A liking, interest and sympathy colors what is an attempt to be an impartial portrait of one of the theatre's bad boys. The story is of one to whom acting was second nature, who had no permanent aims, who personifies versatility, talent, forgiveable irresponsibility, who makes the grade through sheer personal magnetism. Good copy no matter what, though his decline from first gentleman of the theatre to clown prince isn't uplifting. A chronological record of life:- youth, early performances, the building of the Barrymore legend, his four stormyvoyages into matrimony, his repartee, relations with his sister and brother, his children and friends, his finances, his comebacks -- and his equivocal future. Sell chiefly on name.