the strike angered many producers and cost her friendship with George M. Cohan.

In 1926, she scored one of her greatest successes in W. Somerset Maugham’s comedy, The Constant Wife and starred in Rasputin and the Empress (1932), playing the czarina married to Czar Nicholas. After she became a stage star, she would often dismiss adoring audiences who kept demanding curtain calls by saying “That’s all there is—there isn’t any more!” This became a popular catch phrase in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1928, the Shuberts opened the Ethel Barrymore Theatre which operates under that name to the present day. In 1938, Ethel became the first Artistic Director of the Olney Theatre Center in Olney, Maryland.

Barrymore appeared in her 1st feature film, The Nightingale, in 1914. She made 15 silent pictures 1914-19, most of them for Metro Pictures. She appeared in The Spiral Staircase (1946), The Paradine Case (1947, directed by Alfred Hitchcock) in which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for both as well for the 1949 film Pinky. Her last film appearance was in Johnny Trouble (1957).

Barrymore also made a number of television appearances in the 1950s. In 1956, she hosted 14 episodes of the TV series Ethel Barrymore Theatre, produced by the DuMont Television Network and presented on the DuMont flagship station WABD, just as the network was folding.  Ethel Barrymore died of cardiovascular disease on June 18, 1959.

In 1960, Barrymore was posthumously inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a motion picture star for her contributions to the film industry. Barrymore was a member of the American theatre Hall of Fame, along with brothers John and Lionel. A crater on the planet Venus is named for Barrymore.

Signed 2 ¼ x 4 card dated 1904 by her.

Condition: Very good

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