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Errol Flynn Poster

Biography

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Overview (5)

Date of Birth 20 June 1909Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Date of Death 14 October 1959Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada  (heart attack)
Birth NameErrol Leslie Thomson Flynn
Nicknames The Baron
Satan's Angel
Flynny
The Tasmanian Devil
Rolly
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Errol Flynn was born to parents Theodore Flynn, a respected biologist, and Marrelle Young, an adventurous young woman. Young Flynn was a rambunctious child who could be counted on to find trouble. Errol managed to have himself thrown out of every school he was enrolled in. In his late teens he set out to find gold, but instead found a series of short lived odd jobs. Information is sketchy, but the positions of police constable, sanitation engineer, treasure hunter, sheep castrator, shipmaster for hire, fisherman, and soldier seem to be among his more reputable career choices. Staying one jump ahead of the law and jealous husbands forced Flynn to England. He took up acting, a pastime he had previously stumbled into when asked to play (ironically) Fletcher Christian in a film called In the Wake of the Bounty (1933). Flynn's natural athletic talent and good looks attracted the attention of Warner Brothers and soon he was off to America. His luck held when he replaced Robert Donat in the title role of Captain Blood (1935). He quickly rocketed to stardom as the undisputed king of swashbuckler films, a title inherited from Douglas Fairbanks, but which remains his to this day. Onscreen, he was the freedom loving rebel, a man of action who fought against injustice and won the hearts of damsels in the process. His off-screen passions; drinking, fighting, boating and sex, made his film escapades seem pale. His love life brought him considerable fame, three statutory rape trials, and a lasting memorial in the expression "In like Flynn". Serious roles eluded him, and as his lifestyle eroded his youthful good looks, his career declined. Troubles with lawsuits and the IRS plagued him at this time, eroding what little money he had saved. A few good roles did come his way late in life, however, usually aging alcoholics, almost mirror images of Flynn. He was making a name as a serious actor before his death.

Errol Flynn wrote an autobiography entitled "My Wicked, Wicked Ways". In the autobiography Flynn mentions his pilot, Barry Mahon throughout the book. Barry Mahon was a decorated fighter pilot who shot down more enemy aircraft than any other pilot in history. He was also the only man to escape from the Germans twice in World War II and the Hollywood movie, THE GREAT ESCAPE starring Steve McQueen, was based on Barry's life and this true-life adventure. It was thus only fitting that Errol Flynn, constantly fleeing from IRS agents, pissed off women and and law suits would hire Barry Mahon to be his personal pilot. But what is stranger than this is that. in later years. Barry Mahon would become Errol Flynn's personal manager and CEO of his production company, giving up flying to produce motion pictures. Accordingly, after Errol passed away, Barry Mahon and his daughter, producer Doris Keating, were able to purchase the literary rights to Errol Flynn's autobiography ("My Wicked Wicked Ways"). Based upon this and the track record established by Doris Keating with 4 prior TV movies, CBS granted a license agreement to Doris Keating Productions and, working with Columbia Pictures TV, Keating produced an extremely classy and well-cast Movie-of-the-Week which aired on CBS to rave reviews. This movie, a must-see bio-picture, does great justice to legend of Errol Flynn, and although it did not "white wash" the trouble Flynn got into in later years, it accurately reported that he was innocent of all charges brought against him. Unfortunately, these false charges contributed to the ruin of Errol Flynn's career as movie studios and the public are often fickle or unforgiving.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Christopher E. Appel and James Jaeger

Errol Flynn (1909-1959) was an Australian-born film star who gained fame in Hollywood in the 1930s as the screen's premier swashbuckler. Tall, athletic and exceptionally handsome, Flynn personified the cavalier adventurer in a string of immensely popular films for Warner Brothers, most often co-starring with Olivia deHavilland in such screen classics as "Captain Blood" and "The Adventures of Robin Hood."

Flynn was born in Hobart, Tasmania, the son of professor Theodore Thomson Flynn, a world renowned Marine biologist, and Lily Mary Young. After an unhappy childhood that included physical and mental abuse by his mother, Flynn ran away to New Guinea where for several years he lived a life of adventure as a copra plantation overseer, constable, gold miner and guide up the dangerous Sepik River. In 1933, back in Australia, he was cast in a low-budget film, "In the Wake of the Bounty," which gave him the idea of becoming an actor. He drifted to England where he landed work as a bit player with the Northampton Repertory Theater and, after appearing in one film, "Murder at Monte Carlo," was discovered by a Warner Brothers talent scout.

Coming to America in 1934, Flynn was cast in two insignificant films before Warner Brothers took a chance on an unknown and starred him in "Captain Blood." Flynn shot to international stardom overnight, and throughout the 1930s he was arguably the most recognizable movie star in the world. His striking good looks and screen charisma won him millions of fans, including legions of women who threw themselves at him.

Flynn also became as famous for his hedonistic lifestyle as for his swashbuckling movie roles. By his own estimate he slept with 10,000 women in his lifetime, and his penchant for alcohol, drugs and brawling aged him prematurely. By 1950 his best days were behind him both professionally and personally. Dropped by Warner Brothers in 1952, Flynn roamed the world in his yacht making substandard films abroad, as well as one short-lived television show, "The Errol Flynn Theater." Near the end of his life he returned to Hollywood where he was rediscovered; playing drunks and washed out bums, he brought a poignancy to his performances that had not been there during his glamorous heyday.

Flynn, who was married three times, died in Vancouver, British Columbia, on October 14, 1959, of a heart attack. The coroner who examined the 50-year-old actor said he had the body of an 85-year-old man.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Charles Culbertson

Spouse (3)

Patrice Wymore (23 October 1950 - 14 October 1959) (his death) (1 child)
Nora Eddington (12 August 1943 - 8 July 1949) (divorced) (2 children)
Lili Damita (29 June 1935 - 8 April 1942) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (2)

He is considered one of the greatest movie swashbucklers of the sound period.
Usually had a moustache

Trivia (67)

Father, with Patrice Wymore of Arnella (25 December 1953 - 21 September 1998)
Father with Nora Eddington of Deirdre Flynn (born January 10, 1945) and Rory Flynn (born March 12, 1947).
Ranked #70 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Father, with Lili Damita of photojournalist Sean Flynn (1941 - 1970).
It has been said that his 1959 autobiography, "My Wicked Wicked Ways," was originally to be called "In Like Me."
Was tried for statutory rape in 1942 but was acquitted.
When banned from drinking on a film set, he would inject oranges with vodka and eat them during his breaks.
Interred at Forest Lawn, Glendale, California, in the Garden of Everlasting Peace.
Chosen by Empire magazine as one of the 100 Sexiest Stars in film history (#86). [1995]
The hit song "Errol", by Australian band Australian Crawl, was about him.
The phrase "In like Flynn," stems from his 1942 trial for statutory rape.
His son Sean Flynn appeared in a few films but didn't particularly like being an actor. He switched careers and was a freelance photojournalist during the Vietnam War. He disappeared with another journalist as they followed the US Army invasion into Cambodia and both were thought to have been captured and executed by Khmer Rouge guerrillas. He is the subject of the 1981 The Clash song, "Sean Flynn."
He claimed to be the great-great-great-great-grandson of HMS Bounty mutineer Edward "Ned" Young. However research suggests this was not actually true. Flynn portrayed Fletcher Christian in the film In the Wake of the Bounty (1933). He was also the 23rd great-grandson of Robert De Vere. In addition, he is the 15th cousin twice removed of Olivia de Havilland, who played Maid Marian, his love interest, in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).
He was voted the 55th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
Grandfather of Luke Flynn.
His father was head of the zoology department at the University of Tasmania.
He was voted the 26th Greatest Movie Star of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
It was during a Parkinson (1971) interview that his good friend David Niven revealed that during the filming of The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), Flynn was busy on a horse during a break applying makeup with one hand whilst holding a mirror in the other. An extra seeing this assumed (like most of the people around) that he was gay, and decided to "pock" the horse up the behind with his lance - the horse bucked, throwing Flynn to the ground. He got to his feet and asked who had done that, the extra volunteered, thinking that this would only add to his embarrassment. However, Flynn dragged him from the horse and gave him a sound beating. They were the best of friends after that.
He met his second wife while she was working at a snack counter in a courthouse during one of his rape trials.
His father, Theodore Flynn, taught biology at Queens College, Belfast.
Warner Brothers' publicity department tried to claim that he was from Ireland, when he was in fact from Tasmania, the small island state of Australia.
Although only 50, he succumbed to a massive heart attack at the apartment of Dr. Grant Gould in Vancouver while he was there to sell his yacht (The Zaca) to an old friend, George Caldough. The yacht was his "pride and joy", but due to financial difficulties, he was forced to sell it and had primarily lived on it during his final years. The autopsy showed he had the body of a 75-year-old man. His liver was so badly damaged that he could only have lived for another 9-12 months.
Although Australian, his genealogy shows both British and Irish descent.
He and director Michael Curtiz made some of their best pictures together, but he despised Curtiz (which was mutual) and the two fought constantly whenever they worked together. Ironically, his first wife Lili Damita was previously briefly married to Curtiz.
Declaring to his second wife that he wanted to experience everything in life, he began dabbling in opium in the late 1940s and quickly became a full-fledged addict. His opium addiction and the effects of the alcohol that ravaged his body over the years contributed to his premature death in 1959 at only age 50.
Mentioned in the song "Blood on the Rooftops" by Genesis.
His performance as Robin Hood in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) is ranked #16 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
In 1980, author Charles Higham published a controversial biography, "Errol Flynn: The Untold Story," in which he alleged that Flynn was a fascist sympathizer who spied for the Nazis before and during World War II. In Disney's film The Rocketeer (1991), the major villain, Neville Sinclair, was a 1930s Hollywood actor who spied for the Nazis, an obvious reference to Higham's allegations about Flynn. The book also alleged he was bisexual and had affairs with Tyrone Power, Howard Hughes and Truman Capote. Subsequent biographies - notably Tony Thomas' "Errol Flynn: The Spy Who Never Was" (1990) - have denounced Higham's claims as fabrications. Flynn's political beliefs appear to have been left-wing. He was a strong supporter of the Spanish Republic and a fervent opponent of ultra-conservative Gen. Francisco Franco in the Spanish Civil War, and was a supporter of Fidel Castro's revolution in Cuba, even hosting a documentary titled The Truth About Fidel Castro Revolution (1959) shortly before his death. According to his own posthumous autobiography, "My Wicked, Wicked Ways", he admired Castro and considered him a personal friend.
He was granted a 4-F deferment during World War II due to his weak heart, exacerbated by bouts of malaria and tuberculosis. During the filming of Gentleman Jim (1942) Flynn suffered a mild heart attack.
His mother had Polynesian ancestry, from Tahiti, through her four great-grandmothers--the mutineers of HMS Bounty sailed from Tahiti to Pitcairn Island, taking some Tahitian women with them. As of 2005, there were an estimated 55 descendants of the mutineers still living on Pitcairn.
Through his mother, Flynn was descended from the illegitimate daughter of an unknown mother and Sir Richard Neville, 6th Earl of Salisbury and 16th Earl Consort of Warwick, 181th Knight of the Garter. Neville in his turn was descended, through his mother, from Thomas Holland, a stepson of Edward "the Black Prince" Plantagenet, son of King Edward III of England and father of the later King Richard II. Flynn played the Black Prince in The Dark Avenger (1955), commonly known in the USA as The Warriors.
Probably his most uncharacteristic screen appearance occurred in Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) when he sang and danced his way through a pub number entitled "That's What You Jolly Well Get".
In The Case of the Curious Bride (1935), one of his earliest films, his role consisted of lying on a marble slab as a corpse.

There was also a flashback sequence towards the end of the film showing how Flynn was killed. The film in question has appeared at least twice on Turner Classic Movies during Errol Flynn festivals despite his very limited (certainly less than two minutes) screen time.
A chain smoker, in the last year of his life, he underwent hospital tests to see whether he had throat cancer.
Nearly died from food poisoning after eating uncooked ground hamburger meat mixed with raw egg yolk early in 1959.
In the early days of establishing his Hollywood career, he passed himself off as Irish in the belief that few people knew of Australia. He was born, educated and began work in Australia, later drifting between Papua New Guinea and Sydney (rumoured to have been a fighter for PNG) before stumbling on to acting. The Australian film In the Wake of the Bounty (1933) captured some attention for him in the States and so, owing enormous debts to the Australian Taxation Office, he moved to America. He said to the ATO, "I'm willing to forget if you are".
In the last two years of his life, Flynn caused a scandal by touring the world with his 15-year-old mistress Beverly Aadland, who was working as his secretary. Their affair was the subject of a 1961 book by Beverly's mother Florence Aadland entitled The Big Love', which describes how this mom intentionally pushed her daughter into the affair with Flynn. This affair is the subject of the movie The Last of Robin Hood (2013).
Once stated that his only regret was his non-participation in World War II.
He was considered for Leslie Howard's role in Gone with the Wind (1939). He was also allegedly considered for the role of Rhett Butler, but Bette Davis (who was to play Scarlett O'Hara) vetoed the idea.
Became seriously ill with liver failure in 1952 while filming The Story of William Tell (1953) in Rome.
Had a vasectomy in 1955.
In his final years he suffered from Buerger's disease, acute inflammation and thrombosis (clotting) of arteries and veins of the legs, hands and feet as a result of his excessive cigarette smoking.
Best remembered by the public for his starring in swash-buckling adventure films.
Independent writer/director Patrick Stark is creating a dramatic feature about the last days of Flynn's life in Vancouver, British Columbia.
The underlying causes of his death were myocardial infarction, coronary thrombosis, coronary atherosclerosis, liver degeneration, liver sclerosis and diverticulitis of the colon.
Though Flynn did most of his own stunts in Against All Flags (1952), he balked at the one involving sliding down through a sail on a rapier blade, which was originated by Douglas Fairbanks in The Black Pirate (1926); it was performed by a stunt double.
A recent Australian documentary on his life and career, narrated by Christopher Lee, included a film clip of Flynn being interviewed on his being nominated for the Academy Award for his critically acclaimed performance in The Sun Also Rises (1957). We are then told that the nomination "disappeared".
Mentioned in the Jimmy Buffett song, "Pencil Thin Mustache".
In the last year of his life he turned down an offer to star in a major swashbuckling series for US television, in which Flynn would play the same kind of character he had played in Captain Blood (1935), with younger stand-ins performing his stunts. "I knew it would be crap," he explained.
In his book, "My Wicked Wicked Ways", Flynn recounted that as a young man in Papua, New Guinea, he had many adventurous jobs as a gold prospector, slave recruiter, a diamond smuggler, and a manager of coconut and tobacco plantations, just to name a few. He also spent a short time as a cadet patrol officer until it was discovered that he had misrepresented himself. Unfortunately, his time in New Guinea came with a price. While there, Flynn contracted malaria, which would plague him for the rest of his life. It has been a matter of dispute as to whether all his stories of adventure were true, but many have concluded that even if only 25% percent were true, he certainly had an amazing life.
On arriving in Britain in 1933, he found an acting job with the Northampton Repertory Company, where he worked for seven months. However, it is disputed whether he performed at the 1934 Malvern Festival and in Glasgow and London's West End.
Dream project was a biopic about the notorious Australian-Irish outlaw Ned Kelly, which nearly got produced by Warner Brothers in the mid 1940s.
According to his autobiography, Errol Flynn's mother, Marelle Young, was a descendant of Midshipman Edward ("Ned") Young, a Bounty mutineer who went to Pitcairn with Fletcher Christian. Young had four children with Toofaiti, Nancy, George, Robert and William, and three more with Christian's widow Mauatua, Edward, Polly and Dorothea. His descendants still live on Pitcairn, Norfolk and in New Zealand.
He was a friend of Hermann Erben - monkey expert, drug dealer, Hitler impersonator and German agent who spent voluntarily three years in a Japanese internment camp in Shanghai.
He is frequently mentioned in Marvel Comics' 'X-Men' series as the idol of the character Nightcrawler.
Since he was on the May 23, 1938 cover of Life magazine, a copy of which was placed in the Westinghouse Time Capsule at the 1939 World's Fair and not to be opened for 50 centuries, Errol Flynn will be remembered in thousands of years to come.
At his funeral on October 19, 1959 his bronze casket, covered with yellow roses, was carried from the Church of the Recessional at Forest Lawn, Glendale, CA by Raoul Walsh, Mickey Rooney, Quinn "Big Boy" Williams, Jack Oakie, Otto Reichow and Mike Romanoff.
Kevin Kline plays Flynn in a motion-picture version of his affair with 15-year-old Beverly Aadland in The Last of Robin Hood (2013).
Mulholland Farm, Errol's old house, was located at 3100 Torreyson Place off Mulholland Drive overlooking the San Fernando Valley. Originally situated on 11 1/2 acres, the original house was last occupied by Rick Nelson, who bought it for $750k in 1980. His twin sons, Gunnar and Matthew Nelson, grew up in the house and were the last people to live in it. Unfortunately, due to years of neglect, the house and other structures (a pool, barn and a casino!) were demolished in 1988 and sub-divided into several smaller parcels. Justin Timberlake currently owns the large compound at the top of the property at the end of Torreyson Drive. On the left is the original entrance to Errol's property, Flynn Ranch Road, but it is now gated-closed.

You can catch a glimpse of Mulholland Farm in it's heyday at the beginning of the short film "The Cruise Of The Zaca" from 1952. TCM shows it quite frequently as filler between movies.
While looking for native agricultural laborers in New Guinea in 1933, he was pursued and nearly captured by headhunters.
Portrayed by Guy Pearce in Flynn (1993) and by Jude Law in The Aviator (2004).
He had two roles in common with Douglas Fairbanks: (1) Fairbanks played Robin Hood in Robin Hood (1922) while Flynn played him in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) and (2) Fairbanks played Don Juan de Maraña in The Private Life of Don Juan (1934) while Flynn played him in Adventures of Don Juan (1948).
Shortly before his death he had a tumor removed from his mouth.
Although he played Anna Neagle's father in Let's Make Up (1954), he was almost five years her junior in real life.
Often drank two or three quarts of vodka a day.
May have had oral cancer at the time of his death.

Personal Quotes (17)

You once liked the blissful mobility, but then you wonder, who's the real you? And who's the chap on the screen? You know, I catch myself acting out my life like a goddamn script.
They've great respect for the dead in Hollywood, but none for the living.
I do what I like.
I like my whiskey old and my women young.
[last words] I've had a hell of a lot of fun and I've enjoyed every minute of it.
I can't reconcile my gross habits with my net income.
I intend to live the first half of my life. I don't care about the rest.
The public has always expected me to be a playboy, and a decent chap never lets his public down.
It isn't what they say about you, it's what they whisper.
If I have any genius it is a genius for living.
I felt like an impostor, taking all that money for reciting ten or twelve lines of nonsense a day.
Women won't let me stay single, and I won't let myself stay married.
I allow myself to be understood as a colorful fragment in a drab world.
I've made six or seven good films - the others, not so good.
My job is to defy the normal.
By instinct I'm an adventurer; by choice I'd like to be a writer; by pure, unadulterated luck, I'm an actor.
I had now made about forty-five pictures, but what had I become? I knew all too well: a phallic symbol. All over the world I was, as a name and personality, equated with sex.

Salary (9)

Murder at Monte Carlo (1935) $150 /week
The Case of the Curious Bride (1935) $150 /week
Captain Blood (1935) $500 /week
The Prince and the Pauper (1937) $2,500 /week
Edge of Darkness (1943) $7,000 /week
Uncertain Glory (1944) $200,000
Objective, Burma! (1945) $200,000
San Antonio (1945) $200,000
Istanbul (1957) $160,000

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