Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Happy Birthday Drew (Barrymore)!

Ms Drew

An Earlier Version

With Mom



What a Cutie!

"Far From Home"


Enjoying Some Ice Cream

Orothogonal Functions



With The Godfather, Steven

Uh Oh, Scouts


Angels, They're So Happy

I am very happy this morning to give a great big happy birthday shout out to one of my very favorite actresses and people, Ms. Drew Barrymore!
Drew was born while still very young in nearby Culver City, California, in West Los Angeles. I pass through there sometimes on my way to Venice where the ocean is. Ironically enough, although Drew did not know it at the time, Culver City has a long history of involvement with the entrainment industry, specifically movie and television studios located within it. Since the 1920s studios like MGM, the Hal Roach Studios, and the Culver Studios made many famous films, like: "The Wizard of OZ," "The Thin Man," "Gone with the Wind," "Citizen Kane," the Tarzan movies, and the original "King Kong."
Those are very old movies, some of which my lovely ex-case manager, Erin may not even be aware of (although I know for certain she is a fan of "The Wizard of Oz." She told me so once, and I gave her a DVD of it for her birthday, or something. I told her this true story, that I used to see Margaret Hamilton, the lovely lady who played the Wicked Witch of the West, eat at the restaurant of the hotel my father's liquor store was attached to during the late 60s (she had no flying monkeys with her that I could discern).
These are some more recent films made in Culver City: "Grease," "Raging Bull," "City Slickers," "Air Force One," "Wage the Dog," and a favorite of mine, "Contact."
Erin probably doesn't know any of those movies either. She is movie challenged. I know she knows "Contact," though, because we watched it together at Movie Day. Case manager Paul too.
What were we talking about... oh yes, Drew Barrymore... she herself would come back to Culver City six years after being born to play a five year old sister in the film "E.T.the Extra-Terrestrial," directed by Steven Spielberg... you may of heard of him.
Six years old and she has a major role in what Rotten Tomatoes has ranked the greatest science fiction film of all time, and the largest money maker of all time up to that point (it cost 10.5 million to make, and made almost 793,000,000 million in 1982 dollars worldwide ($1.82 billion inflation adjusted 2011 dollars). How much of that money did Drew get? Who knows? But it wasn't very much I can guarantee that, forcing her at one point in her life to work at Blockbuster Video. Instead, Steven Spielberg became Drew's godfather. Sophia Loren, the lovely Italian actress, would become Drew's godmother. I didn't even know Steven and Sophia knew each other, oh my.
In any case, she was delivered by Dr. Paul Fleiss, the father of famed Hollywood ambassador to the stars, Heidi Fleiss.
And suddenly there was Drew. Her parents, actor John Drew Barrymore Jr. and Ildiko Jaid Barrymore split up before she was even born.
Now Erin knows Drew I'm almost positive. However I'm also sure she does not know of her illustrious family who passed the Barrymore name down to her, and forced acting and entertainment into her little baby bloodstream.
From Wikipedia (so you know it must be true): Drew "was born into acting: her great-grandparents Maurice Barrymore and Georgie Drew Barrymore, Maurice Costello (no relation to Lou) and Mae Costello, and her grandparents John Barrymore and Dolores Costello, were all actors; John Barrymore was arguably the most acclaimed actor of his generation [Shakespearean stage and film actor of the 20s and 30s]. She is the niece of Diana Barrymore and the grandniece of Lionel Barrymore [you may remember Lionel, dear readers, as the mean old bad guy in Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life." Erin sure won't], Ethel Barrymore and Helene Costello, the great-great-granddaughter of John Drew and actress Louisa Lane Drew, and the great grandniece of silent film actor/writer/director Sidney Drew."
Anyway, a dog made Drew a star. Her mom Jaid, an aspiring actress herself and a single mom, began taking Drew to auditions at a very early age. At eleven months old she auditioned for a commercial for Puppy Choice dog food. The dog she was working with bit her and she laughed instead of crying. The producers liked her reaction and hired her. Thus her career began.
She got her start in movies when she was 2 or 3, when mom got her on a couple of television movies as a favor to friends. When she was 4 she was cast in "Altered States," based on the only novel Paddy Chayefsky ever wrote. It was also William Hurt's first movie, and Drew played his daughter.
A year later Drew auditioned for the part of Carol in the Steven Spielberg production of "Poltergeist" (Spielberg didn't direct the film as Drew claims in the clip below, Tobe Hooper of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre," did, but Steven produced it). Steven said of Drew that she wasn't really what they were looking for, and the part was given to Heather O'Rourke (who died tragically seven years later). However, when Spielberg was asked about Drew playing the part of sister Gertie in his next upcoming directorial project, Steven said, this is just the person we need for the part, or something to that effect. That project was 1982's "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial," which we've already discussed.
Suddenly Drew was a star. Here's a interview with her while she was in England:
And here's that scream:
She remains the youngest person (at seven) to ever host Saturday Night Live.
And here's Drew showing Johnny Carson (used to host The Tonight Show, Erin, before Jay Leno) her teeth:
And here's Drew showing David Letterman something else:
The next year Drew would begin her collaboration with Stephen King, the horror writer, you may have heard of him.
She did this by playing the title role in "Firestarter," with my friend Martin Sheen, David Keith, Heather Locklear, Art Carney, Louise Fletcher, and George C. Scott. Not a bad cast. Drew played the adorable pyrokinetic Charlie. The film is actually a favorite of mine, as is the book.
Drew ended her collaboration with Stephen King in the next year's "Cat's Eye," in which her cat does battle with a deadly troll.
Hey, it can happen.
And then something happened. Life intervened, and not in a... happy way.
So much attention at such an early age can be exceptionally detrimental for a developing psyche. One's life can turn in certain directions which upon later reflection one may not have wanted it to. It has happened to a lot of child stars. They get involved with drugs and alcohol, and sometimes never recover and regain the prominence they once held. Hell, it happens to adults who are thrust suddenly in the limelight. It seems to be happening to Lindsey Lohan currently. It's happened to me (without the limelight), and it happened to Drew Barrymore.
She was a naturally precousious, adventuresome, and uninhibited child. Her mother Jaid began taking her along to various clubs around Hollywood, like the famous Studio 54 and the China Club. She was smoking cigarettes at age nine, drinking alcohol by the time she was 11, smoking marijuana at 12, and snorting cocaine at 13.
She was in rehab for 3 months when she was 12. She tried to kill herself two years later and went back to rehab. Upon release she lived with David Crosby and his wife for three months. David, of the folk- rock group Crosby Stills, Nash, & Young, was committed to sobriety, and it was felt that Drew needed a sober environment. It seems to have worked to a high degree, and I recommend that every newly recovering drug addict and alcoholic live with David and Jan for a while. Hey, it couldn't hurt, and they could use the money.
Drew wrote a book about her experiences when she was 14, 1989's "Little Girl Lost," partly to counter all the bad press she was getting from the media.
Back in 1984 Drew had been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture, for her work in "Irreconcilable Differences," a comedy--drama with Ryan O'Neal and Shelly Long about a daughter divorcing her parents. In 1990 Drew did just that by receiving a juvenile court petition for emancipation from her mother, and moving into her own apartment.
She got engaged the next year to Leland Hayward, which lasted a few months before being called off. Then she got engaged again and lived with Jamie Walters, an actor and musician. Drew appeared nude on the cover of Interview Magazine with him in 1992.
Back making movies she played characters that seemed true to type, manipulative, seductive teenager femme fatales, in such films as "Poison Ivy," which turned into a video, DVD success and began a francaise that Jamie Pressly and Alyssa Milano would later use to start their careers. Here's a clip with Drew seducing her friend's dad played by Tom Skerritt:
The next year she won her second Golden Globe nomination for "Gun Crazy," in which she played a manipulative, seductive teenager femme fatale who killed her step dad.
In 1994 she got married to a Welsh bar owner, which lasted a little more than a month. And she posed for Playboy magazine that year, the fruits of which were put forth in the January 1995 issue.
Now I've seen that particular issue. There happened to be an excellent article concerning orthogonal functions in it, so I've seen her spread. If I had to judge I'd say it was a joyous expression of a young, free spirited, beautiful young woman, very well and tastefully done. As a matter of fact I liked that article on orthogonal functions so much that I've happily reviewed it many times throughout the years... many times.
Good article!
Drew's mother, Jaid, appeared in the very same magazine for her own spread just eight months later. That issue had a fascinating article concerning protein crystallography that I recommend to those who are interested in such matters.
Spielberg didn't care for Drew's spread though. He gave her a quilt for her 20th birthday with a note that said, "Cover yourself up," the bastard.
Mind your own business Steve.
In 1995 she starred with Whoopie Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker, in "Boys on the Side," which advanced the cause of cannibalism in this country decades, a subject that thanks to Anthony Hopkins had finally been broached back in 1991 with the release of "Silence of the Lambs." Food shortages in the United States dramatically declined. She also played Tommy Lee Jones paramour in "Batman Forever," with Val Kilmer taking his turn as the Caped Crusader.
And she also started her own production company, Flower Films, with her partner Nancy Juvonen, selling out to the Hollywood establishment and becoming The Man... and making a lot of money.
The next year she started a francaise with this scene from 1996's "Scream"
That year she also appeared in Woody Allen's only musical-comedy, "Everyone Says I Love You."
Drew's career was back on the fast track. She began making money for the studios in mostly romantic comedies, such as, "Wishful Thinking," "Never Been Kissed" (produced by Flower) and "The Wedding Singer."
In 2000 she produced and starred in "Charlie's Angels," a remake of the popular television show of the late 70s. It was a huge success at the box office, a little bit over the top I'd say, but what the hell. It helped in a long way solidify her standing in the business, and her company's. Here's one of my favorite scenes... I don't know why:
One of my favorite movies with Drew is 2001's "Riding in Cars With Boys," directed by Penny Marshall, and co-starring James Woods, Steve Zahn, and our lovely friend, the late Brittany Murphy. Here's one of my favorite scenes with Brittany and Drew:
Drew's films have a worldwide box office gross which stands at over $2.3 billion. That's dollars, not pesos. Today she commands a salary of approximately $15 million per picture, which places her eighth on the list of highest paid actresses. She's come a long way from "Little Girl Lost."
People must like Drew. On October 10, 2009 she hosted Saturday Night Live again, for the sixth time! Making her the only female (girl) to host that many shows. Here's a clip of her being interviewed about this by James Lipton on "Inside the Actor's Studio,"
Like Jennifer Love, Drew has either been romantically linked, or married to every guy in Southern California except me, which I resent wholeheartedly (actually, both Drew and Jennifer Love are getting on in years and are a tad too old for me now... sorry girls). She may or may not be dating the wonderful actor and comedian, Justin Long. Nobody knows for sure. Not even Drew. Or the art consultant, Will Kopelman, I keep hearing about, son of some CEO of course. (come on Drew, take a trip downtown to Skid Row and find yourself a real man!)
Blah, blah, blah... who cares?
Anyway, in 2004 she became the sixth member of her family to receive a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. A bunch of show offs for sure.
She says, "Every morning I stay in bed for ten minutes to ponder my place in the universe. Then I wash my face and check my karma."
As do I. I have an electric Karma Checker... from Kmart.
In 2007, she was named an Ambassador Against Hunger for the United Nations World Food Program, which is very important because almost everybody has to eat. I know I do. I'm going to have a cracker right now.
Although one of her hobbies is photography, she claims to never watch any of the movies she stars in.
As do I.
My movies, not hers. I always watch movies she appears in.
Almost always.
Drew made her directorial debut in 2009, with "Whip It," another teen story about a girl escaping her small town by joining a roller derby team. Boy, if I had a nickel... It stars another of my favorite actresses, the lovely Ellen Page, who just celebrated her 24th birthday yesterday. Happy birthday Ellen! I'll get to you eventually.
Drew, Juliette Lewis and Kristen Wiig also appear in the film and beat up poor little Ellen.
It's a tough business folks.
Let's see, what else. I keep seeing her on these Cover Girl commercials. I guess she's spent all of that movie money already.
She is a huge fan of The Beach Boys and appeared in their music video, "Rock and Roll To The Rescue" as well as singing "Wouldn't It Be Nice" in the film "50 First Dates," with her "Wedding Singer," pal, Adam Sandler.
Well I once saw The Beach Boys in concert, so there. On New Years Eve. At midnight they played "Good Vibrations." I was stoned.
Some of her other favorite musicians are The Beatles (I kind of like them too), Daft Punk (French), Lauryn Hill (avoids publicity), Coldplay (Limeys), Ratt (Rodent. Try Led Zeppelin, Drew. You can remember their songs), and Beck (Jeff). What! No Moby!?
This is a link to her official website:
And I'll let Drew have the last word, speaking for all of us who are chronically unhappy:
"You have to fight unhappiness like a dragon with fire and breath."
Except for these words:
All of us here at Joyce's Take wish Drew continued good fortune and health, and a very happy birthday!
Happy birthday Drew!

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