Louisa Lane Drew

Louisa Lane Drew (January 10, 1820 – August 31, 1897) was an English-born American actress and theatre owner and an ancestor of the Barrymore acting family.

    Life and career

    Drew was born Louisa Lane in London, England, the daughter of Eliza Trentner (1796-1886), an actress, and either Thomas Frederick Lane, or William Haycraft Lane, an actor and stage manager.

    Louisa and her mother came to America when she was six years old. She proved to be a child prodigy playing five different adult roles within one play at the age of eight in 1828. As a young woman and strolling player, her theatrical travels took her, her mother and half sisters as far away as Jamaica, by sailing ship, where one of her step fathers died. She returned to the United States in 1847 to support Junius Brutus Booth. She appeared in several plays with both him and his son, John Wilkes Booth.

    She and her third husband John Drew were the parents of Louisa Drew (1852–1888), John Drew, Jr. and Georgie Drew (Barrymore). She had no known children from her first two marriages. The Drews owned the Arch Street Theatre, where they staged performances, and she managed the business. After her husband's death Mrs Drew adopted a baby boy and named him Sidney. She was the grandmother through Georgie of John Barrymore, Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore. Her other grand children were Georgie Drew Mendum an actress (from her daughter Louisa and Charles Mendum) and Louise Drew (Mrs Jack Devereaux) also an actress( from her son John Drew Jr. and his wife Josephine) as well as S. Rankin Drew, Sidney's son with his wife Gladys Rankin. She is the great-great-grandmother of Drew Barrymore.

    In the mid-1890s the aged Mrs Drew appeared in an all star revival of Sheridan's The Rivals. In 1897 an ailing Louisa Drew spent the summer at her annual Larchmont, New York retreat with her grandsons Lionel and John Barrymore.


    She died in Philadelphia on the last day of August in the year 1897 at the age of 77. The historic Arch Street Theatre was demolished in 1936.


    • Drew, Louisa Lane (1899). Autobiographical sketch of Mrs. John Drew. New York, New York: C. Scribner's Sons. Retrieved 2010-10-17. 

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