Monday, August 10, 2009

Maurice Barrymore (1849-1905)

Maurice Barrymore, a stage-name, was born Herbert Arthur Chamberlayne Blythe on September 2, 1849 at Fort Agra, India. He married Georgiana Drew (daughter of John and Louise Lane Drew of Philadelphia) on December 31, 1876 and had three children - Lionel in 1878, Ethel in 1879 and John in 1882. Georgiana died July 2, 1893 and he remarried a year later to Mamie Floyd.

Maurice was in the middle of performance in New York when he forgot his lines and started to talk and act erratically. He was sent to the Bellvue asylum in Amityville, New York where he was held under close care. In 1904 he began to refuse food and no longer recognized his nurse, thinking instead that he was a call boy at the theater, presumably to let Mr. Barrymore know how many minutes he had left until the curtain would rise. Maurice died at Bellvue on March 26, 1905 in New York. The cause was determined to by from syphilis. He was buried in a family plot in Philadelphia during a private ceremony. Only his children and an aunt attended.

New York Times (New York, New York) - May 14, 1882

Mme. Modjeska's actign in "Odette," recently brought out in London, is highly praised by the English journals. Mr. John Stetson, the actress's new American manager, is now forming a company to assist her in the country next season. The company - altough not yet wholly formed - includes Mr. Maurice Barrymore, Mr. Frank Clements, Mr. Norman Forbes, Mr. W. F. Owen, Mr. N. D. Jones, and Mrs. Clara Fisher Maeder.

New York Times (New York, New York) - August 13, 1883


The steam-ship Egypt, of the National Line, which arrived from Liverpool yesterday, met with an accident last Saturday night which delayed her several hours. One of her officers stated that when she took a pilot, outside the bar, at 6 o'clock in the evening the starting gear was found to be out of order. Capt. Sumner did not think it wise to enter port in the dark under the circumstances, and he gave orders to let go the anchor. The ship remained outside the bar until morning. The weather was then foggy and the Egypt did not start up the Bay until the weather was clear. She arrived and was moored at her pier at noon yesterday. Her cabin passengers were landed, but the immigrants remained on board, nad will be sent to Castle Garden this morning. Mr. Maurice Barrymore, the actor, and his wife were among the passengers. The starting gear of the vessel will be thoroughly repaired before she leaves port.

Maurice and Georgie - circa 1876

New York Times (New York, New York) - February 6, 1884

Mr. Maurice Barrymore, the author of the new play, "Nadyezda," which is to be produced on next Monday evening at the Star Theatre, and in which Mme. Modjeska will act the chief part, is well known here as an actor. He is now the leading actor in Mme. Modjeska's company, and he has prepared his play from step to step with her approval. The scenes of "Nadyeszda" are placed in Poland. The drama is in a prologue and three acts. In the prologue Mme. Modjeska will appear as a mother; in the three acts she will appear as the daughter of this woman. The life of the daughter runs in the shadow cast upon it by the life of the mother. The spirit of the play is tragic.

New York Times (New York, New York) - August 2, 1885

Mr. Maurice Barrymore's new romantic play, entitled "The Don," will be produced at the new Chicago Opera House on the evening of Oct. 4. Music has been written for the piece by Mr. Max Maretzek, and the scenery and dresses will be new and costly. Mr. Harry Lee, who has secured the American rights to "The Don," is to represent its principal personage.

New York Times (New York, New York) - March 6, 1887



PHILADELPHIA, March 5 - There will be a family reunion to-morrow at the house of Mrs. John Crew, 140 North Twelfth-street, in honor of the ninety-first birthday of Mrs. Eliza Kinlock, Mrs. Drew's mother, who half a century ago was one of the most beautiful women on the stage. It will be 91 years ago on Monday since Mrs. Kinlock was born, but her birthday will be celebrated to-morrow, because some of the members of the family who are on the stage could not be present on any other day except Sunday. Mrs. Kinlock is a charming little old lady. Her maiden name was Eliza Trartner. She was born in London and began her professional career on the stage at an early age. While singing light operas her handsome face was the heart of Mr. Lane, who was an English actor and manner of prominence more than three score years ago. They were married, and after his death she came to this country. A year before she left England for America she met Mr. Kinlock, who was also an actor of note. He followed her to this country in 1828. They were married shortly afterward, and in 1831 Mr. Kinlock died. She retired form the stage more than 30 years ago.

Mrs. John Drew was seen at her home this afternoon and said the reunion would be a quiet little family affair. There will be a birthday dinner, and Mrs. Kinlock, who is a wonderfully active old lady, will occupy the head of the table. Her daughter, Mrs. John Drew, will sit on her right. Mrs. Hitchings, the only sister of the late John Drew, came over from New York last night with her daughter Emma, to be present at the dinner. John Drew, of Augustin Daly's company. Mrs. Kinlock's grandson; will be present with his wife, who was Josephine Baker, and was for years a popular member of the Walnut-Street stock company. Mr. and Mrs. John Drew's little daughter will be there, too. The mother of young Mrs. John Drew, Mrs. Alexina Fisher Baker, was was also a member of the Walnut-Street company, is ill in New York, and cannot be present. Sidney Drew, another grandson of Mrs. Kinlock, is playing in Chicago and cannot be present. His sister, Adine Drew, who is in the cast of "Ruddigore" at McCaull's Opera House, and his sister, Georgie Drew, will be there. Georgie Drew in private life is Mrs. Maurice Barrymore.

Maurice Barrymore, who is Modjeska's leading man, was playing in Baltimore to-night. After the performance he took the train for this city to take part in the little birthday party tomorrow. He will join his wife and his three chubby children at their grandmother's house this morning. Modjeska begins an engagement at Buffalo to-morrow night, and Mr. Barrymore must be there by 6 o'clock in the evening, so that he will only have a few hours' stay in this city. With Mrs. Kinlock and her daughter, and her grandsons and granddaughters, and her great-grandsons and great granddaughters, four generations will be represented at the birthday dinner to-morrow.

Mrs. Kinlock is quite active, and time has dealt so kindly with her that she looks nearer 61 than 91. She walks down to the Arch-Street Theatre occasionally and sits in her daughter's private box and watches the performance with much interest. Only a few days ago she made quite an extended shopping tour about town on foot, but when she got back home she admitted that she was tired and that it was plain to her now that she is not as young as she used to be. She has a good appetite, a retentive memory, and her conversation is a wealth of entertaining reminiscences of the stage when Edwin Forrest was a young man. Mrs. Kinlock is a wonderful old lady. She is proud of her daughter and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and they are all very proud of her.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - July 2, 1904

The Drew family of stage players, runs back into the mists of historic antiqutiy. John Drew's mother was for many years director of a leading Philadelphia theatre. Less than two decades ago the world, swayed by Uncle Sam, was talking of the brilliant actor, Maurice Barrymore, and his beautiful wife, Georgia Drew Barrymore, sister of John Drew.

Ethel Barrymore - Oakland Tribune, 1904

Today Maurice Barrymore, a modern Horace, in epigrammatic talent, is by a malevolent trade of Fate, a living, intellect-wrecked King Lear, and it was not so long ago that Georgia Barrymore, mother of Ethel Barrymore, died while tarrying at Santa Barbara.

Ethel Barrymore, she of the sweet face and dainty wave, will soon be a lure at a San Francisco drama-temple. Already a thespian star, it was but recently she gained much prestige by her essay in a boy's role, and by her indisposition to gratify wooing lords in London.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - July 9, 1904

[The original article was much longer and was in regard to Ethel Barrymore, I have skipped to the part about her father]

Maurice Barrymore is now an inmate of a sanitarium in New York a mental wreck. The mind that once glittered in clubdom from New York to San Francisco is now a blank, and the handsome face that lured the matinee girl of two continents is now shouded in a long white Lear-like beard. Barrymore wanders about imagining he is writing a great play with God as the star part.

Georgie Drew Barrymore, the mother of Ethel Barrymore, died in this State after a protracted illness. It was during the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Barrymore at the old Baldwin Hotel that the father of Ethel sprung one of his famous bon mots. One night he came home a bit late. As he opened the door to his wife's bedroom, she said: "Is that you, Maurice?" And in that imperturbable way of his, Barrymore replied: "Whom did you expect, my dear?"

Barrymore used to sit up most of the night talking in the Lamb's Club of New York or the leading club in the town where he happened to be living and when the dawn came he would take a half dozen books to bed with him. These he would read sometimes for hours. Though not retiring until 6 or 7 o'clock in the morning he would frequently have to attend rehearsal at 9 or 10 o'clock. These rehearsal's sometimes consumed the entire day. Then he would go and play until 11 o'clock at night; then to the club; then to the books, and possibly an hour or two of sleep. Such a life could not help undermining the constitution and precipitating mental collapse.

Barrymore was always telling every one what he was going to do in the playwright way. It was from his play "Najesda," ordered at the Grand Opera House of this city with Madame Mojeska as the star, that Sardou stole the "La Tosca." "Najesda" was performed in this country five years before Bernhardt produced "La Tosca" in Paris. It was because of his explansive plans for the future that Wilton Lackaye wrote the following epitaph on Barrymore during a chat at the Lamb's Club.

"He talked beneath the moon
And he slept beneath the sun;
He led the life of going to do
And he died with nothing done."

Unfortunately, the jest has been realized.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - October 31, 1904


NEW YORK, October 31 - Maurice Barrymore, the actor, is said to be in a dying condition at the sanitarium in Amityville, L. I., where he has been for a number of years. It is feared that the end is only a few days off. His vitality has been marvelous, but is now at its last ebb. Of late the once famous entertainer has refused his food and does not recognize his nurse, mistaking him frequently for a call boy.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - March 25, 1905


Maurice Barrymore Passes
Away in New York

NEW YORK, March 25 - Maurice Barrymore, the actor, died last night at a sanitarium at Amityville, L. I. Mr. Barrymore had been failing in health for several years. Of late he failed rapidly in mind as well as in body, and his last years were spent in the closest seclusion. Mr. Barrymore came of English parents in India 58 years ago. His real name, Herbery Blyeth, probably was known to comparatively few of the thousands who knew him as one of the most popular actors on the American stage.

Educated at Cambridge University in England, young Blyeth early prepared himself for the civil service in India, and later took up the profession of law. He was admitted to the bar, but soon forsook that pursuit for the dramatic stage. His first public appearance in America was at the Fifth Avenue theater in this city, many years ago, and since that time he had a leading part in many of the successes of the stage. He was at various times leading man for Modjeska and Lilly Langtry, and in many other prominent companies. Mr. Barrymore also was well known as an author and playwright. Among his plays were "Nadjeska," which was written for Modjeska.

In 1876 Mr. Barrymore married Georgia Drew, a daughter of Mrs. John Drew and sister of John Drew, the well known actor. Ethel Barrymore, the actress was the daughter and John and Lionel Barrymore his sons. His breakdown took place about four years ago while playing at a theater in this city, when he suddently lost his lines and began to talk incoherently. Later, he was removed to a sanitarium. Although he had been in poor health ever since his breakdown his death was unexpected.

Boston Daily Globe (Boston, Massachusetts) - March 28, 1905


Funeral of Maurice Barrymore to be Strictly Private

NEW YORK, March 27 - The funeral of Maurice Barrymore will be held Wednesday in Philadelphia. Burial will be in the family plot in Glenwood cemetery in that city. Lionel Barrymore, the actor's son, is expected here tomorrow from El Paso, Tex. Only Ethel, John and Lionel Barrymore and an aunt will attend the funeral. Neither the Lambs club nor any other organization will have a voice in the arrangements. At the Barrymore home, 94 Park av., John Barrymore said today that the family wished it distinctly understood that the funeral would be strictly private.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - April 1, 1905


On the eve of the first appearance of his eldest son, Lionel, as a star in this city, comes word of Maurice Barrymore's death in the sanitarium where his last years had been passed. Barrymore's career came to an end when he became the victim of paresis. I remember the night, many years ago, when Wilton Lackaye, Barrymore and some others members of the A. M. Palmer company, were gathered in the Baldwin bar, and Lackaye made the remark that most of his actor friends were going the pace so rapidly that of the leading men of the day he would soon be the only one left. He spoke truly, as he did when he penned his epitaph of his lazy, lovable friend who was always "going to do, and died with nothing done." Maurice Barrymore, newspaper man, playwright, actor and athlete, was a genius who might have accomplished great things, if he had not been too much of a "good fellow." He was everybody's friend and dissipation killed him. There never was such a story-teller as big, handsome Maurice. He had a way of pointing his tales with a shrug of his broad shoulders and a merry twinkel in his dark eyes. I could relate a whole string of his stories, some that I heard him tell, others that were told me by his friends. Modjeska was not the only one who rebuked Barrymore and received a bit of quotable repartee in return. When Barrymore was Lily Langtry's leading man in "As in a Looking Glass," in one of the scenes he had to help her on with her wrap. Once or twice he did his rather awkwardly and one night, after the curtain fell, the Lily turned to the actor and, with great indignation, said: "I see that you are not accustomed to assisting ladies." "My mother and my wife are the only ones that I was ever accustomed to assisting," he replied. "I said ladies," snapped La Langtry. "Oh," returned the actor, "I see. You refer to women of the demi-monde." Langtry, so the sequel goes, reported this to Freddy Gebhard, and told the latter it was his duty to chastise the actor, but Gebhard saw no occasion for attemption that feat.

Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) - June 29, 1919

Maurice Barrymore's insanity came gradually, during many months, and finally developed one day in the Lambs, to the great grief of his host of friends. His son John invited him for a dirve which ended in a Long island insane asylum. When he discovered that he had been tricked, his well known athletic strength asserted itself and it required the united efforts of three keepers to control him and lock him in his room. He was known as being the best boxer on the stage, and when opposed in any whim by his keepers, he would become violently aggressive, and the ensuing struggle would end in the straightjacket. But as as rule he was tractable, and nothing but his violent hatred for the male nurses could disturb his endless good nature. His insanity took the pleasant form of the writing of opera librettos, and many reams of paper were covered in the production of utterly incomprehensible manuscripts. He was always doubtful as to whom to select as the composer of his librettos, until Alfred Kline, brother of the dramatist, came to the asylum with an hallucination that he was a great musician. Then these two entered into a friendly collaboration that quieted both of them, and the companionship was encouraged, with attendants by to interfere in cases of any dispute. When Kline died, Barrymore pined away and soon followed him.

No comments:

Post a Comment