lionel barrymore

Lionel Barrymore

Posted on January 16, 2015

He’s part of the notorious Barrymore family and is often remembered for his role as the villainous Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life, but he had many great roles throughout his career. Here’s our Lionel Barrymore timeline.

April 28, 1878
Lionel Herbert Blythe is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Maurice Barrymore and comedian Georgiana Drew. His siblings are actors John Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore. His grandfather is stage star John Drew. He is great uncle to Drew Barrymore.

1904
Marries Doris Rankin.

March 1905
Father Maurice Barrymore dies.

1908
Lionel makes his screen debut in The Paris Hat.

1909
Daughter Ethel is born and dies within one year.

1912
Has a role in the silent film, The New York Hat, with Mary Pickford.

1916
Daughter Mary is born and dies within one year.

1917
Daughter Mary dies.

1920
Stars in the silent film, The Copperhead.

1923
Divorces Doris Rankin.

June 14, 1923
Marries actress Irene Fenwick.

1924
He moves to Hollywood.

1928
Stars in the silent film, Sadie Thompson.

1930
Is nominated for an Academy Award for best director for Madame X.

1931
Stars in the talkie, A Free Soul.

1931
Wins the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in A Free Soul.

1930
Stars in Rasputin and The Empress with siblings John and Ethel Barrymore.

1932
Lionel stars with brother John in Arsène Lupin.

1932
Lionel stars with brother John in Grand Hotel.

1933
Lionel stars with brother John in Night Flight.

1933
Lionel stars with brother John in Dinner at Eight.

Dec. 24, 1936
His wife Irene dies at the age of 47.

1940
Lionel becomes confined to a wheelchair after a hip injury and severe arthritis.

1946
Plays the role of Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life with Jimmy Stewart.

1948
Stars in Key Largo with Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall.

1951
Publishes an autobiography called We Barrymores.

1953
Publishes the novel, Mr. Cantonwine: A Moral Tale.

1953
Stars with sister Ethel in Main Street to Broadway. It is Lionel’s last film.

Nov. 15, 1954
Dies of a heart attack in Van Nuys, California.

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