When the Baron met the baron

23 Sep

Sepy Dubronyi

My dear fellow Flynn fans,

I want to bring your attention to one more colorful personality our Hollywood hero was attracting so often.

Joseph Dobronyi, born in small town Bicske of Hungary on April 2oth of 1922, was carrying the hereditary title of a baron bestowed on his family for defending the homeland against the Turks way back. Nicknamed “Sepy” (which corrisponds to “Little Joe” in Austrian language) he was a fighter pilot in WWII, narrowly escaping death when shot down and suffering burns to his neck because his scarf caught fire. After a brief stint as POW of the Russian Army, he managed to turn his back on fighting walking from Budapest to Stockholm/Sweden, a mere 1000 miles, which took him 6 months and maybe just as many boots.

It was there that he picked up the craft of jewelery designer as well as speaking Swedish, which should serve him well later in life. He supposedly spoke 5 languages, most of them all at once.

A traveller by heart, one day he took a flight to Caracas which made a stop in Havana. He decided on the spot that he needn`t go any further and that he had reached his dream destination. He set up an Art Center exhibiting artworks of local artists. Music was a feature there too, with Sepy assisting on the bongos.

He is also credited for coming up with the idea of transforming a shop into a tavern, which to this day is known as “la Bodeguita”.

It was there that he met celebrities from all over the world and became an international fixture himself. Ernest Hemingway entrusted Sepy with guiding him home to his villa, when completely out of orderly conduct.

The first encounter with Errol stems from the filming of “The big Boodle” in Cuba. They must have hit it off immediately, mostly because Dobronyi`s résumé (war pilot, noble man, globetrotter, lady-art-wine lover…). Flynn even made him production manager of “Cuban Rebel Girls” his second time around.

Read more of their encounters in my “Cuba Libre”- piece here:…

When Castro took over from Batista, it was deja vu all over again for the Hungarian baron. His strong anti communist sentiment let him take the ferry to Florida and apply for the American citizenship.

It was there on a film set when he met newly arrived Swedish Export Anita Eckberg. While everyboy was vying for the attention of this blond bombshell, he simply took her in offering her to go and grab a sandwich in Swedish. They even contemplated marrying in Las Vegas. But it was not to be, since the galcier was a vulcano and Sepy no paper-, but a paprika tiger.

He rose to fame and fortune in the US fabricating golden statuettes of female stars and starletts in the nude, amongst them Anita Eckberg, Ava Gardner and…Beverly Aadland! Errol ordered one of those knee high gold and bronze (legend has it that the precious metals were melted gold coins from sunken Spanish ships off the Cuban coast) plated figurines of his young companion for his Jamaican home. He didn`t live to collect it.

Sepy settled in Coconut Grove, imported primitive wood works from Bali and befriended Hugh Hefner. His architecturally acclaimed house had the shape of his zodiac sign-  Taurus. The film “Lady in cement” with Frank Sinatra was filmed there as well as a (in)famous flic called “Deep throat”.

The Baron and the baron sure were two of a mind.




— shangheinz


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  1. Gentleman Tim

    September 23, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Fascinating, baronheinz! Thank you.

    I’m going to have to get down to Coconut Grove to photo Sepy’s house for the EFB. In the meantime, here’s a contemporaneous news account regarding the statuette of Beverly the baron did for The Baron, with a photo of Sepy.…

    • shangheinz

      September 23, 2014 at 8:58 pm

      One can always count on your comment, Gent! And digging deep in newspaper archives, you never come up with an empty hand. Thanks.

  2. shangheinz

    September 25, 2014 at 11:09 am


    When Playboy met the Playboy.