Maurice Barrymore - Mental Breakdown and Death

Mental Breakdown and Death

The March 25, 1905, the New York Times reported: "He was playing a vaudeville engagement at a Harlem theatre when he suddenly dropped his lines and began to rave, (to the horror of his son John). The following day he became violent and was taken to Bellevue insane ward by John. No easy task as John had to lure his father away at the pretense of starring in a new play. At Bellevue and later Amityville he was diagnosed with the lingering effects of syphilis, an incurable disease in his day. Nothing could be done for him. During his stay at Bellevue he nearly strangled his daughter Ethel when she paid a visit to him. Ethel, through her early success on the stage, would pick up the tab for her father's stay in the institutions. A trained boxer, Barrymore's strength remained as in a scuffle with one of the Bellevue attendants, he picked the man up over his head and threw him into a corner. He died at Amityville in his sleep, and Ethel had him buried at Glenwood Cemetery in Philadelphia. Barrymore had lived long enough to see all three of his children grow to adulthood and enter the family business of acting. There are no photographs that survive of Barrymore taken with any of his three children.

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