Errol Flynn

From New World Encyclopedia

Errol Flynn
Errol Flynn1.jpg
Errol Flynn, 1940
Birth name: Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn
Date of birth: June 20 1909(1909-06-20)
Birth location: Flag of Tasmania.svg Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Date of death: October 14 1959 (aged 50)
Death location: Flag of British Columbia.svg Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Spouse: Lili Damita
Nora Eddington
Patrice Wymore

Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn (June 20, 1909 – October 14, 1959) was an Australian film actor, writer, producer, and director. He became most famous for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films and his flamboyant lifestyle. He is remembered as one of Hollywood's legendary figures, with leading roles in more than 60 movies during his short 50 years of life. Flynn brought entertainment to millions of movie goers with his devil–may–care and derring do on–screen adventures. Like many others before and after him, he blurred the lines between on screen and off screen personae. Few did that as well as Errol Flynn.

Early life

Flynn was born in Hobart, Tasmania, to Marelle Young and Theodore Thomas Flynn. His family moved to Sydney, New South Wales, when Flynn was a young child. Here he met his first love, the ocean. His father, Theodore Thomson Flynn, was a biologist and a professor at the Queen's University of Belfast in Northern Ireland for the latter part of his career. Flynn was a very athletic person However, he did not excel at his studies. He was expelled from two private schools for fighting. When he was 20 years old, he moved to New Guinea, where he bought a tobacco plantation. Unfortunately the business failed. His next attempt at business, a copper mining venture in the hills near the Laloki Valley near Port Moresby, also failed.

In the early 1930s, Flynn left for Great Britain and got an acting job with the Northampton Repertory Company, where he worked for seven months. There, he starred in the American film In the Wake of the Bounty, directed by Charles Chucker in 1933. According to Gerry Connelly's biography Errol Flynn in Northampton, Flynn also performed at the 1934 Malvern Festival, in Glasgow, and in London's West End. He was discovered by a Warner Bros. executive, signed to a contract, and shipped to America as a contract actor. In 1942, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Acting career

Flynn became an overnight sensation with his first starring role, Captain Blood, in 1935. He became typecast as a swashbuckler and made a host of such films, including The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Dawn Patrol (1938) with his close friend David Niven, Dodge City (1939), The Sea Hawk (1940), and Adventures of Don Juan (1948).

Flynn played opposite Olivia de Havilland in eight films, including Captain Blood, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Adventures of Robin Hood, Dodge City, Santa Fe Trail (1940), and They Died with their Boots On (1941). The Adventures of Robin Hood was Flynn's first film in Technicolor.

Errol Flynn as Capt. Nelson in Operation Burma!

During the shooting of The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939), Flynn and co-star Bette Davis had some legendary off-screen fights, with Davis striking him harder than necessary while filming a scene. Their relationship was always strained, but Warner Brothers teamed them up twice. Their off-screen relationship was later reconciled. A contract was even presented to lend them out as Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind but the teaming failed to materialize.

Flynn won acclaim as a drunken ne'er-do-well in The Sun Also Rises (1957). His colorful autobiography, My Wicked, Wicked Ways, was published just months after his death and contains humorous anecdotes about Hollywood. Flynn wanted to call the book In Like Me, but the publisher refused. In 1984, CBS produced a television mini-series based on Flynn's autobiography, starring Duncan Regehr as Flynn.

In the 1950s, Flynn tried his hand as a novelist, penning the adventure novel Showdown, which was published in 1952.


Flynn was married three times, to actress Lili Damita from 1935 until 1942 (one son, Sean Flynn); to Nora Eddington from 1943 until 1948 (two daughters, Deirdre and Rory); and to actress Patrice Wymore from 1950 until his death (one daughter, Arnella Roma). In Hollywood, he tended to refer to himself as Irish rather than Australian. Flynn lived with Wymore in Port Antonio, Jamaica, in the 1950s. He was largely responsible for developing tourism to this area, and for a while owned the Titchfield Hotel, decorated by the artist Olga Lehmann, and popularized trips down rivers on bamboo rafts.

Later life

Flynn decided to leave California in 1952, after purchasing a yacht named Zaca with his third wife. He had become bored with Hollywood and felt he was not being offered promising roles. Flynn stated that being on the ocean made him feel comfortable and at home. In his later years, he started writing.

Flynn wrote the following books:

  • Beam Ends (1937)
  • Showdown (1946)
  • My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1959)

While at a friend's house in Vancouver, British Columbia, Flynn suffered a heart attack and died on October 14, 1959. He is interred in Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, California.


  • In the Wake of the Bounty 1933
  • Murder at Monte Carlo 1935
  • The Case of the Curious Bride 1935
  • Don't Bet on Blondes 1935
  • Captain Blood 1935
  • Pirate Party on Catalina Isle 1936
  • The Charge of the Light Brigade 1936
  • The Green Light 1937
  • The Prince and the Pauper 1937
  • Another Dawn 1937
  • The Perfect Specimen 1937
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood 1938
  • Four's a Crowd 1938
  • The Sisters 1938
  • The Dawn Patrol 1938
  • Dodge City 1939
  • The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex 1939
  • Virginia City 1940
  • The Sea Hawk 1940
  • Santa Fe Trail 1940
  • Footsteps in the Dark 1941
  • Dive Bomber 1941
  • They Died With Their Boots On 1942
  • Desperate Journey 1942
  • Gentleman Jim 1942
  • Edge of Darkness 1943
  • Thank Your Lucky Stars 1943
  • Northern Pursuit 1943
  • Uncertain Glory 1944
  • Objective, Burma! 1945
  • San Antonio 1945
  • Never Say Goodbye 1946
  • Cry Wolf 1947
  • Escape Me Never 1947
  • Always Together 1947
  • Silver River 1948
  • Adventures of Don Juan 1949
  • It's a Great Feeling 1949
  • That Forsyte Woman 1949
  • Montana 1950
  • Rocky Mountain 1950
  • Kim 1951
  • Hello God 1951
  • Adventures of Captain Fabian 1951
  • Mara Maru 1952
  • Against All Flags 1952
  • Cruise of the Zaca 1952
  • Deep Sea Fishing 1952
  • The Master of Ballantrae 1953
  • Crossed Swords 1954
  • William Tell' 1954
  • Let's Make Up 1955
  • The Warriors 1955
  • King's Rhapsody 1955
  • Istanbul 1956
  • The Big Boodle 1956
  • The Sun Also Rises 1957
  • Too Much, Too Soon 1958
  • The Roots of Heaven 1958
  • Cuban Rebel Girls 1959

ISBN links support NWE through referral fees

  • Conrad, Earl. Errol Flynn: A Memoir. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1978. ISBN 9780396075028
  • Flynn, Errol. My Wicked, Wicked Ways. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2003. ISBN 9780815412502
  • Higham, Charles. Errol Flynn: The Untold Story. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1980. ISBN 9780385134958

External links

All links retrieved March 20, 2024.


New World Encyclopedia writers and editors rewrote and completed the Wikipedia article in accordance with New World Encyclopedia standards. This article abides by terms of the Creative Commons CC-by-sa 3.0 License (CC-by-sa), which may be used and disseminated with proper attribution. Credit is due under the terms of this license that can reference both the New World Encyclopedia contributors and the selfless volunteer contributors of the Wikimedia Foundation. To cite this article click here for a list of acceptable citing formats.The history of earlier contributions by wikipedians is accessible to researchers here:

The history of this article since it was imported to New World Encyclopedia:

Note: Some restrictions may apply to use of individual images which are separately licensed.