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REMEMBERING SEAN FLYNN, THE SON OF ERROL FLYNN

06 Apr

Today 43 years ago, Sean Flynn, son of Errol along with his friend and fellow combat photojournalist Dana Stone while covering the war in Vietnam rode their bikes along a road in Cambodia, were captured by factions of the NVA and Khmer Rouge and were never heard from again. While their remains have never been found there still remains hope that someday there will be a definite answer to the question, “whatever happened to Sean Flynn?”–A. R.

SEAN FLYNN IN VIETNAM

— ILIKEFLYNN

 
 

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  1. Inga

    April 7, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    43 years sounds like an eternity… an odd question came to my mind when thinking about it: was Sean happy with his life? Did he enjoy it?

     
  2. ILIKEFLYNN

    April 8, 2013 at 1:38 am

    An interesting question, Inga! By all accounts from what I have read about him, I believe he did have a happy life and was trying his best to make his own mark in the world, while trying to get from under the shadow of such a world famous father. I do believe that just like any person, there are times when you are unhappy with certain life situations; but in his case I do believe that because he had such devoted friends that he did enjoy his life.–A. R.

     
    • Inga

      April 8, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      Your words just made me think again, A.R…. I don’t know exactly how to put it, but isn’t it sad that some people, not only Sean, want to or have to get out of the shadow of their ancestors? That they could not or would not want to live an ordinary life – even in the shadow of someone? Just some odd thoughts…

       
  3. ILIKEFLYNN

    April 9, 2013 at 9:21 pm

    I believe in Sean’s case it was not as simple as that. It was because of who he was that people expected him to be a certain way. In other words, “a chip off the old block!” (Are you familiar with this phrase?) From my research I gathered that Sean had conflicting feelings about his father. First from his earliest time with Errol, Sean was the adoring son. But when Sean reaches his teen years he is meeting his father at a time in Errol’s life when his misfortunes are many. I. E.) Errol’s drug abuse; his financial problems, etc. This I believe is a turning point in their relationship. As Florence Aadland states in her book about the relationship between Errol and her daughter, titled “The Big Love”, that when Sean first meets Beverly he had believed that his dad had brought her along as a date for him. When Sean is interviewed by his friend and colleague, Zalin Grant, a short time before the events of his capture (and posted on the web under the title, “The Sean Flynn I Knew”), Sean is recorded as having told Zalin that “his most memorable son/dad experience came when Errol stole his LA girlfriend who was 14 years old.” Now if it is Beverly that he is referring to ( and exaggerating her actual age at the time), this says a lot about their relationship. Later in life as Sean grew older and after Errol has passed, Sean almost seems to reproach his father to a certain extent, I feel this is more because of what people expect of him as the son of such a world famous person known for reputedly being (and I’ll put it in a nice way), ” a shameless rascal!” This attitude may have been hard for Sean as he, at his growing age heading into manhood is looking for his own identity.
    Part of the reason I am sure that he enters into the “movie biz” is because he is expected to. Of course there are other factors to consider for his “going into pictures”, but they may out weigh the fact that he was sought after because of who he was, (or more correctly who people expected him to be), “the son of Captain Blood.”–A.R.

     
    • Inga

      April 11, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you for your profound thoughts, A.R. Have you actually read the passages in the autobiography of David Niven about Errol? Niven describes meeting Sean and that Sean absolutely refused to talk about his dad. I’ve always wondered why? At this point? He really seems to have hated him? Did he ever “make peace” with his father, do you know?

       
      • ILIKEFLYNN

        April 11, 2013 at 11:44 pm

        Hi, Inga! Yes i am aware of the “Niven incident”. Meyer mentions it in his very informative dual bio of Errol and Sean. Hate is too strong a word. As I stated Sean had some father issues, but I don’t believe for a second that he ever hated his father. But there’s that thing about living in the shadow of someone so famous and with the public image that Errol had. Reading in Meyer’s book, he posits that Sean in trying to find and make his own identity, distanced himself from his father with harsh words. Maybe that thing you asked about “making peace’ with his father may have been at the root of Sean’s feelings about losing a father he really did not know, but who was still a strong influence on him because of the times they did spend together.
        –A. R.

         
        • Inga

          April 12, 2013 at 3:01 pm

          That’s what I find so sad – that for the children of celebrities it does not seem posible to be living a “normal” life. That everyone pushes them into one direction instead of saying: your father or mother was great, but you must find your own way- which is not necessarily one in the showbiz.

           
          • ILIKEFLYNN

            April 12, 2013 at 11:18 pm

            Please don’t get me wrong. I never said Sean was pushed into anything. Sean had made a decision “to follow in his father’s footsteps” and go into “family business”, as it were, but for several reasons. The main one being financial. He saw the movies as a way to make quick money. He let them exploit him, “but for a price, Ugarte. Always a price.”! (If you don’t recognize the quote, I’ll give you hints later.) When George Hamilton invited Sean onto the set of “Where the Boys Are” which was filming on location in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, USA a favorite spot for young men and women who are on Spring vacation from college to meet, Sean loved the fun George was having as a movie star and said to himself. “An Actor’s Life for Me!” Hamilton also noted that Sean “liked the action stuff”. (According to Meyer, Sean excelled in sports as a link to his father who was better at sports in school than his studies. So while he didn’t really care about his movies (or so it is said) I am sure somewhere inside him he wanted to make good ever knowing that he would always face comparison to his father whom he knew he could never equal.
            I believe he was basically in movies for the money until he found something for which he could stand out for and be noted for himself and not just as the son of someone famous.–A. R.

             
            • Inga

              April 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm

              Still, I would say that he was pushed into movies, although indirectly for financial reasons… :-)

               
              • ILIKEFLYNN

                April 13, 2013 at 9:25 pm

                I will concede your point. It is definitely a valid one. And I agree with you to a certain extent.
                BTW any one out there know whatever happened to “The Road to Freedom”? I read a bad review of it in the New York Times and searched for a theatre playing it here in my native New York City, but could find no listing for it anywhere; even though it had been reviewed in the New York Times!
                –A. R.

                 
  4. timerider

    April 19, 2013 at 4:34 am

    There is so much I would like to share about Sean, but it would need a manuscript! When we were kids I think my friends and I would have liked Sean to continue the Flynn dynasty in film. He was our age, part of our now generation!
    I really think Sean did Son of Capt Blood for his dad not for Sean. The adventuresome spirit rubbed of on Sean and going to Nam was not for Errol but for the love of adventure and the opportunity to photograph reality in black n white! I was my dads oldest son and he was a war hero in the Pacific theater. Later dad was an accomplished bush pilot, adventurer and rebuilt mustangs and Messerschmidt aircraft for sale to wealthy people.Hard for me to live up to but we idolize our fathers no matter what.
    I have followed the Flynn family for the parallel we share in some ways. In his 40′s Errol Leslie and Leslie Burton (my dad) looked like brothers. They were very much alike. Getting off that, we will all miss Sean and the life I think he would have shared with the world in all his adventures. Just some of my gut feelings……

     
    • David DeWitt

      April 19, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      It’s tough to follow in your father’s footsteps no matter who he was; we are all born with certain family traits but we are individuals not copies of our parents – in the case of children of famous people if there are any similarities apparent much may be falsely expected by others, even by the child who may wonder, What is wrong with me? Why am I not more like my dad (or mother)? I think, in Sean’s case, he may have decided that since he father made his mark in the fantasy world, he would make his in the world of reality; but with high artistic and journalistic standards that his father would have approved of and admired. Just a thought … thanks for sharing your feelings and remembrances about your father …

       
      • daringthorpe

        April 22, 2013 at 5:50 pm

        I think Sean Flynn Had very big boots to fill, Which is a mountain to climb for any son. Sean shared his father’s love of adventure. I think the acting was a means to an end ’til he found what he wanted to do with his life. We may never know his true feelings towards his father
        but I’m sure there was love as well as regrets on both sides.