Monday, September 3, 2012

John Drew Barrymore

He may not have been as well known as his legendary father or his famous daughter, but John Drew Barrymore was as talented as both of them. Primarily a television actor in the 1950's and '60's, watching his work today is like watching an actor way ahead of his time.

He had charisma, but he also had an edge which made his good guys human and his villains impulsive and unpredictable. On screen he was hard to ignore and could have easily played many of the roles that made Robert Redford or Dennis Hopper famous.

Unfortunately, John Drew Barrymore also had a history of drug and alcohol abuse and developed a difficult reputation which derailed his promising career. Many of his guest staring roles on Rawhide, Gunsmoke and other popular shows of the time are available on DVD collections and are well worth seeking out, not only for his wonderful performances, but also for a peak at the quality of the acting and writing that took place in the early days of television.

To stumble upon the work of John Drew Barrymore is like discovering a rare baseball card from and era long gone. And anyone familiar with his work will understand why he's the pick of the day for Not Very Famous...but should be.


  1. I Googled JDB after watching his captivating performance in the Gunsmoke episode " One Killer on Ice "and realized that he was the same actor that I had Googled after watching the Gunsmoke episode "Eleven Hours till Dawn". Apparently he caught my attention both times. I will definitely look for more of his work . He was talented , handsome and charming to say the least ... There are times when you can see that Drew looks exactly like him

  2. One of his finest performances was in the Kung Fu episode "Dream Within a Dream." David Carradine talked about him, and that appearance, as well as other Barrymores, in his autobiography, _Endless Highway._