John Barrymore, the famed New York stage actor, was appearing in a traveling company’s version of a Broadway hit.  The handsome and debonair member of a heralded acting family was on tour with 24 other players in a play entitled “The Dictator”.  Barrymore was cast as a drunken telegrapher.  Early in the morning after the play was over, the actor was roused from his bed by the first shock of the mammoth earthquake. The second shock threw him into a hall bathtub still dressed in the evening clothes he had worn in the play.  Barrymore remained in his grimy tux while plaster fell down around him.  He stayed drunk for the entire period of the quake and the subsequent raging fires and horrific citywide destruction.  Soon after, the nervous actor fled San Francisco, left the tour, and hid out with friends in a home on the outskirts of town.

Portrait_of_John_Barrymore

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