“I do what I like:” Miscellaneous facts about Errol Flynn

I don’t have a clever title, just a bunch of facts about one of my favorite actors, Errol Flynn, who was born on this day in 1909. The Adventures of Robin Hood was one of the first classic films I ever saw on a big screen, and the impression he made on my 11-year-old mind is basically indelible.

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Ida Lupino and Flynn co-starred in Escape Me Never, which flopped; their friendship was a success. She is quoted as saying, “I loved Errol Flynn, who was one of my dear, dear, dear friends…He was just marvelous. Fun and well, a very kind person, very sensitive.” She gave him addressed him as “The Baron,” while he called her “Little Scout.”* 

Two decent movies in which Flynn plays against type as uptight stuffed shirts are That Forsyte Woman (1949) with Greer Garson, and Cry Wolf with Barbara Stanwyck, which I like because it’s really Gothic and odd.

“Women won’t let me stay single, and I won’t let myself stay married.” Flynn was married three times. His first wife, Lili Damita, had been married to Michael Curtiz, whom Flynn disliked (per IMDB). He met his second wife at the courthouse where she worked in the snack bar…he was on trial. And according to his third wife Patrice Wymore, Flynn called her parents “to formally ask for my hand in marriage.” (Check out her gallery.)

Per IMDB, his autobiography, “My Wicked Wicked Ways,” was originally going to be called “In Like Me.” His daughter Rory’s web site is InLikeFlynn.com.

Flynn had a weak heart and had survived tuberculosis and malaria. He was classified 4-F and, despite repeated attempts to enlist in the military, couldn’t serve in World War II. Per IMDB, this was his only regret in life. He had his first heart attack in 1942.

He co-starred in eight films with Olivia de Havilland, but apparently they never hooked up in real life, which is a shame. They seem to have gotten along very well. She talks about him starting around the 3:10 mark of this clip:

I don’t think it’s any coincidence that de Havilland is in all three of my favorite Errol Flynn movies — Robin Hood, Captain Blood and Dodge City.

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Flynn and de Havilland…something about Dodge City…these two are all you really need

PS: The five-minute Captain Blood…really: http://youtu.be/9BDiNhe_YNQ

* Edited per comment below. The source for the nickname info is Ida Lupino: A Biography by William Donati.

14 thoughts on ““I do what I like:” Miscellaneous facts about Errol Flynn

  1. I had a mad crush on this drunken reprobate for many more years than I care to admit! LOL Whatever else he did, he had real style!

    1. Thank you for pointing this out. I misread the source, which actually stated only that she addressed him as “The Baron.” I have edited the post to reflect this.

  2. How could one not be enchanted by Errol–the sparkle in the eyes, the zest for life, the dashing look, and the natural charm? In addition, he was intelligent and had wit–just reading his autobiography. It is hard to read the latter part of his life, after the statutory rape case, because he lost the will to live and was embarking on a slow suicide. Your Baron Highness, RIP. We cannot and will not forget you.

    1. He did have all of that, in spades. I agree, not all of his life was rollicking fun, but we will always have his movies. I just saw The Adventures of Robin Hood on a big screen in a packed house, and I think his role in that is how most people remember him.

  3. Errol Flynn came from a time when so many of the classic films were made by stars who even today (and in some cases more so) still shine. True talent never dies and Errol Flynn is one example of the actors form the golden years to prove this. I have a hard time thinking of any Flynn film i didn’t like and as he portrayed so many characters of the years in multiple genres (westerns, period, war, romance etc.) you are hard pressed to find one you don’t like regardless of your taste. For me, one standout is ‘Istanbul’ made in 1957 and also starred Cornell Borchers. A harder title to find – but a great movie.

    1. I agree with all of the above, and yes, all his movies are watchable. I have not seen ISTANBUL but I will keep an eye out for it. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. The film i enjoy most of errol flynn is objective burma. It was the first errol flynn film i saw as a child and still my favourite. I have a hard time trying to think of other actors where i enjoy their films as much. Although, it is hard to not like all the actors of the era; all were class acts in the movies.
    I think that for me, it shows the star and quality of actor he was, especially that no only his movies, but his name live on (like in blogs like yours!) all these years later. I only wish they showed more of these movies on TV so a new generation of viewers could get the enjoyment we all have.

    1. Hi James, I love OBJECTIVE BURMA…Flynn definitely did some of his best work for Raoul Walsh. I will basically watch anything with him in it, I think only Cary Grant ranks as frequently in my personal favorites. We are lucky enough in the U.S. to have Turner Classic Movies channel, which shows Flynn’s films fairly often. I like to think he will live forever though…we all just have to do what we can. Thanks for stopping by!

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