For Immediate Release
Contact: Gail Towns - 732.987.2266 Tara Strickland - 732.987.2291 Bookmark and Share 

Georgian Court Tea Series Presents “Mrs. Gould Welcomes John Barrymore”

Actor Best Known for Portrayals of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Richard III

Lakewood, N.J., Aug. 5, 2010—Join “Edith Kingdon Gould,” wife of George Jay Gould, for a delightful afternoon of stories with famed Shakespearean actor “John Barrymore.” This unique interactive theatrical performance and elegant tea party, which brings to life figures from the past, is produced by St. George Productions of Medford, New York, as part of Georgian Court University’s “Biographies from The Court” series. Barrymore will regale his good friend Mrs. Gould (Barrymore appeared on stage with the real Edith Kingdon Gould) with how he and his siblings Ethel and Lionel learned the family business from their grandmother and went from a life of privilege to a checkered life in show business.

Available 11:30 a.m. performances (Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays) are on September 8, 9, 11, 15, 16, 18, 22, 23, 25, 29, 30 and October 2, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, and 16. Available 3:00 p.m. Sunday performances are on September 12, 19, 26 and October 3, 10, and 17. Performances will take place in the Mansion on GCU’s Lakewood campus. Doors open 30 minutes prior to the performance; please plan your arrival accordingly.

The cost is $42 per person and includes the performance and tea luncheon. For groups of 20 or more, discount pricing is available. Tickets must be purchased in advance and can be obtained by calling 732.987.2263 or e-mailing

No other actor reached such heights of achievement then fell to such depths as did John Barrymore, member of the multi-generation Barrymore theatrical dynasty. At his peak in the 1920s, he was acclaimed as the greatest Shakespearian actor of his generation. Born in 1882 in Philadelphia, Barrymore’s father was English actor Maurice Blyth, who used the stage name “Barrymore,” which was also adopted by his children. Barrymore’s mother was Georgiana Drew of the famed Drew family of actors who, along with the Blyths, dominated the American theater in the 1800s.

Barrymore studied to be an artist and worked on New York newspapers before deciding to go into the family business as an actor. He made his stage debut in 1903. His triumphs in Richard III and Hamlet won him acclaim in both the United States and in London, where he influenced a generation of Shakespearian actors such as Alec Guinness, John Gielgud, and Laurence Olivier. When not appearing on stage, Barrymore made silent films, such as the acclaimed Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1920), Sherlock Holmes (1922), Beau Brummel (1924), The Sea Beast (1926), and Don Juan (1926), which featured a very young Myrna Loy.

Barrymore easily made the transition from silent to sound films, unlike many of his contemporaries, starring in Topaze (1933), Dinner at Eight (1932), Grand Hotel (1932), and gave a  tour-de-force performance in Howard Hawks’ Twentieth Century (1934). His genius talent hid his health issues, mostly from drinking bad and nearly poisonous alcohol during Prohibition, which eventually led to a fall from stardom. His alcoholism affected his memory to the point where he could not remember lines—by the time he played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet (1936), he had to have his lines written out on blackboards placed around the set.

Married four times, Barrymore passed on his acting prowess to his son John Jr. and granddaughter Drew. He passed away on May 29, 1942, at the age of 60.

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is a comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core and a special concern for women. A forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, Georgian Court serves over 3,000 students of all faiths and backgrounds in a residential Women's College and a coeducational University College with undergraduate and graduate programs. Georgian Court's main campus is located at 900 Lakewood Avenue, Lakewood, N.J., on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, now named a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court also offers classes at its site at One Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, at Coastal Communiversity in Wall, and at Cumberland County College in Vineland.

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