BARRYMORE BREAKS DOWN

Published on: June 21, 2004

Like former First Lady Nancy Reagan, Drew Barrymore is saying a "long goodbye" to a loved one -- her father, John Drew Barrymore Jr.

The ailing 75-year-old former actor now lives in a plush California rest home -- and his heartbroken daughter leaves in tears when she visits, sources say.

"Drew's father was recently admitted to the Bella Mar Alzheimer's facility in Santa Monica.

"It's a beautiful high-end rest home," a family insider revealed. Drew's father has battled alcoholism for years.

"He's doing as well as can be expected, but he'll never improve."

SHATTERED

The 29-year-old "Charlie's Angels" beauty broke into sobs after visiting her father recently with her boyfriend, drummer Fabrizio Moretti of the band The Strokes.

"Drew looked sad as she walked out of the facility, but she totally broke down when she got in her car," said the insider.

"She kept sighing and burst into tears, putting a hand over her face as she wept.

"She's totally shattered by her father's condition."

SAD INHERITANCE

The son of legendary actor John Barrymore, Drew's dad inherited both his good looks and his love of liquor.

He became known more for his rebellious nature and repeated scrapes with the law than for his acting. Barrymore was jailed time after time for drunkenness and eventually gave up his sporadic career after drug busts in the 1960s.

He abandoned Drew and her mother Jaid before Drew was born. Despite that, the box-office beauty has come to his aid repeatedly.

After Mexican authorities discovered her father in the Baja desert a few years ago -- naked, unconscious and facedown in a ditch -- Drew bought him a home in Malibu.

"I feel a draw, a responsibility, a guilt and a passion that drive me beyond what my head sometimes tells me," the "E.T." star once explained in an interview.

The insider added: "Drew has not always been close to her father, but she's put her bad feelings aside to make sure he's not homeless and dying alone.

HIS TIME OF NEED

"She said that she wouldn't be able to live with herself if she didn't help him.

"Now John spends his days looking out the window, but he seems to light up when he sees Drew.

"She used to bring him flowers, but for some reason the smell of fresh blooms irritated him. Now the facility will allow only fresh fruit in his room.

"Drew tells friends that as difficult as this whole process has been, she's glad she's able to take care of her father in his time of need." -- PATRICIA SHIPP