Louisa Lane Drew John Drew, Sr. John Drew, Jr.
Louisa & John Drew Sr., married July 1850:



 John Drew, Jr. 

John Drew was born in Philadelphia on November 13, 1853. Mr. Drew began his stage career at the age of 20. His career had been personally managed by his mother. His first play was "Cool As a Cucumber" and acted as Plumper.

During the next couple of years Drew caught the attention of Augustin Daly. In 1875 Drew debute in New York City in the play "The Big Bonanza" at Daly's Fifth Avenue Theatre. The New York Times wrote : "That began a long succession of plays which, for the most part, called upon him to exercise the manners and characteristics of a gentleman. So often did he portray that sort of role and so completely did he become the prototype of the gentleman in the theatre that this stage figure became known as a 'John Drew part.'" Drew then took on roles within Edwin Booth's Shakespearean company. In 1877-78 he was a member of Fanny Davenport's company and in 1878 he toured with Maurice Barrymore in Diplomacy. Keep in mind that it was in 1878 that Drew's brother-in-law Maurice Barrymore was shot in the shoulder when he defended the honor of a lady. John Drew ran to Maurice Barrymore's aide after he was shot by one Mr. Curry. John Drew returned to New York to act with Daly's company and his greatest achievement was in the play "Divorce," "Love on Crutches," "The Greatest Unknown" and "Love's Labor Lost." In 1892 John drew caught the attention of Charles Frohman which was the peak of his career.

Drew's first play with Frohman was "The Masked Ball" at Palmer's Theatre. Drew's leading lady was Maude Adams they would act side-by-side for the next five years. Drew stayed with Frohman for twenty-three years, till the year 1915. During this time Drew appeared in 1896 "Rosemary," which was revived in 1915. John Drew, Ethel Barrymore and Maude Adams were the opening act of the original Waldorf-Astoria hotel in 1897. Maude is remembered as having been the very first Peter Pan.

CLICK HERE FOR Maude Adams biography and acting career.

CLICK HERE FOR Maude Adams and John Drew, Jr.'s cast and plays (1890-1896).

Other plays with John Drew, Jr. included "A Marriage of Convenience," "One Summer's Day," "The Tyrannay of Tears," "Richard Carvel," "The Second in Command," "The Mummy and the Humming Bird," "The Duke of Killiecrangle," "His House in Order," "My Wife," and "Jack Straw" to name a few. His final play with Frohman was "The Circle." In 1927 John Drew was acting again when he became ill. While in the hospital Drew issued this statement: "I want my friends throughout the world to know how grateful I am for the kindly interest they have shown in my welfare since I was taken ill--It warms my heart to see how old friends remember..." Drew told the doctors "This is but another act and I am playing my part...Now doctor, I would like some strawberries and cream today. His nephew John Barrymore sobbed as he left the hospital: "The world has lost its greatest actor and I have lost my dearest relative and best friend." Let us not forget that this was the year after John Barrymore made film history by acting in the first motion picture with sound as "Don Juan."

"Best of the actors and finest of gentleman has taken his final encore,"so said The New York Times at the time of his death July 9, 1927. Dr. Lawrence H. Hoffman said of John Drew : "In my thirty years of practice I have never attended such a remarkable patient..." The mayor of San Francisco joined in and said: "John Drew lived a gentleman and died a gentleman. Quiet, unassuming, brave, surrounded by loving relatives and friends, he closed his eyes and passed on, leaving an immortal memory in the hearts of hundreds of thousands of theatre-goers. San Francisco mourns John Drew, and to his sorrowing family our people offer sincerest condolences." The New York Times, July 10, 1927.

The photograph to the right is one of John Drew's last photographs before he died in 1927. John was acting in Trelawny of the Wells. "Except for occasional benevolent weeks devoted to the Players' Club benefits, his theatrical appearances of the past few years have been limited to the audience's side of the footlights. It is a favoured and immediately ennobed first-night which has the honour of the company of John Drew, chief of the Drew-Barrymore Clan. Portrait below is of Louise Drew, also an actress and daughter of John Drew, Jr. This photo was taken in 1902 and she was appearing in "The Second in Command."


His way of coming slowly down the aisle to his seat calls for a hushed moment: then is so much frosty courtliness and sly humour in his face as he comes. These are rare occasions, usually confined to the delights of nepotism when either the burnished Ethel, the burly Lionel or the exquisite John are partaking of metropolitan premiere's. He has passed his three-score years and ten, has served the American stage for fifty-four years, and his memories of the New York theatre went back to the days when he played in Augustin Daly's Fifth Avenue company or with Booth, Fanny Davenport and a pert little youngster called Maude Adams.

CLICK HERE FOR John Drew, Jr.Photo Gallery-1902-1906.

CLICK HERE FOR John Drew, Jr.Photo Gallery-1910-1914.

CLICK HERE FOR John Drew, Jr.Photo Gallery-1890s-1900s.


THE ACTOR by John Drew - 1894

"To the casual spectator in the stalls, who beholds the actor "strut and fret his brief" two hours on the stage (sometimes not brief enough perhaps), the other life of the player, away from the "glare of the footlights," is often a source of wonder and speculation, differing as it does from the life of men in other callings...It is understood, of course, that I speak of the real, the serious actor, serious in his calling, be his metier comedy or tragedy. And the indulgent reader--and I feel that indulgent must be the reader who commits himself to the perusal of these pages (reduced and edited)--the indulgent reader must remember that it is the actor only on his human social, as contradistinguished from his professional and artistic side, who is to be seen and heard here. By human and social is not meant private and personal; but a few phases of the actor's life may interest many, apart from his professional doings which all know...

"I remember seeing in St. Louis once, at a German theatre, a performance of the drama of "William Tell." I was told by the manager of the theatre that the stage effects in the play were extremely fine, and that I was to wait until the scene where Tell's splendid marksmanship was made apparent to see something that would astonish me. I did wait as patiently as I could until that scene, and I was certainly astonished. The scene arrived where Tell is to shoot the apple from his son's devoted head. As I gathered from the subsequent occurance, the apple and Tell's cross-bow were connected by an invisible wire, along which the arrow was to speed to its target. At the proper cue the arrow did speed half-way toward the apple and there stuck, to all appearance, in mid-air! In vain did the doughty Tell shake his bow to "joggle" the arrow to its mark. The son of Tell looked very frightened an didn't know what was happening. The apple firmly fixed on his youthful cranium was bobbing about, the audience was laughing, and the laugh burst into a roar when one of Gessler's guards, looking painfully like a gentleman who might officiate on one of the Anheuser-Busch wagons during the day, took in the situation, and coming forward from his position at the side of young Tell, calmly gave the recalcitrant arrow a smart rap with his spear, when it sped on its way and buried itself in the apple on the boy's head...

"Of course the actor must have his relaxation and recreation, or he becomes the dull boy subjected to all work and no play. In diversions and amusement different natures and temperaments take their pleasures in different ways...
"Without trenching on the "private and personal," there may be mentioned a few of the actor's "bores" and personal terrors; and every actor has them be he great or obscure. The greater the actor the greater the "bore," is the only difference...
"In the study and preparation of a part what a myriad of sensations and emotions the actor goes through; what elation and depression, what exaltation and despair he experiences between the inception of a role and its delivery to his public! At the first reading of the play and his trying to "see himself" in the part he is cast for, or at the re-reading of the part when he has it in manuscript form. The emotion is only different in degree, as the part may be a small one or a great one. After committing it to memory (the very smallest portion of the study of a part) comes the real study of it, the shaping and composing it, making himself, his personality, and perhaps his peculiarities, if he have them, consonant with the role, and fitting himself into the part so that he shall be what the author designed--now elaborating and then repressing and curtailing, accepting or rejecting mental suggestions, and making,, a perfect picture, in short going through all the travail of making a part. For, with the character, it is the actor who makes it animate. That is the real life of the actor away from the footlights, where his emotions and sensibilities are brought into the play.

"When the part he has struggled and fought with, cajoled and anathematized by turns, during the study of it, is presented to his public, it is then complete and a finished thing with the rest of the play. But what days and nights has he had before that premiere! From the beginning of the study of a part (and the feeling is more tense the more important that part may be) until the playing of it, the actor and the character he is studying are never apart. It is always with him/her. It is his first thought on arising, it bathes with him, breakfasts with him, goes about with him during the day, obtrudes itself into the conversation when he is talking with friends, is most manifest when his real relaxation comes--between the end of his performance and retiring--and finally goes to bed with him! Nor is it laid then, for "horrid dreams abuse the curtained sleeper." I believe it is almost universal in the dreams of actors about stage affairs that the very wrong thing is always happening, and it generally takes the form of lack of completeness of raiment; some most important vestment is always missing when their "call" comes for the stage. If it be a Roman tragedy the fleshings (the flesh-colored tights) are wanting. If it be an eighteenth century play the powdered wig is not to be found, or if a modern play, a coat or waistcoat, or some equally necessary garment, is undiscoverable; and during the agony of search awakening comes, and with it the relief and realization that it is but a dream. Psychologists must explain the cause of this phenomenon--we have never been able to determine it! But just so that the actor dreams of his new part.

"Another curious phase of the study of a part: after long and elaborately minute rehearsals, physically tiring and mentally wearying, during some moments of his private practice and going over his role (trying different emphases and feeling for certain nuances that may better and improve it) the awful feeling comes to him suddenly--- without warning or premonition, a bolt from the blue--that, after all his study and endeavor, his posings and utterances of many phrases in different keys and varied fashions, he is not right. And it comes upon him with greater force, if he happens at that moment to be before his mirror in his "den;" then his hitherto complacent or confident counterfeit presentment in the glass seems to say to him, "Not a bit like it." It is an awful moment, and a frightful "facer," only to be righted or forgotten for the time by flinging down the part, and, if it be in day-time, going out for a long and rapid walk, or, for choice, a gallop on a fresh and frolic some horse, which sets the blood a tingling and makes one forget all else for the moment. Or, if the awful conviction comes when he is studying at night, he must leave the "den" and go into another room, light a cigar, and read something else. After the walk or gallop or other diversion from work, the feeling of depression passes away, and again the study is renewed, to be followed by other keen transports of exaltation and despair, until the study is completed, and the first night of the play has arrived, when the feeling is: "c'est fait, I've done my best, I must stand or fall by this." And if he falls on this particular occasion, after all his long study and thoughtful preparation; if a "hardened public" will have no more of him; if moments in the play, where he has hoped to move them to mirth or tears, as the situation served him, pass unnoticed, giving him that sinking of the heart and stomach that all actors must have known at times; if "callous critics" have "praised him with faint damns," uttered to each other during the entre-actes, and dismissed him in the morning papers with the pleasant assurance to their readers that "Mr. So-and-So was wholly inadequate in his role;" or, if in a critique in a minor paper, of which perhaps the baseball editor has been sent to review the performance, the reader is informed that "Mr. X______ didn't seem to know himself"--what should the subject of this public indifference, and, perhaps just and elegant criticism, do? What he does do is to avoid the sight of men for a short period of moral and anguished sack-cloth and ashes, and then emerge, tried by the fire, stronger than before, to have another try at "getting there," if honest effort is to do it.

And if he does not fall, but on the first night of his long dreaded and hoped for trail wins plaudits and recognition from his public, and a like of praise from his critics, in the elation of his success he has to remember that those are not the only people or opinions he will have to face; that the unstinted praise of one "public" or town may be succeeded by moderated transports in other places, even giving place to adverse feeling on the subject, and the voicing of it in expressions of belief in the superiority of some one hitherto disregarded by him as a possible rival. Such is the difference in audiences in so large a theatrical territory as ours; different districts and communities are affected and swayed by different portions of a play and its performance. And in the portrayal of a character, what to one audience may seem entirely consistent and natural, to another may appear unreal, strained, and over or under-acted. I suppose this is to be expected in so huge an area, where conditions, socially mental if not morally, are so varied.

"If self - sacrifice and a devotion to duty and discipline equal to that of the soldier count for anything in the moral make-up of a man, then certainly the actor is entitled to one of the high places, for of this same devotion to duty in his calling is begot an excessive sense of his duty to his neighbor, and that his why he is ever ready to assist in any fashion the unfortunate or those in need of help.
"This in farewell. The actor, unless he be in nature perverted, must exhibit in his life the effect of his calling; a calling desirous of the same results as other arts--the advancement of the human mind through the ministration of beauty and truth-- an advancement out of which necessarily flows increased civilization and augmented happiness for the human race. And what more safe or splendid motto could there be for his calling than that utterance of Bacon, that all actors know and revere: 'I hold every man a debtor to his profession; from the which as men of course do seek to receive countenance and profit, so out they of duty to endeavor themselves by way of amends to be a help and ornament thereunto.'"