Drew Barrymore

Occupation: Actress
Date of Birth: February 22, 1975
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, Calif., USA
Sign: Sun in Pisces, Moon in Cancer
Relations: Father: John Drew Barrymore, Jr. (actor); mother: Ildiko Jaid Barrymore (actress); brother: John (actor); great-uncle: Lionel Barrymore (actor); great-aunt: Ethel Barrymore (actress); grandfather: John Barrymore, Sr. (actor); godfather: Steven Spielberg (director); ex-husband: Jeremy Thomas; fiancé: Tom Green (TV personality)
Education: High school dropout


INHERITING both halves of her famous family's theatrical and cinematic legacy, actress Drew Barrymore demonstrated a captivating flair for performing and an equally eye-opening penchant for public notoriety when barely into her schoolgirl years. She first made her mark at age 7 playing dress-up and sharing a smooch with a stranded alien botanist in Steven Spielberg's mega-successful E.T., and ascended to cult-celebrity status two years later as the star of the Stephen King adaptation Firestarter. Fortunately for Barrymore, that was enough to maintain Hollywood's interest in her professional career for a good long while, as she thereafter entered into a wildly troubled adolescence, every tumultuous detail of which was writ large in the tabloid press. The remarkably resilient youngster, characterized at the height of her teenage woes by longtime pal Spielberg as being "13 going on 29," bounced back both professionally and personally by age 21, when her riveting cameo in Wes Craven's Scream electrified her flagging career.

The great-niece of legendary thespian siblings Lionel and Ethel Barrymore and the granddaughter of their equally reputed baby brother John, a star of screen and stage who came to the end of his storied life penniless and lost in an alcoholic daze, Drew was born in Los Angeles just months after her actor father and actress mother parted company for good. Depending on who you ask, her mother both fostered and resisted the notion of her photogenic child's pursuit of a career in acting; either way, baby Drew appeared in a Puppy Choice Dog Food commercial at age 11 months, and was just 2 when she got her first movie role, playing a boy in the made-for-television drama Suddenly Love. Two years later, she told her mother, "I really want to act," and her wish was granted just one year thereafter, when the precocious 5-year-old made her feature-film debut with a small role in 1980's Altered States. The dam burst in 1982, when her supporting turn in E.T. thoroughly charmed critics and viewers around the globe.

On top of the cinematic world before she was old enough to worry about acne, Barrymore embarked on a long downward spiral in 1984, when she got drunk for the first time at a birthday party for teen dreamboat Rob Lowe. Ironically, her movie career appeared about to blossom the same year, when she followed up her breakout Firestarter performance with a Golden Globe-nominated turn in Irreconcilable Differences. By the time she first experimented with marijuana at age 10, however, the erstwhile cinematic charmer had blossomed into a club-hopping, party-loving wild child. Three years later, she tried cocaine and created a scandal by filming several near-nude scenes for the thriller Far From Home; the same year, at her mother's insistence, she entered rehab, but wound up spending a total of just 18 days at the ASAP Family Treatment Center in Van Nuys, Calif., sandwiched around an acting job in Nevada. Sober for two months, she toppled off the wagon in New York, swiped Mom's credit card and hopped a plane to the West Coast with the intention of continuing on to Hawaii. She was apprehended by private investigators in Los Angeles and led back to rehab in handcuffs.

Determined to forge a clean break with her checkered past, Barrymore stayed in rehab for three months, kicked off 1989 with a cathartic (and lengthy) interview in People magazine, and appeared in a very special television movie about teenage drug abuse. Plagued by a lingering pot addiction, the beleaguered starlet sank back into a narcotic haze just months after her People interview arrived at the newsstand, and eventually hit rock bottom in July, when she attempted suicide by slashing her wrists. Three more months of rehab followed before Barrymore finally managed to lay her addictions aside, a personal triumph she celebrated by becoming legally emancipated at age 15, after having been continually at odds with her manager mother almost from the moment of her E.T. breakthrough. Apparently unsatisfied with declaring her freedom from addiction and parental control, the never-shy actress further declared her freedom from inhibition: At 16 she co-authored a thoroughly candid memoir, Little Girl Lost, and a year later she posed nude for an Interview magazine cover shot.

That same year her acting career at long last began to recover in the wake of a striking turn in the lust-ridden thriller Poison Ivy and a series television lead in the short-lived primetime soap 2000 Malibu Road. Playing murderous Long Island teen Amy Fisher in the fact-based Amy Fisher Story provided further career CPR, and Barrymore kept her name in the news with a spur-of-the-moment marriage to actor Jeremy Thomas that lasted just two months. At age 20, she posed nude for the January 1995 issue of Playboy-showing off her numerous tattoos among other things-and her professional rebound continued with roles in Mad Love, Batman Forever, and Boys on the Side. Without a doubt, however, her most warmly received performance of 1995 was a risqué on-air happy-birthday dance for Late Night host David Letterman, which she punctuated by showing a bemused and blushing Letterman her breasts; he graciously responded by saying, "I can't thank you enough for that."

In 1996, Scream completed Barrymore's career rebirth, which she capped by delivering a well-reviewed performance in Woody Allen's Everyone Says I Love You. Fully restored to the good graces of the viewing public, she kicked off 1998 by striking sparks with Adam Sandler in the hugely successful romantic comedy The Wedding Singer. Later in the year, she demonstrated impressive drawing power playing a 16th-century Cinderella in the surprise summer blockbuster Ever After, and won further critical kudos for her charming lead performance in the darkly comic Home Fries.

Though not fully reconciled with either of her parents, Barrymore recently took in her long-lost and financially bereft father, and remains on speaking terms with her mother. Since 1994, she has managed her own production company, Flower Films, and she served as executive producer of her most recent movie, Never Been Kissed, in which she plays an aspiring reporter who goes undercover to get the scoop on high school life.

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