Training Drew Barrymore at Columbus
Back when I was working at Columbus Restaurant in New York City, Drew Barrymore used to come in with her parents when she was about 7 years old. This was about the time of her break-out acting part as Gertie, the younger brother of Elliot in “E.T.” in 1982.
Her parents John Drew Barrymore and Ildiko’ Jaid Barrymore were friends with the owners of Columbus.
The owners pretty much fawned over the Barrymores, since they were such a well known acting family. (John’s father, John Sidney Blyth Barrymore, has been called the greatest actor of his generation.)
I was waiting on their table and Drew was fascinated with what I was doing. She thought it was magical that I was bringing food and she could eat it.
She asked, “Please, could I be a waitress with you someday?”
At the time I was dreading her following me around because I had a lot of tables to wait on and she would slow me down. She was adorable and chatty, but that didn’t go with my busy job.
I told her she could stay with me for about ten minutes and then I had to go back to the kitchen where she was not allowed. The chef would have gone nuts.
We went from table to table. The front area was all celebrities and they were all ooing and ahing over Drew, being the youngest of the Barrymore acting dynasty.
She was too small to handle the dishes, and she couldn’t reach the tables, so I couldn’t actually have her “help” me serve, so I sent her back to her parents table where they could deal with her.
While they were eating, other patrons didn’t bother them, but when they were done, other celebrities would stop by to talk.
Drew was precocious, dressed adorably and seemed to handle herself well around all the fray. She wasn’t a screamer and really loved the attention. At least I didn’t see any acting out while I was “training her” to be a waitress.
A couple of years later, her parents divorced and I know she was in rehab at an early age. Once out of rehab, I believe she has stayed out and established her own production company with the “Charlie’s Angels” movies as a couple of her successes.
Truth to be told, it would be very unlikely that Drew would ever have to be a waitress in real life. Her course was set for her from an early age.
Kathryn Spira, a native of Cleveland who pursued an acting career in NYC and Los Angeles, now pursues free lance writing from Caroga Lake in Fulton County. Previous columns may be accessed at her web site www.kathrynskorner.com