John, Lionel, and Ethel Barrymore were labeled "the royal family of Broadway" in the 1920s. Born into an acting family, all three originally sought careers away from the theatre —Ethel as a pianist, John as an artist, and Lionel as an artist and composer. Eventually, all three turned to acting.
Ethel Barrymore appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, radio, television, and in a number of motion pictures. Lionel Barrymore appeared on Broadway before becoming both a motion picture and radio actor. He is probably best remembered for his "Dr. Kildare" series and his radio performances in Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." John Barrymore, also a stage and film actor, was often called the "great profile."
A 20-cent commemorative stamp paying tribute to the distinguished US theatrical family the Barrymores was issued June 8, 1982, in New York City, New York. The First Day of Issue ceremony was held at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, which Ethel Barrymore dedicated in 1928. The stamp also marked the centennial anniversary of the Actors' Fund, the oldest ongoing theatrical charity in the world, which was granted a charter by the state of New York on June 8, 1882.
The stamp was designed by Jim Sharpe of Westport, Connecticut, and modeled by Ronald C. Sharpe. It was printed in the photogravure process and issued in panes of fifty stamps.
Reference: Postal Bulletin (May 6, 1982)
Scott Catalogue USA: 2012
Copyright United States Postal Service. All rights reserved.
Museum ID: 1985.0796.3125