Letter from Sean

18 May

A letter from Sean Flynn to his father recently sold in auction. Apparently, Errol had suggested to Sean that he should become an actor and the 16 year old Sean angrily rejected the idea. An angry 16 year old is not surprising. But I don’t think a father encouraging his handsome son that he could be successful in films is a bad thing. The article strongly suggests that Errol was attempting to use Sean for his own gain. I’m not so sure. Errol & Sean at Heathrow Airport--Summer, 1956.…

— zacal


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  1. Gentleman Tim

    May 18, 2015 at 6:36 am

    I agree with you, zacal. From what I’ve seen, there’s absolutely no evidence that Errol was acting as anything other than a good father offering Sean a wonderful opportunity very fathers could offer. Ascribing ignoble motives to Errol is reckless speculation and sensationalism.

    You’re right, too, of course, that a 16-year-old boy reacting with an angry (or perhaps pseudo-angry) remark is not at all a surprise. That’s rather common father-son dynamics.

    Moreover, Sean may have been both deliberately working and revolting Lili some, too – both with his protest against Errol, and his comment about preferring to be a cenent laborer. …. I’ve seen evidence in Palm Beach recirds that Lili herself may well have been prepping Sean for Hollywood stardom, too. So, Sean may have really been telling her, too. to go to hell.

    Btw, who do you believe Sean is referring to when he says he wanted to be “with family”? Who/what does he mean by that? – Lili alone? Lili and her French family? Errol and his parents perhaps? Rory, Dierdre & Arnella? All of them? It’s pivotal in what he’s saying, but not clear to me who he means.


    • zacal

      May 18, 2015 at 8:24 pm

      Great points. I’m guessing that the remark about wanting to be “with family” is a strike at his father. The subtext being “Unlike you, Dad, I want to be with family.” He wanted to be with his father and also wanted his father to want to be with him, his true family.

  2. rswilltell

    May 18, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    I agree with Zacal and Tim. That was a cheap shot against Errol Flynn who for all of his many faults honestly tried to be a good father. No one could ask for more. By the way the book by Bonny Cother on her father as Captain of the Zaca is fascinating and a page-turner. Ralph Schiller


    May 19, 2015 at 2:47 am

    It is unfortunate that we have to learn about this second-hand and are not able to see the letters themselves. All of Sean’s biographers say that Sean had mixed feelings about his father. I knew that he reproached his father in his adult years, but if the interpretation is to be believed, his anger at his father seems to have manifested itself much earlier. Complex relationship to be sure, but in the end Sean remembered the life lessons his father taught him as evidenced in the pages of “Two of the Missing”!–A. R.

    P. S. It’s interesting to see the picture you added at the top of this post because it was taken in the summer of 1956 at Heathrow Airport, when Sean went to visit Errol in England, where Errol was filming, the “Errol Flynn Theater”; an episode of which Sean would join his father, and his stepmother in.–A. R.

  4. Gentleman Tim

    May 19, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    More of the same, now amplified to be a “cruel rift”. Where is the evidence for these headlines and conclusions? They’re quoting from the letter, but adding no evidence supporting these outrageously sensationalistic headlines.

    Sean looks very, very happy and proud in photos with his Dad. Like many children of divorce, there’s no doubt he wanted to be with him more, and maybe even would have liked Mom & Dad to get together more, BUT I don’t see any evidence Errol was trying to profit off Sean. None. We know damn well they would quote that evidence if it was in these letters.…

    Was Errol planning to profit from Sean during this timeframe, also? Maybe a Captain Blood and Son of Blood Show at The Flamingoin in Vegas together? What crap.


    • zacal

      May 20, 2015 at 5:21 am

      The idea of Errol making money from Sean makes no sense. Errol was a famous actor, Sean wasn’t. Sean wasn’t going to make a lot of money unless he became a success. The only thing that’s clear is that Errol wanted to help his son get ahead. Nothing wrong with that. Sean might have been more angry if Errol had discouraged him from acting. But the idea that Sean was going to “bankroll Errol’s retirement”??? True or not, the story is spreading. But on a positive note, it’s nice that people are recognizing the potential of Sean Flynn.

      • Gentleman Tim

        May 20, 2015 at 12:14 pm

        Excellent analysis, zacal, and thank you for pointing out the silver lining, too.

        They’ve really clouded up the facts. Here’s an account from ’61:…