Louisa Lane Drew

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Louisa Lane Drew
Louisa Lane Drew c1840-48.png
Drew as Ophelia circa 1840–48
Louisa Lane

(1820-01-10)January 10, 1820
London, England
DiedAugust 31, 1897(1897-08-31) (aged 77)
Resting place Mount Vernon Cemetery, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Occupation Stage actress
Henry B. Hunt(m. 1836)

George Mossop
(m. 1848;died 1849)

John Drew
(m. 1850;died 1862)
ChildrenLouisa Drew
John Drew Jr.
Georgiana Drew
Sidney Drew (adopted)

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. [1] Professionally she was often known as Mrs. John Drew.


Life and career

Mrs. John Drew as Mrs. Malaprop in an all-star Broadway revival of The Rivals (1895) Drew-Mrs-Malaprop.jpg
Mrs. John Drew as Mrs. Malaprop in an all-star Broadway revival of The Rivals (1895)

Drew was born Louisa Lane in London, England, the daughter of Eliza Trentner (1796–1887), an actress, and either Thomas Frederick Lane (1796–1825), [2] or his brother William Haycraft Lane, an actor and stage manager. [3]

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. [2] She appeared in several plays with both him and his son, John Wilkes Booth. [4]

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. The Arch Street was a competitor theatre of the still standing Walnut Street Theatre. 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 grandchildren were Georgie Drew Mendum [5] [6] [7] , Edward Mendum, ? Mendum, Louise Drew, and S. Rankin Drew. She is the great-great-grandmother of Drew Barrymore.

In May 1895 the aged Mrs Drew appeared in an all-star revival of Sheridan's The Rivals . [8] [9] In 1897 an ailing Louisa Drew spent her last summer at her annual Larchmont, New York retreat with her grandsons Lionel and John Barrymore.


She died in Philadelphia on August 31, 1897 at the age of 77 and was interred at Mount Vernon Cemetery. [10] The historic Arch Street Theatre was demolished in 1936. [11] [12]

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  1. Mrs. John Drew: North American Theatre Online [ dead link ]
  2. 1 2 Billboard June 6, 1942
  3. "Drew, Louisa Lane (1820–1897) | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com.
  4. "BarrymoreFamily.com". www.barrymorefamily.com.
  5. The Unrecognized Drew by Talia Myers Retrieved September 9, 2014
  6. Georgie Drew Mendum; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  7. Limited, Alamy. "Stock Photo - Stage actress Georgie Drew Mendum, ca. 1910s". Alamy.
  8. Hopper, DeWolf (1927). Once a Clown, Always a Clown: Reminiscences of DeWolf Hopper. Boston: Little Brown and Company. pp. 119–124.
  9. Brown, Thomas Allston (1903). A History of the New York Stage from the First Performance in 1732 to 1901. 3. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. pp. 69–70.
  10. "Louisa Lane Drew". www.findagrave.com. Retrieved 7 September 2019.
  11. America's Longest Run: A History of the Walnut Street Theatre by Andrew Davis c.2010 ..Retrieved July 2, 2015
  12. America's Longest Rum:... c.2010 author Andrew Davis ISBN   9780271035789 ..Retrieved July 2, 2015