On this day in 1975, Drew Barrymore, who will shoot to stardom as a child after appearing in “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial” then later build a successful career as a leading lady, is born in Los Angeles . Barrymore is part of a famous family of American actors that includes her grandfather John Barrymore and great-uncle Lionel Barrymore. She is a goddaughter of director Steven Spielberg.
Barrymore, the daughter of actor John Barrymore Jr. (1932-2004) and German-born actress Jaid Barrymore (1946-), began appearing in TV commercials as a baby. She made her big-screen debut in 1980 in director Ken Russell’s “Altered States.” Two years later, at age 7, she skyrocketed to fame with her co-starring role in Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial.” Later that year, Barrymore went on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” to promote the movie and also became the youngest-ever host of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”
Barrymore’s early fame soon led to a wild-child Hollywood lifestyle. By age 10, she was drinking alcohol, using drugs and going to nightclubs; by her early teens, she’d spent time in rehab. At age 15, she won legal emancipation from her mother and got her own apartment. Around this time, Barrymore began starring in a series of films that exploited her bad-girl image, including “Poison Ivy” (1992), “Guncrazy” (1992) and “The Amy Fisher Story” (1993), a made-for-TV movie based on the Joey Buttafuoco scandal. She continued her controversial behavior throughout the early 1990s by posing nude for spreads in Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine and in Playboy. In 1994, Barrymore, then 19, married 31-year-old bar owner Jeremy Thomas after dating him for six weeks. The marriage lasted two months. In 1995, she made headlines once again when she exposed herself on live TV to a shocked David Letterman during his “Late Night” show birthday celebration.
Later in the decade, Barrymore got her acting career back on track. She co-starred in “Boys on the Side,” with Whoopi Goldberg and Mary Louise Parker, then appeared in director Woody Allen’s “Everybody Says I Love You” (1996), along with the hit horror-film parody “Scream” (1996). In 1998, she demonstrated her skills as a romantic leading lady in “The Wedding Singer,” with Adam Sandler, and “Ever After,” a modern interpretation of the Cinderella story. The following year she starred in the popular romantic comedy “Never Been Kissed,” which was produced by her company, Flower Films.
In 2000, Barrymore produced and co-starred, along with Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, in the big-screen adaptation of “Charlie’s Angels,” based on the hit 1970s TV show about a group of female PIs. The movie spawned a successful sequel in 2003.
Barrymore continued to rack up an impressive list of credits, from the 2001 cult classic “Donnie Darko,” with Jake Gyllenhall, to “Fever Pitch” (2005) with Jimmy Fallon and “Music and Lyrics” (2007) with Hugh Grant. She voiced the character of Chloe the pampered pooch in 2008’s “Beverly Hills Chihuahua,” and received acclaim for her performance in the 2009 biopic “Grey Gardens,” with Jessica Lange.
After a second marriage, to comedian Tom Green, from 1999 to 2001, in 2012 Barrymore wed art consultant Will Kopelman. She gave birth to their daughter later that year.
Barrymore is the great-granddaughter of actors Maurice Barrymore (1849-1905) and Georgiana Drew (1856-1893). Drew Barrymore’s great-uncle, Lionel (1878-1954), won an Academy Award for best actor for his performance in 1931’s “A Free Soul.” Her grandfather, John (1882-1942) was a noted Shakespearean actor, and his sister Ethel (1879-1959) was a celebrated actress.