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Errol Flynn- a Hollywood star of a Bygone Age

MG is an air warrior and a global traveler who loves to visit and explore new places.

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My take

I will start this article by stating that right from the time when I was a boy I have been a fan of Hollywood. When I grew up, the golden age of American cinema was over, nevertheless, I did a lot of research and was able to dig out a lot of information about the great stars of the golden age. Most of my articles on Hollywood have appeared on other sites but I thought I should plug the gap by writing about Errol Flynn(1909-59). I wonder how many of the modern generation have heard of Errol Flynn but there is no denying that he was one of the greats of American cinema who lived his life to the hilt with booze and women.

He seduced tens of beautiful girls and that for many are a sign of a macho man. At least, I feel it is, and there are thousands like me. He was also very handsome and girls swooned over him. All his exploits with women are now ancillary to the fact that he was one of the greats of Hollywood who left behind an indelible print on the world of celluloid with many glorious hits. Now that more than half a century has elapsed one can look back and evaluate a legend of American and world cinema.



With Rita Hayworth

With Rita Hayworth

With Nora Eddington

With Nora Eddington

With Patricia Wymore

With Patricia Wymore

Errol Flynn

By all accounts, Flynn had a short life by modern standards. He was born in 1909 and passed away in 1959 when he was just 50 years old. I was not even born at that time. Errol belonged to the age when the stars lived a luxurious lifestyle. They also set an example of the extravaganza. Such a life was a matter of admiration for all. If you examine the life of the stars of that period, you will realize that the stars not only flaunted their wealth but also their conquest of women. Even the top female film stars made headlines with a string of affairs.


Errol was born in Australia, Hobart- Tasmania. His father was a biologist and his mother an adventurous woman that probably rubbed into his genes. He was a rambunctious child and managed to get thrown out of every school he joined. The result? he never went in for higher education. He ran away from home to New Guinea for some time where he did all sorts of odd jobs. He came back to Australia where he was cast in a low-budget film. He had natural good looks and was athletic and he decided to go to England. He left Australia because his love affairs with the married women made him something like persona non-grata. Luck smiled on him in England and he landed the role of the hero of a film, ' In the wake of the bounty' where he played the role of Christian Fletcher.

Natural talent came to the fore and Warner Brothers approached him. There was no looking back and in 1933 he came to Hollywood. In no time he made a name as a swashbuckling swordsman and action film star. To this day he is hailed as the natural successor to Douglas Fairbanks, one of the greats of American cinema. In 1935 he starred in the movie 'Captain blood 'and instantly became the undisputed king of adventure films. His success in Hollywood made him eternally grateful to America and he became an American citizen in 1942 at the height of the war.

To show his solidarity to the American nation he wished to enlist in the army. Here he met a roadblock as he was not declared medically fit to join. This was a bit of a shock to him, as he had starred as a hero in many war films.

This was a blow to Flynn but took his rejection in his stride. However, his star value rose in America, where he became larger than life figure. Flynn projected a macho image with films like The Adventures of Robin Hood, They died with their boots on, The sea hawk, Captain Blood, Adventures of
Don Juan and many more.

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Lover eternal

Flynn lived a flamboyant life that centered around heavy drinking and womanizing. This was a trait that had come to the fore in Australia when he fled the country to England. His personal life was a reckless one and he womanized and drank like hell. It is difficult to appreciate his life in the present age but at that time his various love affairs and seduction of women and girls endeared him more and more to the American public. People lapped up gossip about him and his love affairs. Flynn failed to realize that his reckless lifestyle and heavy drinking could greatly harm his health. Towards the end of the war, he was almost an alcoholic. Yet at that time his role as the drunken hero of 'The Sun also rises won' won him critical acclaim. From now on he had an endless battle with his health which he aggravated with a reckless lifestyle filled with girls and booze.

Along with loving women and very young girls, some allegations have emerged that he was bisexual and is supposed to have had a relationship with Tyrone Power among others. I will however say that this has not been substantiated and is generally ignored.

Everybody has heard of Don Juan as the eternal lover. Flynn not only played the role on the screen but lived life like a great lover and that was also one of the reasons for his immense popularity among the women, not only in America but in England and other places.

As an actor in a swashbuckling role and a warrior, he was unbeatable. I have seen some of his old films and one can safely say that there was no one like him. By his own estimates, Flynn claimed that he had slept with almost 10,000 women. This could be a bit of a brag but the fact is the women found him immensely attractive and he went after them like a tiger hunting his prey. He faced three statutory rape charges also but got away.

He was married thrice and was by all accounts a lovable father. But the binge in his life continued. Towards the fag end of his life he was involved with a 15-year-old girl Beverly Aldan from professional acting school. He proposed to marry her. In the eyes of the masses, this did not act as a deterrent to his popularity. However, before he could marry her he had a massive heart attack and passed away in 1959. When he got the heart attack, Beverly was with him.

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Last word

The significance of Errol lies in the fact that he made it good in Hollywood without a godfather. He acted in roles that created a macho image of him and endeared him to the public. Not many knew of his medical problems. Perhaps if he had sobered down he would have survived longer.

His golden period was over by 1950 and in 1952 he was dropped by Warner Bros. After that, he began to travel all over the world in his personal Yacht making some substandard films before he came back to Hollywood which rediscovered him. He began to be given many roles as an alcoholic and washed out man. Despite aggravated health problems, he continued his lifestyle the way he wished to live and that centered around booze and women.

It will be wrong to judge Flynn from a moralistic angle. I won't add anything more to that. Personally, I admire him a lot though he died much before I came into this world.

But now nearly 60 years after his death, we can look back and thank God that Errol Flynn came on the scene to fire the imagination of many people as a swashbuckling star that will be remembered for a long time to come. Don't forget, he is crowned as the undisputed successor to Douglas Fairbanks the legendary star of silent films.

Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 14, 2021:

Peggy, sweet of you to have commented.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on January 14, 2021:

Errol Flynn was certainly a well-known actor in his time. Thanks for filling in some details of his life.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 14, 2021:

Thanks, Flynn was a man with independent ideas. Let's say there was no one like him.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 14, 2021:

Tom, you have raised a hornet's nest. Can't think of Flynn as a Nazi spy but then anything is possible in the world of espionage. I must try and get hold of the movie you mention.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 14, 2021:

Thank you, Pamela, it's a pleasure to read your comment. His personal life was certainly controversial

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 14, 2021:

John, Thanks for commenting. I really liked his films and he certainly was a great actor but his personal life and overdoing everything caught up with him. I think he died of a heart attack and at that time his latest love the 17-year-old girl was with him. He probably overexerted as he had a heart problem.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 14, 2021:

This is an interesting account of the life of Errol Flynn, MG. He was a very good actor, but I don't respect his private life.

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on January 14, 2021:

He was a wonderful actor especially in action films of which I have seen a few including Captain Blood. I also think he played the best Robin Hood ever. I may be biased being an Australian. His son also worked as a reporter and war correspondent and was either killed or went missing.

His hard drinking and womanising did catch up to Errol Flynn in the end, and he actually died as a result of syphilis but he certainly made the most of the fifty years he was in the Earth.

tom on January 14, 2021:

flynn was a friend of castro

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on January 14, 2021:

Tom, that's a great comment. He was a womanizer,yes but that is part of his greatness. Look at the life of Pablo Picasso. But his films were superb. I saw 4 of his movies in a rerun and nobody of the present lot of actors can hold a candle to Errol Flynn. Great people like him go to Valhalla. I am sure he is there. I saw Don Juan and Robin Hood. What a swash buckling star.

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