Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Dolores Costello, ‘20s star and Drew Barrymore’s grandmother, should be remembered for this reason: author

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Dolores Costello, star of the ‘20s and ‘30s, made headlines 43 years after her death.

Recently, Drew Barrymore was brought to tears when she stumbled upon photos of her late grandmother on social media. The 47-year-old said she was scrolling through Instagram when she came across old photos of the actress.

Terry Chester Shulman, an acclaimed writer who chronicled Costello’s story in his book “Film’s First Family: The Untold Story of the Costellos,” told Fox News Digital there are plenty of reasons why film buffs should learn about the star’s life and legacy today.

Drew Barrymore (right) came across photos of her late grandmother Dolores Costello on Instagram.
(Getty Images)

“Known in the 1920s as ‘Goddess of the Silver Screen,’ Dolores Costello was one-third of the first great family of movie stars,” he said. “Her father, Maurice Costello, was the first screen heartthrob, her sister Helene starred in the first all-talking picture.”


“Dolores herself was at one time the seventh-biggest star of the silent era,” he continued. “In the 1930s she starred in David O. Selznick’s classic film ’Little Lord Fauntleroy,’ and in the ’40s, Orson Welles’ cinematic masterpiece, ‘The Magnificent Ambersons.’”

It’s been said that when actor John Barrymore met the actress for the first time, he said, “I have just seen the most beautiful woman in the world. I shall not rest or eat until I have seen her again.”

American actor John Barrymore with his first wife, Dolores Costello, on their wedding day, circa 1928.
(Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The pair were married from 1928 until 1934.

“Whenever I think of John, it is with great compassion,” she later said.


Costello remarried to Dr. John Vruwink in 1939, and that union lasted until 1950.

Dolores Costello with her son, John Barrymore Jr., Drew Barrymore’s father
(Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images)

Costello died in 1979 at age 73. At the time of her death, she had been living in retirement at her avocado farm in California, The New York Times reported. Her last credited role was 1943’s “This is the Army.” She was survived by her son, John Barrymore Jr., her daughter, Dolores E. Bedell, and six grandchildren.

Fast-forward to 2022, Costello’s granddaughter found photos of her grandmother during the height of her career on the OldHollywoodFans page.

“The Goddess of the Silent Screen: Stunning Dolores Costello in the 1920s and 1930s,” the caption read alongside vintage snaps of the star. “Dolores is the grandmother of the beautiful and talented Drew Barrymore.”


Dolores Costello died in 1979
(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The actress and host of “The Drew Barrymore Show” took to the comments section and revealed she was filled with emotion after seeing the photos.

“I didn’t know why I was scrolling because I need to go to bed and get up for work,” Barrymore wrote. “I was feeling like I was looking for something. A sign ? I don’t know but I needed something!!! And I came across this!”

“You brought me my grandmother!!!” she continued. “I have tears streaming down my face as I write this!! Thank you. I needed this tonight!!!! Ps. Isn’t she so neat?! Thank you.”

Barrymore, who shot to stardom at age 7 for her breakout role in 1982’s “E.T.,” previously shared that she wanted to give her daughters, 9-year-old Olive and 7-year-old Frankie, a more private upbringing.


Drew Barrymore shares two children with ex-husband Will Kopelman. They divorced in 2016.
(Tim Hunter / Newspix via Getty Images)

“I started [in this industry] when I was in diapers,” she told People magazine in September 2020. “At 13, it was that sad sob story. And then I picked myself back up.”

“I’ve been married, I’ve gotten divorced, I’ve raised myself, for better or worse,” she continued. “I have these two girls who are my entire universe. And it has all been out there. My life with my children, my feelings, that’s all on the table – but [Olive and Frankie themselves] are not. Because of my life experiences, I’m not selling my brand on my kids. I won’t do it.”

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