Finis for the Fabulous Flynn!

25 Feb

from LIFE Magazine – October 26, 1959

There was just one word for Errol Flynn—outrageous. In his real life as on film he was constantly sprinting out from behind the arras pursued by an angry husband or a flummoxed female. He was married three times, fathered four children and won a law suit charging him with fathering another. He loved the company of young girls and he was accused three times, but never convicted, of statutory rape. In 25 years of movie-making he earned and grandly spent more than $7 million. He drank two quarts of vodka daily, three when he got up early enough, and he was a scamp, bounder and barroom brawler in the great and mannered tradition of Cellini, Casanova and Don Juan. The truth was not in him when a lie made a better story. Large numbers of people loved him dearly.

Last week, at 50, Errol Flynn lounged about a Vancouver doctor's apartment while the classic pains of a coronary spread through his body and down his arms and legs (he knew them, for he had suffered them twice before) and talked of other things, of long-gone friends, of John Barrymore, W. C. Fields. He said, “Hell, dying is not so much,” and asked for a room to lie down in. Soon he died.

THE WILD OLD DAYS in Hollywood were the subject of Flynn's favorite stories about prodigious drunks and questionable escapades. Here he tells how John Barrymore's body was spirited from the funeral parlor a few hours after his death by some of Flynn's drunken friends, including a famous movie director. Flynn pantomimed the body (far left), the drunken friends and their difficulties as they carried it to Flynn's house and put it in a chair. Flynn arrived, saw the body and fled screaming (far right). Flynn wound up the story by adding that he did not think it was the correct way to say goodby to John.


— David DeWitt


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  1. Anonymous

    October 2, 2009 at 8:14 am

    What a nasty thing to say about Errol Flynn.
    It was the corruption of Hollywood what destroyed him, by Warner Brothers not paying their dues to the District Attorney's office, which is a well-known fact today. Errol Flynn being the World Star of Warner Brothers where made the example off what they could do to Warner Brothers, and they did! Errol Flynn was the scapegoat and he took the brunt of false drummed up charges, which were from beginning to end lies of two “Ladies” of ill repute to put it mildly. Errol Flynn never ever recuperated of this farce and started his suicide mission from this point on. He stopped living there and then thanks to good old Hollywood – “You raise them up and then you drop them like a stone”! He actually Died after that unjust trial in 1942/43. For this kind of cruelty, Errol Flynn was a much too sensitive, kind, and gentle man. His fans stood loyal beside him, but what the media made out of it killed Errol Flynn. “In like Flynn” was a dagger to his heart!
    Many people do not know what it means to be an abused child, but Errol knew, as he was one and suffered his entire life of it. He always was fragile and sensitive, most likely without knowing it due to the abuse, but he was. He came from a total dysfunctional family, often beaten viciously by his mother, being told by his mother he should have never been born or shoved of to private schools, anything but a loving home life. Errol being a World Star and his mother comes for a visit and tells reporters “He was a nasty little boy” would that not through you for a loop! What a nasty woman and that should be a mother! It is a well-established fact that his mother was of the cavorting kind and his father was not a man to put hid foot down. He most likely inherited the gens of his mother, which made him the virile man he was. So what!
    He loved to cavort with woman, but he did not really love them for a while maybe, but that was all. His mother sure left her mark on him in this regard and many others!
    Woman loved him and threw themselves at his feet. A man like that has no necessity to put force on a woman to sleep with him. Please give intelligence a break. He said he liked the woman young and his whisky old. Of course he like his woman young, because he had no venue to live a normal youth. He continuously tried to find his youth until the day he died. (Beverly) It is always so easy to point the finger and judge without looking at the cause! How is the saying:”May the one through the first stone who is here without sin”!
    Coming back to his early days in Hollywood I just have this to say! Just think – practically, coming from the jungle in New Guinea to Hollywood – wow! A Greenhorn, to say the least! Then Hollywood vultures started their prey on him like Lily Damita. What his mother started on verbal and corporal abuse Lily Damita finished it. I hope you forgive the language, but I cannot find any other words but “May these two bitches rot in hell”! If it were not for these two women, Errol Flynn would have been a totally different man. Justice what is that? Through the stones where they belong, but definitely not at Errol Flynn.