The Enduring Mystery of Sean Flynn

01 Dec

A link to a fascinating article on photojournalist and actor Sean Flynn, well worth the read.

Nowhere Men


— zacal


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  1. Daryl Haney

    December 5, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Hey, David, as you can see I have successfully logged in, and I just wanted to thank you publicly for posting a link to the piece that I wrote about Sean.

    Also, I want to publicly thank Philip Gostelow for alerting me to the Errol Flynn Blog. I feel in very good company here, indeed.

    • zacal

      December 5, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      Thank you for the wonderful piece you wrote on Sean Flynn, Mr. Haney. It’s incredibly insightful. Terrific work.

      • Daryl Haney

        January 11, 2014 at 8:20 am

        Hi, Zacal.

        I didn’t think anyone else here would comment on the piece, so I didn’t check until a moment ago, and was surprised to see your remarks and those below. At any rate, thanks for what you say. It makes me very glad to have written the piece. And happy new year to you.


    • Tim

      December 5, 2013 at 11:37 pm

      Fascinating article on Sean, Duke. I particularly find interesting your title ‘Nowhere Men’, as I’ve long thought the lives of Lennon & Flynn manifest many unique qualities and complexities that influenced their immortal work.

      Understanding that this was an account focused on Sean’s life, I’m sure you wished you had more space to elaborate on Errol’s greatness. That, of course, would require quite a bit more ink than you were able to present in this on-line article. Hopefully, you can use your superb talents in the near future to provide more in this regard. That would help better explain the relationship between Errol and Sean, which was so wrongly and severely sabotaged by Miss Dynamita.

      And your meeting with the mysterious fellow in the courthouse basement! That’s terrific stuff! If there are such things, he was definitely a messenger from somewhere! … Maybe some of the gods are fans of Errol. Hard to imagine they wouldn’t be! – Indeed, I believe he would have been the greatest of all actors to “play” Odysseus.

      Back to Sean’s life and disappearance, this would be one sensational screenplay and major motion picture. It’s got everything – everything – from the immortal Flynn himself, to Tiger Lil, to the heartbreaking trauma and tragedies of Sean’s own amazing life. Hope someone writes and produces it soon!

      Because you so rightfully express such respect for war correspondents, I think you may enjoy seeing this image and story of the first war correspondent to earn the Purple Heart. He bears an astonishing likeness to Errol.

      First Purple Heart for Working Reporter


      Great to have you here on the EFB, Duke!

      • Daryl Haney

        January 11, 2014 at 9:25 am

        I appreciate the warm welcome, Tim, as well as the photo. Yes, Leo Disher does look like Errol, as one of his relatives remarks following the article in the link you provided.

        About the title of my piece: I had planned to call it “Nowhere Men,” and right before I posted it online, I decided to change the title to “Shades of Sean,” a phrase that occurs in the piece, thinking it was more original and more evocative. But it bothered me, and about six weeks ago, I decided to change it back to “Nowhere Men,” which seemed to lead to the piece being rediscovered, so to speak. It was linked here, for instance, which is the happiest outcome to date.

        I did want to include more about Errol. It was struggle, in fact, not to include more about him, and I was afraid I had already included too much, considering that, as you say, my subject was Sean, not Errol. At the same time, it’s hard to evaluate Sean’s life without considering Errol’s influence on it. Errol may have been physically absent from most of Sean’s brief life, but he was always there spiritually. But of course you know that.

        I’ve been asked quite a few times why I decided against writing a screenplay about Sean. I agree that Sean’s life seems ideally suited to a film adaptation, but in an era of superhero movies aimed at children, including adult children, I couldn’t imagine a screenplay about the Vietnam War being financed. But I say that as a bruised and bloodied veteran of the movie business, and I hope that someone else will eventually make an attempt.

        Oh, and the mysterious fellow in the courthouse basement — strange, yes? I’m always going to wonder about that guy, and feel a sense of gratitude toward him, since it did lead me to finally write about Sean. In retrospect, it feels a bit like kismet, but that’s often the way with hindsight.

        Till we “meet” again —


        • Tim

          January 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm

          It’s a Great article, Duke! Thanks for writing it, and for sharing it with all us here!!

          BTW, was that Lawrence Tierney that brought you to the courthouse?

          • Daryl Haney

            January 11, 2014 at 8:15 pm

            In fact, it was Errol’s friend Steve Cochran, who has sometimes been accused of idolizing Flynn to the point of mimicking his offscreen image, with babes, booze, and boats. That accusation is even made by an anonymous source in Steve’s FBI file, which I was pleased to receive. However, I don’t know when I’ll have time to write about Steve, though I learned a great deal about him — and some of it wasn’t pretty, to the point where I wondered if I should write about him at all.

            I would love to speak with Patrice Wymore about Steve. Do you know if she’s ever cooperative with interview requests? I never have any luck with such requests, lacking the sort of flashy credentials that open doors.

  2. timerider

    December 5, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    Daryl, I posted a comment on your articles site. Welcome aboard!
    I may have made a mistake but is it Duke?
    Anyway, I enjoyed the article and encourage you in writing more on the subject of Flynn!

    • Daryl Haney

      January 11, 2014 at 8:26 am

      Hey, Timerider:

      Yes, I remember your comment, but though it should have led me to check here earlier, it didn’t. Sorry that it’s taken me a while.

      You didn’t make a mistake about the name. Duke is a nickname, given to me after an accident that, friends alleged, had caused me to walk like John Wayne. I’ve gotten so used to the nickname that I often introduce myself to people by it right away. (The full nickname is Iron Duke — “iron” refers to the titanium that holds my right leg together.)

      Thanks for the encouragement, which is usually in short supply, not just for me but for most writers.



    December 6, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    As the author of the article, “The Forgotten Films of Sean Flynn, son of Errol Flynn” which was published in FilmFax magazine in 2011, (FilmFax issue 128, Fall, 2011 edition, written before there was a SeanFlynnCambodia channel on YouTube), I am always interested in anything about Sean L. Flynn and have read almost all the same material you have read about Sean, except that I did read “Two of the Missing” and even the biography in French. (Which I learned about after my article had gone to press, but I must admit to reading only a few passages using Google translator as I don’t speak or read French.) I thought for the most part your article was interesting as you covered much of the same ground about Flynn that has been touched upon in other material, but you brought it together in one article. I also read some of the comments posted in response to your article.

    As, Thomas McNulty states in his excellent book about Errol Flynn, “Errol Flynn, The Life and Career”,
    “Sean Flynn’s tragic death is perhaps the most heartbreaking chapter in the Flynn saga, for his brief life was filled with the magic and hope of youth showing great creative potential, but it was a potential unfulfilled.”–A. R.

    • Daryl Haney

      January 11, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Yes, A. R., it’s not an original piece; I draw on sources well known to film scholars. I had wanted to include more interpretation, more commentary on facts as opposed to, simply, a presentation of facts, but I kept paring the piece down, since it was already running long, and hoped that the voice of the piece would amount to its own form of commentary, if that makes any sense. Compression was maybe the biggest problem. It’s so bloody difficult to reduce a life, especially one as interesting as the life of Sean Flynn, to a few thousand words.

      Anyway, the piece was intended as an introduction to Sean for the general reader, and I hope it succeeded somewhat in that way.

      Bravo to you for attempting the French biography. I wish someone would translate the book into English, but probably no one will. Personally, I see a growing disinterest in biographies . The prevailing idea is that a few words about historical figures on Wikipedia will do just fine, thank you very much. That’s all you need to know. Next!

      I’ll have to look for your FilmFax article. I’m sorry I missed it before beginning my own.

  4. Gentleman Tim

    March 26, 2016 at 11:37 pm

    “Unsung Heroes: Camera Martyrs of Viet Nam” featured on the Military History Channel this weekend. Superb script and documentary, with very good footage and coverage of Sean.…


    • David DeWitt

      March 27, 2016 at 2:25 am

      What a tragic loss …

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