Christopher Plummer Recreates Role as 'Barrymore' on THIRTEEN's Great Performances, 1/31
After Christopher Plummer's multiple awards wins for Beginners in 2010 (Oscar, Golden Globe, BAFTA, and more), the distinguished star of stage and screen went on to deliver another highly affecting performance, when he recreated his Tony Award-winning role of legendary actor John Barrymore in the film adaptation of William Luce's Broadway play of the same name.
Barrymore will air on Great Performances, Friday, January 31 at 9 p.m., ET on PBS (check local listings).
By 1909 he had achieved the status of matinee idol owing to his good looks, distinguished profile, quick wit and personal charisma. Throughout the 1920's, he played two roles which were widely acknowledged as the pinnacles of his stage career: Richard III (1920) and Hamlet (1923), the latter of which ran long enough to set a New York record and had a successful run in London. Following these triumphs, Barrymore devoted his time to his film career and appeared in one MGM production, Rasputin and the Empress, with his siblings, Lionel and Ethel. After many years in Hollywood-starring in more than 60 films, including such classics as "Grand Hotel," "Dinner at Eight," "Twentieth Century," "Romeo and Juliet," "Maytime," and "Marie Antoinette," John Barrymore returned to Broadway in 1939 for a brief run in 1 comedy with his fourth wife, Elaine Jacobs. Theatre historians generally agree that had Barrymore possessed the necessary dedication and determination, John Barrymore would have been the greatest stage actor of his generation. After 1925, however, the hedonistic actor dissipated his talents. Barrymore died in 1942, at the age of 59, mourned as much for the loss of his life as for the loss of grace, wit, and brilliance which had characterized his career at its height. Today, granddaughter Drew Barrymore carries on the family name. Playwright William Luce previously wrote the Broadway and London hit, The Belle of Amherst, starring Julie Harris as the poet Emily Dickinson, for which Ms. Harris won her fifth Tony Award for Best Actress. Luce has twice been nominated for Writers Guild Awards for the CBS-TV movies, "The Last Days of Patton," starring George C. Scott, and "The Woman He Loved," starring Jane Seymour, Olivia de Havilland and Julie Harris. He has also written autobiographical plays based on the lives of Lillian Hellman, Charlotte Bronte and Isak Dinesen. Barrymore is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Image Entertainment, Inc. Great Performances is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America's most prolific and respected public media providers. For 50 years, THIRTEEN has been making the most of the rich resources and passionate people of New York and the world, reaching millions of people with on-air and online programming that celebrates arts and culture, offers insightful commentary on the news of the day, explores the worlds of science and nature, and invites students of all ages to have fun while learning. Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Agnes Varis Trust, Rosalind P. Walter, The Starr Foundation, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and public television viewers, and PBS.
Barrymore is produced by Steve Kalafer, Peter LeDonne, and Garth H. Drabinksy. Production designer: Cameron Porteous. Director of Photography: Bernard Couture. Editor: Jean-Francois Bergeron. Composer: Michel Corriveau. Scenic designer: Debra Hanson. For Great Performances, Bill O'Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.
Visit Great Performances Online at www.pbs.org/gperf for additional information about this and other programs. About WNET As New York's flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children's programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state's unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mike Schneider and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.