Ethel Barrymore (1879-1959)

From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:

“When (Rosebery’s secretary) Harry Graham, a dashing former Guards officer, told Rosebery in 1905 that he was engaged to Ethel Barrymore, the internationally acclaimed American actress, he was immediately told to find alternative work. When he left, Harry Graham pointedly expressed to Rosebery the hope that he would ‘find a satisfactory successor to me before long, one who will successfully avoid the shoals of matrimony.’ “.

From Wikipedia:

“…Ethel recalled being frightened on first meeting Oscar Wilde when handing him some cakes and later being reprimanded by her parents for showing fear of Wilde.

…In 1897 Ethel went with William Gillette to London to play Miss Kittridge in Gillette’s Secret Service. She was about to return to the States with Gillette’s troupe when Henry Irving and Ellen Terry offered her the role of Annette in The Bells. A full London tour was on and, before it was over, Ethel created, on New Year’s Day 1898, Euphrosine in Peter the Great at the Lyceum, the play having been written by Irving’s son, Laurence. Men everywhere were smitten with Ethel…

…Winston Churchill was among Barrymore’s many new friends in England. Churchill reportedly proposed to her in 1900; Barrymore mentions no such thing in her autobiography, though she includes a photograph of herself and Churchill on the lawn at Blenheim Palace in 1899. While touring in England at age 19, she had been rumored to be engaged to the Duke of Manchester, actor Gerald du Maurier, writer Richard Harding Davis and Churchill. Upon her engagement to Laurence Irving, son of Sir Henry Irving, an old friend of Mrs. John Drew, she cabled her father Maurice, who responded with a cable “Congratulations!” When she broke up with Irving, she cabled Maurice who wired back, “Congratulations!”

Ethel Barrymore married Russell Griswold Colt (1882–1960) on March 14, 1909. The couple had been introduced, according to Barrymore’s autobiography, when Colt had strolled by the table where she was having lunch with her uncle, actor John (Uncle Jack) Drew, in Sherry’s Restaurant in New York. A New York Times article of 1911, when Barrymore first took preliminary divorce measures against Colt, states that Colt had been introduced to Barrymore by her brother John Barrymore some years before while Colt was still a student at Yale.

The couple had three children: Samuel “Sammy” Colt (1909–1986), a Hollywood agent and occasional actor; actress-singer Ethel Barrymore Colt (1912–1977), who appeared on Broadway in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies; and John Drew Colt (1913–1975), who became an actor.

Barrymore’s marriage to Colt was precarious from the start, with Barrymore filing divorce papers as early in the marriage as 1911, much to Colt’s surprise, and later recanted by Barrymore as a misunderstanding by the press. At least one source alleged Colt abused her and that he fathered a child with another woman while married to Barrymore. They divorced in 1923. Barrymore did not seek alimony from Colt for herself, but she demanded that his entailed wealth provide for their children. A devout Catholic, Ethel Barrymore never remarried.”

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