The Charm of Errol Flynn

29 Jan

I was curious about the relationship between Errol and Patricia Lake (The “daughter of William Randolph Hearst”)

This led me to a little story about Errol and his knowledge of parrots…

Who Knew?


— Maria


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    January 29, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Thank you, Maria. Really great stuff.

    I wonder if Errol really took the plunge with Mrs. Lake. The timing is right for when he (& Niven) stayed down by Marion Davies’ beach house. If so, and if she really was W.R.’s daughter, that might have led to a few less (or maybe more!) invitations up to San Simeon. … I had always wondered if Marion Davies herself ever got together with Errol. Never thought about her niece/daughter!


    Great story, too, about Patte Barham’s parrott! She was/is really something. Errol really knew his birds!…

    (FYI and other readers – Wasn’t able to read the first link without adding an ‘L” at front of it, that is “lets….”

  2. Maria

    January 29, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    Sorry About that Tim! I think the site should read as “Letsmisbehave etc”

    Patricia played tennis there with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. and Buddy Rogers. Errol Flynn spotted her, all of 17, at a beach party and was smitten. So was she. (“God, I wish Errol Flynn was still alive,” a thin and ailing Patricia said, sitting on a bar stool at a party just months before she died. “He was a barrel of laughs, and pretty good in the hay, too.”)

    The affair with Flynn lasted years, even after she married Arthur Lake, the movie actor who played Dagwood Bumstead and the man handpicked by Hearst to be her husband. One day, Hearst summoned her to his San Simeon tower. “You have got to stop this,” she remembered him saying. “You are a married woman.”
    Hmmmm..I wonder if this is why Hearst disliked Errol so much!

    I also wondered if this was the “society” woman that Errol refers to in MWWW (Boat cruise?) not Olivia?

    Maybe others know the story?

    • Gentleman Tim

      January 29, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      Great info, Maria. Thank you. And so good Errol was remembered so fondly for being so much fun.

      p.s. which boat cruise are you referring to in MWWW?

    • Tina

      February 1, 2015 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Maria;
      What a great story you sure find very interesting and NEW information like this one with Patricia Lake. It maybe could have been her in the 5 day cruise and only named her Amalia?
      It’s always great to know the EF Bible MWWW inside and out.
      Your research is fantastic!

  3. daringthorpe

    January 29, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    What a lovely story. This to me is the essence of the persona of Flynn he just seems to breeze in and out of people’s orbit brings a little magic and leaves an indelible mark on them.As good as he was I personally think Flynn didn’t take himself too seriously so neither did his peers or Hollywood. Everything came so easy to him he made it look effortless so again probably seen as not working at his craft. But finally the façade he put up let people think he didn’t care when he cared deeply about a lot of things which to me makes him even more likeable

    • tassie devil

      January 29, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      I love the bird story. I believe Errol loved all animals as he had been hurt by many people and so he got his pleasure out of animals and the sea. and today Rory is keeping up with the love of animals. Her father taught her a lot about nature and the animals in it.

  4. Gentleman Tim

    January 29, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    Btw, Maria, does this mean Errol Flynn dated Patricia Hearst?



    • Maria

      January 29, 2015 at 11:33 pm

      Interesting similarities there! In the chapter entitled “An Actor’s Life for me!” Errol recounts his sister Rosemary’s visit and while out he meets “Amelia” and hires a steamboat. He expresses great affection for her and admits that he actually was in love with her. He describes her as a prominent socialite. They cruised for 5 days. Well- one never knows when Errol recounts a story- but I always found this passage a rather serious one. In the end he did not like her “high-society” manners -typical self sabotage!Oh well.

      • Gentleman Tim

        January 30, 2015 at 9:47 am

        A mysterious little lady”, indeed, Maria. … A private three-day trip on the River Queen up the Mississippi – apparently with a married high society out of the East. Could Errol possibly be speaking of Gloria Vanderbilt (whose abusive, frequently-drunk, mob-connected husband was the type to show up with a gun at Flynn’s place), or maybe Doris Duke, though I can’t envision Errol falling in love with her. If true about her being an Eastern socialite, I suspect it may well have been Gloria Vanderbilt.

        Fascinating mystery, Maria. Thanks so much. Based on research inspired by your great post, I’ve added Gloria Vanderbilt to the Errol’s Most Beautiful Girlfriends thread, with the question if she is Errol’s Amelia.

        Here’s Gloria in her unhappy marriage to Pat DeCicco.



        • Maria

          January 30, 2015 at 1:30 pm

          I think Errol was in Gloria’s wedding party – there is a wedding group photo out there but I could not copy it.

  5. rswilltell

    January 30, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    Patricia Lake was officially the sister of Marion Davies but rumors floated for decades that she was the illegitimate daughter of William Randolph Hearst and Miss Davies. Patricia Lake was a very beautiful, athletic-looking blonde who was happily married to movie comedian Arthur Lake for many decades with their own children. There are many rumors surrounding Hearst, Davies, Thomas Ince and Dagwood but this is the first I ever heard about an affair between Errol Flynn and Patty Lake. Arthur Lake was very briefly under suspicion for the Black Dahlia murder since he was seen with the victim Elizabeth Short. He was ruled out as just being guilty of no more than being a philandering husband. When Hearst wanted to begin a movie series and radio show based on the Blondie comic strip, it was Marion who reccomended Arthur Lake as Dagwood Bumstead! The series was a great success with 28 movies and even went to television. People who knew Lake personally said he really wasn’t acting because he was exactly like Dagwood! Arthur Lake, wife Patricia, and Marion Davies all rest together eternallyin the family tomb at Hollywood Memorial cemetary. Ralph Schiller

    • shangheinz

      January 31, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks for the insightful information, dear Rswilltellitlikeitis. With the Black Daliah looming again in the shadows, I wonder where Citizen Hearst found his final resting place.

      • Gentleman Tim

        January 31, 2015 at 8:27 pm

        Citizen Hearst Rests with the Rest of Them in Colma California


        Dagwood was a Bumstud compared to Errol. No way he was gonna stop Mrs. Bumstud from longing for The Baron.


    • David DeWitt

      July 27, 2020 at 6:30 pm

      A not has been submitted:
      Patricia was officially Marion’s niece; not her sister.

      Thank you …

  6. rswilltell

    February 3, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Thanks for the kind words Heinz and that was a great photo from the Blondie films! Ironically in that movie ‘Blondie On A Budget’ rising star Rita Hayworth’s character of an old high school sweetheart pursues Arthur Lake’s Dagwood. Blondie declares war. Heinz you are right, the Black Dahlia case continues to haunt Hollywood to this day. By the way Arthur Lake and Patricia Lake shot a color TV pilot for a new series ‘Meet The Family’ (1954) with their own children. It was never telecast but copies are available. It was Blondie all over again with Lake playing Dagwood in all but name. Ralph Schiller