The granddaughter of John Barrymore and grandniece of Ethel Barrymore and Lionel Barrymore, Barrymore was born in Culver City, California on February 22, 1975. From there, she didn't waste much time getting in front of the cameras, making her first commercial at nine months and her first television movie, Suddenly Love, at the age of two. Two years later, she made her film debut, appearing as William Hurt's daughter in Altered States (1980). At the advanced age of seven, Barrymore became a true celebrity, thanks to her role as the cherubic Gertie in Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. The huge success of that 1982 film endeared Barrymore to millions of audience members, but following leads in two more films, Irreconcilable Differences and Firestarter (both 1984), the young actress began to succumb to a destructive lifestyle defined by drugs, alcohol, and too much partying. A child expected to behave like an adult, Barrymore began drinking at the age of nine and started taking drugs a short while later.