The actor John D. Barrymore, scion of the celebrated family of performers, died Monday in Los Angeles at age 72. No information was released about the cause of death. ”He was a cool cat. Please smile when you think of him,” his daughter Drew Barrymore said in a statement.
His sporadic film career included appearances in The Big Night (1951) and While the City Sleeps (1956). It was his eccentric, troubled personal life, though, that seemed to nab more headlines. Despite her sanguine statement, Drew was generally estranged from John. ”My father was a junkie and an alcoholic for 30 years,” she once said. ”It was hard for me to deal with growing up. It was chaotic and violent and scary.”
In addition to his famous daughter (by third wife Ildiko Jaid Barrymore), John D. Barrymore was the son of stage actor John Barrymore and the nephew of Lionel and Ethel Barrymore. He is also survived by a son, John Blythe Barrymore (his mother is John’s second wife, actress Cara Williams).