The Theater: Benedick Forever

He hadn't wanted to be an actor, particularly he hadn't wanted to be dubbed "Ethel's baby brother"; he had wanted to be an artist. His father taunted him: "Do you want to be an artist and daub all your life—or do you want to be an actor and make loooove?"

John Barrymore, it eventually turned out, wanted to be an actor. He liked living in glass houses—and in a way was concealed by their glare. The world saw all his poses, heard all his wisecracks, without ever really knowing what he was like. He...

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