Take a look back at her most beloved roles in our Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight!
Actress, director and producer Drew Barrymore turns 41 on February 22. Barrymore, the daughter of Hollywood royalty, has been in the spotlight from the time she was a small child, hitting it big as the adorable five-year-old Gertie in Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Fans fell in love with the little girl who screamed along with the little alien. After appearing in a number of films as a child actor, Barrymore spent time in rehab for a drug and alcohol problem, talking about it publicly in her book Little Girl Lost, and going on to restart her career.
Barrymore made a celebrity cameo in Scream where she was killed off early on, shocking fans, and a string of romantic comedies, many with Adam Sandler. She played a post-feminist version of Cinderella in Ever After and rose back to the top of her stardom with 2000’s Charlie’s Angels and its subsequent sequel. She formed Flower Films with partner Nancy Juvonen and made her directorial debut with the roller derby movie Whip It. She was nominated for an Emmy Award and won a Golden Globe for her work in the TV miniseries Grey Gardens.
Barrymore, through her Flower Films, is currently the producer of How to be Single and has a number of producing and directing projects in the works. She’ll next appear as an actor in Catherine Hardwicke’s comedy drama Miss You Already, set to hit theaters November 6. Happy Birthday Drew!
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Barrymore played Gertie, the younger sister of Elliot (Henry Thomas), the little boy who finds and saves E.T. Gertie provided comic relief as a five-year-old who is terrified of the creature her brother is hiding, but eventually falls in love with him. The iconic shots of Gertie screaming alongside E.T. and handing him a chrysanthemum before he returns to outer space are part of movie history and her work even got her a meeting with President Ronald Regan.
Barrymore was the first child cast by director Steven Spielberg, who loved a story she told him about being the drummer for a fictional punk band called the Purple People Eaters.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Poison Ivy (1992)
After a string of childhood roles in films like Firestarter and Irreconcilable Differences, Barrymore changed her image by appearing in the 1992 thriller Poison Ivy as the titular character. Playing a murderous psychopath who befriends a fellow teenager (Sara Gilbert), seduces her father (Tom Skerritt) and kills her ailing mother (Cheryl Ladd) definitely changed the perception of Barrymore and lead to more adult roles.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Boys on the Side (1995)
Barrymore changed her image yet again with the 1995 film Boys on the Side where she starred as a sweet young woman named Holly with an abusive boyfriend. Holly hits the road with an HIV-positive girl named Robin (Mary-Louise Parker) and a lesbian lounge singer named Jane (Whoopi Goldberg), forming a tight bond. After a bit of revenge gone wrong, her boyfriend dies and a pregnant Holly meets a police officer (Matthew McConaughey), falls in love and has to face her actions.
Drew Barrymore Movies and TV Spotlight: Scream (1996)
Barrymore’s role in the horror movie Scream was a shock to many people. The marketing focused on her, including posters, commercials and trailers. When Barrymore’s character was killed off in the beginning of the film, it marked a change in the genre. No character was safe, despite the high profile star playing the role. It also marked the beginning of big name actors taking on roles in horror films, which were generally stocked with unknown actors.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: The Wedding Singer (1998)
Barrymore starred in a series of romantic comedies with comedian Adam Sandler, beginning with The Wedding Singer. In the film, she plays Julia, a young waitress engaged to a total cad (Matthew Glave). When she meets Robbie (Sandler), they fall in love in the cutest way possible.
Notable in this film is the cameo by singer Billy Idol, who convinces Robbie to tell Julia how he feels about her before her wedding.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)
In Ever After, Barrymore plays Danielle de Barbarac, the daughter of a deceased minor nobleman. Her stepmother (Angelica Huston) treats her terribly and so do her two step-sisters (Megan Dodds and Melanie Lynskey). In a faux-historical version of the Cinderella story set in the court of King Francis of France (Timothy West), Danielle falls in love with Prince Henri (Dougray Scott) and pretends to be someone else. It’s a love story, of course, but with a twist. After being kidnapped, the “princess” saves herself before Henri gets there.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Never Been Kissed (1999)
In this romantic comedy, Barrymore plays a reporter not that long out of college. She’s socially awkward and was a geek in high school. She’s sent undercover at a local school for a story and develops a crush on her English teacher (David Arquette). While trying to overcome her shyness and fit in with the kids in school, she tries to navigate a love interest that could compromise her story, and to explain the lie when he does find out. It leads to a lovely declaration scene on a pitcher’s mound about wishing for her very first kiss.
Notably, this is the first film to be produced by Barrymore’s production company Flower Films, which she started with her partner Nancy Juvonen.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Charlie’s Angels (2000)
Barrymore’s Flower Films stepped in for her next project; Charlie’s Angels, the film version of the ‘70s TV series. The film co-starred Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, and was followed by a sequel in 2003, Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle. The films did relatively well a the box office and paved the way for female-fronted action films.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Donnie Darko (2001)
The sci-fi horror drama Donnie Darko, which has since become a cult classic, almost went straight to video. The film was rescued by Barrymore’s Flower Films and released theatrically. However, the full international release was delayed a full year because of the September 11th attacks. Barrymore played a small but important role as Donnie’s (Jake Gyllenhaal) teacher Karen Pomeroy.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Whip It (2009)
Drew Barrymore made her directorial debut with the roller derby film Whip It, as well as playing the small role of Smashley Simpson and producing. The film is the story of a young woman named Bliss (Ellen Page) who finds herself by joining a roller derby team called the Hurl Scots and deals with mother/daughter relationships and breaking out of one’s shell.
Barrymore did months of script revisions with screenwriter Shauna Cross.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Grey Gardens (2009)
In 2009, Barrymore appeared in an award-winning miniseries called Grey Gardens about the life of Edith Bouvier Beale/”Little Edie”and her mother Edith Ewing Bouvier/”Big Edie,” played by Jessica Lange. Little Edie was the cousin of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and the two Edies were the subject of a 1975 documentary of the same name. Though Edie started out trying to be an actress, she eventually realized that she was going to spend her life stuck in the house with her mother. The two of them became recluses in a decrepit house, famous around the neighborhood for their eccentricities.
Barrymore won a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Made for Television Movie for her role.
Drew Barrymore Movies Spotlight: Going the Distance (2010)
In 2010, Barrymore starred with Justin Long in Going the Distance, an R-rated romantic comedy that was largely improvised. The film deals with whether or not a romance can survive a long-distance relationship. The film did well with critics who praised her comedic skills. The story was based on producer Dave Neustadter’s real-life long-distance relationship.