You can count on one hand the number of child stars who have achieved success as adults. For every Jodie Foster and Ron Howard, there are a dozen Dana Platos and Gary Colemans. By her early teens, Drew seemed destined to become yet another Hollywood casualty. She had inherited problems with drugs and alcohol from her family along with an enormous talent. But something funny happened on the way to self-destruction: Drew found redemption and made a startling comeback. She has become not only a mature actress but also a mature woman.
At 24, Drew had something of a mid-life crisis. Given what she’s gone through, it’s easy to see why. After achieving mega-stardom at age seven in E.T., she suffered through an unstable home life, drug and alcohol addiction, a suicide attempt and rehab before reinventing herself as a free-spirited wild child. But it’s her latest incarnation, as a sunny but savvy Hollywood professional, that has brought her the most success and happiness.
Full name: Drew Blythe Barrymore
Date of Birth: February 22, 1975
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, Calif.
Education: Dropped out of high school at age 14 but is a voracious reader.
Height: 5 feet 4 inches
In 1981, Steven Spielberg cast Drew as Gertie in E.T., which went on to become the biggest moneymaker of its day. Her sugar-free portrayal of Elliot’s curious kid sis (not to mention her ear-splitting scream) propelled her to stardom.
The post-feminist Cinderella in Ever After (1998) showcased Drew as strong, resourceful and smart – someone who could be a role model for younger girls.