John Barrymore as Hamlet, circa 1922.
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John Barrymore, as Hamlet, reclining on steps.

Credit: Image donated by Corbis-Bettmann

In 1922 John Barrymore was already one of America's greatest actors when he dropped all other projects to play Hamlet on Broadway. His 101 performances would break the record set by the great Edwin Booth almost a half century earlier. Before his death in 1942, Barrymore requested that his body be buried beside his beloved grandmother, Mrs. John Drew, in Philadelphia. His body was placed in a crypt near Hollywood, however, until his son John Barrymore Jr., stole it one night, had it cremated, and then carried the ashes back to Philadelphia where his father could rest in peace.

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