John was raised by his mother Dolores Costello. His mother tried to keep him out of the acting career, but rebelled and signed a movie contract at age 17. He did not want to take any small roles, and jumped directly into leading roles on stage. He atleast twice bailed out of these leading roles, also. The Barrymore family was not in any ways proud of his attitude. This lead him to drunkenness and spousal abuse to his first wife, Cara Williams. In 1958 he tried again to be a film star, but he was still too involved in drinking and drug use. He became estranged from his family. It was not until his mothers death, in which she reinstated him into the family, that he was better off. His career would never do well though, as he ruined it with drug busts.