Born: February 22, 1975, Los Angeles, CA Adorable child
star turned precocious blonde bombshell.
The product of an acting dynasty that runs from
great-grandfather Maurice Barrymore and great-grandmother
Georgiana Drew through grandfather John Barrymore and
grandmother Dolores Costello through father John
Barrymore, Jr. Drew Barrymore appeared in TV
commercials before reaching the age of one and became a
cherished Middle-American icon playing Gertie, the cute little
sister in E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982).
After several more roles in inferior films, Barrymore began
to attract less attention for her acting than for the
increasingly sordid tabloid stories about her pre-adolescent
addictions to drugs and alcohol. Many saw her as following
the tragic pattern set by John and Diana Barrymore. After
undergoing rehab and—another Barrymore
tradition—publishing a memoir, Little Girl Lost (1989), the
resilient teen made an impressive comeback in the early
1990s, riding a wave of celebrity and controversy.
Barrymore portrayed Lolita-like teens in POISON IVY
(1992), GUNCRAZY (1992) and the ABC-TV movie THE
AMY FISHER STORY (1993), based on the sordid case of
the Long Island teenager who shot the wife of her former
lover. While the TV-movie was a purely exploitative
enterprise, the films were boosted by Barrymore's confident
The actress has been hailed as both emblematic of her
time—a teenager who endured all the worst excesses of the
80s and then parlayed her survival into a marketable
persona—and an accomplished young actress poised on the
brink of major achievement. BAD GIRLS (1994), a routine
Western featuring four gun-toting women, did not, however,
rank as an example of this.
Her next major feature, BOYS ON THE SIDE (1995), a
female road movie co-starring Whoopi Goldberg and
Mary-Louise Parker, cast Barrymore in what could have
been a typical blonde bimbo role. She managed to eclipse
typecasting by turning in a performance that had depth and
an assuredness that had not previously been completely
realized. Not one to rest on her laurels, Barrymore continued to ensure that everyone
knew her name with some memorable extracurricular antics including doing a
birthday dance for bemused talkshow titan David Letterman which culminated in
her flashing her breasts for Dave's eyes only.
Journalists also seem vulnerable to the charms of the young enchantress; she
garnered much newsprint by stripping on stage at a trendy NYC performance
space and baring it all in Playboy.
Barrymore somehow makes naughty seem nice. The resurgent star appeared in
two more 1995 features: MAD LOVE (opposite Chris O'Donnell), a mildly
popular if critically derided tale of teen lovers on the road, and BATMAN
FOREVER as Sugar, a small ornamental role in a great big noisy summer sequel.
This assignment reunited her with O'Donnell and old friend director Joel
Schumacher, for whom she had worked previously on TV in his charmingly
trashy short-lived primetime soap "2000 Malibu Road" (CBS, 1992).