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Lionel Barrymore, Award Winner – MovieActors.com

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Barrymore in Dinner At Eight.

Lionel Barrymore: Best Actor 1930/31: MovieActors.com

A FREE SOUL (Drama)

Lionel Barrymore received his Oscar for playing a heavy-drinking lawyer who successfully defends a gambler, only to have him become involved with his spoiled daughter, and later defend her fiancee, after he kills the gambler.





About Lionel Barrymore (1878 – 1954)
Brother of Ethel and John Barrymore, Lionel Herbert Barrymore was born on April 28, 1878 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Together his siblings and he were the ninth generation of the distinguished theatrical Barrymore family. Although all three of the children went on to become legendary actors, their only joint film appearance was in Rasputin and the Empress in 1932.

Much like his other two siblings, Lionel had other plans in mind for his career. With sister Ethel aspiring to be a concert pianist, Lionel and brother John dreamed of becoming artists. But the family legacy won out and Lionel began his acting career with numerous character roles such as villains, military officers, etc.

Although his career didn't begin with instant star status, Lionel was the first Barrymore to win an acting Oscar for his performance as a drunken defense attorney in A Free Soul in 1931, which he claimed was his favorite role.

In addition to being an acclaimed actor, Lionel has taken a stab at directing films. Talent ever waning, in 1928-29 Lionel Barrymore received a Best Director Oscar nomination for his film, Madame X.

In 1937 Lionel became permanently confined to a wheelchair after arthritis rendered his lower limbs useless. It was from his humbling seat that Lionel continued to move audiences with his talent and determination.

Lionel's notoriety continued to escalate thanks to regular radio performances as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol and his role as Dr. Gillespie in the film series Dr. Kildare. His final farewell moments include memorable performances in the 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life and 1949's Down to the Sea in Ships.

His ability to play grouchy yet endearing characters became Lionel Barrymore's trademark.

Lionel was married twice in his lifetime, the first to a Doris Rankin in 1904. After they divorced in 1923, Lionel remarried to Miss Irene Fenwick the same year. They were together until her death in 1936.

Barrymore's notable silent credits include:

The Bells (1926)
The Temptress (1926)
Sadie Thompson (1928)


The remainder of Lionel Barrymore's movie credits include...

Mata Hari (1931)
The Man I Killed
Grand Hotel (1932)
Dinner at Eight (1933)
Treasure Island (1934)
David Copperfield (1935)
Camille (1936)
A Family Affair (1937)
Captains Courageous (1937)
Saratoga (1937)
You Can't Take It With You (1938)
Young Doctor Kildare (1938)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
Duel in the Sun (1946)
Dark Delusion (1947)
Key Largo (1948)
Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)
Malaya (1949)
Right Cross (1950)
Bannerline (1951)
Lone Star (1952)

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Lionel Barrymore in Camille (1936).

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Lionel Barrymore in Grand Hotel (1932).

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Lionel Barrymore in You Can't Take It With You (1938).

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Lionel Barrymore in Duel In The Sun (1946).

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Lionel Barrymore in It's A Wonderful Life (1946).

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Lionel Barrymore in A Free Soul (1931).