Drew Barrymore rode a career rollercoaster spanning two decades before the age of 25. The product of an acting dynasty that runs from great-great-grandmother Louisa Lane Drew through grandfather John Barrymore, the youngest Barrymore showed promise right from the start and appeared in TV commercials before reaching the age of one. While her lineage was responsible for some notice, the saccharine-free sweetness of her performance as little Gertie in the 1982 classic ET, The Extra-Terrestrial won Barrymore acclaim reserved for the truly talented. Her watchability propelled many a subsequent film, including the otherwise unremarkable Stephen King adaptations Firestarter (1984) and Cat's Eye (1985).

      A victim of 1980s Hollywood lifestyle, Barrymore had too much too soon, and began to attract less attention for her acting than for the increasingly sordid tabloid stories about her pre-adolescent addictions to drugs and alcohol. After undergoing rehab and--another Barrymore tradition--publishing a memoir, Little Girl Lost (1989), the resilient teen made an impressive comeback in the early 90s, riding a wave of celebrity and controversy.

      Still possessing the angelic glow of her childhood, but with an added air of trouble, Barrymore portrayed Lolita-like teens in Poison Ivy (1992), Guncrazy (1992) and the ABC-TV movie The Amy Fisher Story (1993), based on the sordid case of the Long Island teenager who shot the wife of her former lover, all films boosted by her confident performances.

      The actress returned to big-budgeted features with 1994's disappointing Western Bad Girls. She was next cast alongside Whoopi Goldberg and Mary-Louise Parker in the touching tragicomedy Boys on the Side (1995), a female road movie that capitalized on Barrymore's undeniable charm, and showcased an acting depth and assuredness that had not previously been completely realized.

      1995 saw her take on two other disparate roles, first playing a suicidal teen opposite Chris O'Donnell in the sweetly acted if critically panned Mad Love, followed by a cameo role as the glitzy but inherently childlike femme fatale Sugar in Batman Returns, a Marilyn Monroe inspired character that it seemed Barrymore was born to play. This role reteamed her with Joel Schumacher, a big supporter of hers who gave her a break on the enjoyable 2000 Malibu Road, a short-lived trashy soap on CBS in 1992.

      During her post-rehab comeback, Barrymore reappeared in the gossip columns with colorful extracurricular antics. Unlike her previous drug related escapades, the young woman seemed much more in control of every situation, with some spontaneous free-spirited nudity ranking as the most shocking of her activities. Among the more memorable capers was a birthday dance for bemused talk show host David Letterman which culminated in her flashing her breasts for Dave's eyes only. Barrymore additionally garnered much newsprint by stripping on stage at a trendy NYC performance space and posing for Playboy. In another movie star rite-of-passage, she endured a month-long marriage to a Welsh bar owner. Audiences responded positively to her carefree spirit and the harmless stunts that peppered the actress' road to adulthood.

      Blonde and beautiful, with a warm, open smile and a somewhat devilish fire in her eyes, Barrymore certainly looks like the perfect American icon, a fact not lost on director Wes Craven who hired her for a pivotal role in his tongue-in-cheek slasher flick Scream (1996). As the biggest name in the cast, Barrymore brilliantly opted for the role of the first victim, helping to establish the film as a new thriller experience, bucking the preset conventions of the horror genre. She followed with a turn in the ensemble of Woody Allen's odd musical Everyone Says I Love You (also 1996), gracefully and sympathetically portraying a New York City daughter of privilege, reminding audiences and co-stars alike of her Hollywood royalty roots. (Although unlike her co-stars, her singing voice was dubbed by a professional.)

      Barrymore had a popular hit with 1998's The Wedding Singer, perfectly playing the sweetly captivating Julia opposite Adam Sandler in this enjoyable 1980s-set romantic comedy. That same year, the actress happily took on Cinderella in Ever After, embroidering the story with a female empowering modern sensibility. Barrymore was thrilled with the character, a smart, sensitive, but staunch young woman dealing with family issues, and the structure of the film, which differed from the traditional beautiful girl with ugly oppressors saved by a fairy godmother story. The result was a charming and affirming romance, with Barrymore proving more than capable of carrying a film as the primary star. The quirky comedy Home Fries (also 1998) came next, starring the actress as a pregnant fast food worker who falls in love with the unborn child's adult would-be stepbrother (played by Barrymore's then-companion Luke Wilson). The actress veritably lit up the screen with her inimitable spirit and radiance.

      A sharp and thoughtful businesswoman as well, her Flower Films (formed in 1994) secured a deal with Fox 2000 that led to the charming 1999 comedy Never Been Kissed, in which she essayed a twentysomething reporter posing as a high school student for an undercover assignment.

      Under her banner Flower Films productions, Barrymore joined forces with Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu in a big screen version of the 70s campy TV series Charlie's Angels (2000). A box-office hit, the film was, in the words of one critic, "an appealing mix of sexy, tongue-in-cheek fun; high-energy action; slick production values; and more chick-flick worthy outfits/hairdos than you can bat an eyelash at." The following year, Barrymore undertook her most demanding role to date, portraying a teenager who gets pregnant, eventually marries and then raises her child as a single mother in Riding in Cars with Boys. Playing a character that aged from 16 to her mid-30s, she offered a strong turn that showed a previously untapped range and depth.

      Barrymore has also displayed a certain savvy behind the scenes, serving as a producer on several projects via her company, Flower Films, with her partner Nancy Juvonen. Along with producing and developing her own starring vehicles -- including Never Been Kissed, Charlie's Angels and a remake of Barbarella -- she also shepherded the much-admired Donnie Darko (2001) in which she had a small role.

      In 2002, Barrymore co-starred with Julia Roberts in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, directed by George Clooney, delivering a more womanly performance as Penny, the somewhat fictionalized girlfriend of real-life game show producer Chuck Barris. Displaying her typical warmth and patented adorable qualities, Barrymore was also mature, real and vulnerable. She next reunited with Diaz and Liu for the sequel Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle (2003). The trio demostrated, once again, their expertise as masters of espionage, martial arts, and disguise, and as producer of the film Barrymore scored a major buzz-building coup by personally luring Hollywood expatriate Demi Moore out of semi-retirement to play the movie's villainess. That same year, Barrymore also produced and co-starred in the broad comedy Duplex opposite Ben Stiller, playing an upwardly mobile couple whose homeowning dreams become a nightmare when they encounter the seemingly sweet old lady next door.

      In 2004, just days after becoming the sixth member of her famed family to receive a star of Hollywood's Walk of Fame, Barrymore was reunited on-screen with her Wedding Singer co-star Sandler in 50 First Dates, a screwy romantic comedy that cast her as Lucy Whitmore, a woman who suffers from a disorder that eliminates her short term memory each day, forcing a smitten veterinarian (Sandler) to win her heart anew every 24 hours.

      An actress who spent an inordinate percentage of her life in the public eye, Drew Barrymore has endured various stages and incarnations that have been the subject of much talk. From sparkling child star to unemployed premature party girl to adolescent rehab survivor playing bad girl roles to free spirit re-ascending the Hollywood ladder, her life and career have certainly proved her versatile. Her latest status, as genuinely content and grounded young woman, whose talent, uncommon likability and healthy ambition make for a comfortable fit as a compassionate and compelling leading lady.

      Again wearing the hats of both producer and star, Barrymore returned to the romantic comedy genre again for Fever Pitch (2005), playing a corporate climber whose idyllic romance with a schoolteacher (Jimmy Fallon) is threatened by his obessessive devotion to the Boston Red Sox. The film, directed by the Farrelly brothers from the Nick Hornby novel, was a winsome, appealing effort that showcased both stars warm-hearted charm. Next she generously made an all-important appearance in tyro filmmaker Brian Herzlinger's shameless My Date With Drew (2005), a documentary chronicling his attempts to meet Barrymore, a supposed lifelong crush, in 30 days before having to return the video camera he purchased--the film's attempts to be goofily romantic were undermined by the real objects of Herzlinger's infatuation: himself and his nascent film career.

      { M A I L I N G  A D D R E S S E S }

        Drew Barrymore
        c/o Flower Films
        9220 Sunset Blvd., #309
        Los Angeles, CA 90069

        Drew Barrymore
        c/o PMK/HBH
        700 N. San Vincente Blvd., Ste. G910
        Hollywood, CA 90069-5061

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