Errol Flynn was one of those rare Hollywood stars whose film portrayals seemed to blend into their private lives. In nearly all of his movies Flynn was an adventurer with a penchant for fighting and romance.
In 1935, his first year at Warner Bros., he did very little except marry French actress Lili Damita. Their marriage would stagger through seven years of violent fights and the birth of their son, Sean, who in 1970 would disappear while working as a free-lance photographer in Cambodia.
Flynn stepped into overnight stardom after filming "Captain Blood" (1935). Some of his other hits include "The Adventures of Robin Hood" (1938), "Gentleman Jim" (1942), "The Prince and the Pauper" (1937) and "Objective Burma" (1945).
Studio boss Jack Warner once said, "To the Walter Mittys of the world he was all the heroes in one magnificent, sexy animal package."
The notorious San Francisco madam, Sally Stanford, said Flynn was "sweet" and a prodigious lover. "He was the only customer I ever had who tested all of the talent, including both shifts, twice. . . ."
In November 1942, at the pinnacle of his career, two teenage girls accused him of statutory rape. After a well-publicized trial, jurors acquitted him of all charges.
But for the Hollywood legend, even vindication came with reviews. Before dismissing the jurors, the judge said, "I hope you've enjoyed this case as much as I have."
Flynn found himself plastered all over the newspapers and the butt of jokes. "In like Flynn" became an indecent joke and a national cry amid grim war news.
His career thrived after the trial and he soon set sail for Mexico, with 17-year-old Nora Eddington, a redhead who sold cigarettes at the Hall of Justice. They had met during his trial. He married her and became the father of two girls, Deirdre and Rory. His second marriage would last seven years, precisely as his first did.
In 1957, Flynn caused another scandal when he left his third wife, actress Patrice Wymore, and ran off with 15-year-old actress-showgirl Beverly Aadland, whom he described as his "protegee." Flynn died of a heart attack in 1959 when he was with Aadland visiting Vancouver, Canada.
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