For my Flashback Friday, I’m choosing to do Errol Flynn (20 June 1909-14 October 1959). His birthday was this week, so it got me thinking about him. He had quite the life and I think he lived it with no regrets!!
He was born Errol Leslie Flynn in Australia in 1909. He describes his parents as “seafaring folk” and this could be where he got his love for the sea and boats. He was expelled from his grammar school for fighting and allegedly having sex with the laundress. He was also expelled from other schools in Tasmania for various reasons. At the age of 20, he moved to New Guinea, only to have a couple of failed businesses. In the early 1930’s, Errol headed for England.
Errol got his first acting job in 1933. He not only performed on stage, but in movies as well. He was discovered by Warner Bros. through one of these films and was signed to a contract. Errol then emigrated to the United States and became a naturalized citizen in 1942, just eight months after America entered WWII.
He became an instant success with Captain Blood in 1935 and was quickly typecast as a swashbuckler. In 1938, he got is most celebrated role as Robin Hood and his first Technicolor movie. Errol performed his own fast-paced sword scenes. He also starred with Olivia de Havilland in 8 films. Although there was an attraction by Flynn to de Havilland, they were said to remain platonic friends. Although he and Bette Davis had a strained relationship on-screen and they often quarreled, they were paired up 2 times for The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex and The Sisters.
Errol Flynn tried to join every branch of the military after he became a US citizen. It was his way of showing that he was grateful for his fame and wealth. However, Flynn was turned down each time due to health problems that included and enlarged heart with a murmur, recurring malaria, chronic back pain (which he self-medicated and took drugs for), tuberculosis, and several venereal diseases. He was declared 4-F and unqualified for military service for not meeting minimal physical fitness standards, despite his athletic roles and physical beauty.
By the 1950’s, Errol’s alcohol and drug abuse had started to show. He was bloated and prematurely aged. Because of this, he got less roles, yet won acclaim for his role in The Sun Also Rises. By this time, Flynn also had 2 failed marriages and was married again. He had 4 children (1 son and 3 daughters) with his 3 wives. He’d also been accused of statutory rape in 1942. He was cleared of all charges and it increased his reputation of being a ladies man. He was the focus of gossip for friendships with Carole Lombard, Dolores del Rio, and Marlene Dietrich. Marlene flaunted her relationships and del Rio supposedly fell for him instantly, but Carole had met Clark Gable and was in love with him although she enjoyed Flynn’s company and invited him to parties.
In the late 1950’s, he’d met and courted a 15-year old Beverly Aadland. According to her, he planned to marry her and move to Jamaica. It was while on a trip to Canada with her that Errol started feeling sick while at a party. He said that he was feeling ill and would return and retired to the bedroom. A half hour later, Aadland checked on him, only to find him unconscious. He died on that day in 1959 of a heart attack at age 50.
All photos and images from internet sources and believed to be public domain. Any watermarks, etc. remain in tact.
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