Photo of the Day

Errol Flynn Pictured With Beverley Aadland at The Lido Nightclub on Swallow Street, just off Piccadilly, 5th May 1959. The Couple Starred In The Film Cuban Rebel Girls And Had A Highly Publicised Relationship For The Last Two Years Of Flynn?s Life. Photo: Rex Features

In like Flynn Warts and All!!

?All around the world I was equated with sex?

-Errol Flynn

Errol Flynn once said: ?I like my whisky old, and my women young? and the above photo, while not saying anything about his choice of whisky, certainly says something about his taste in women, or should it be girls. He was one of Hollywood?s all-time great ladies? men ? a spirited womaniser who inspired the expression ?in like Flynn.?

The picture above of Flynn, from May 1959, was taken a month or so before his fiftieth birthday and he?s accompanied by his girlfriend, Beverly Aadland, who was still a few months from her 17th birthday that September. According to Beverly?s mother, a former showgirl called Florence and who wrote about Flynn and Aadland?s romance in a book called The Big Love, by the summer of 1959 they had already been together for a year.

His tastes in young women caught up with him in 1943, when he was tried for statutory rape. Two underage girls (?jailbait? and ?San Quentin quail?) claimed he had bedded them. Flynn was acquitted.

Flynn spent his breaks during the trial hitting on the teenager who ran the courthouse?s cigarette stand. Flynn invited her home ? and she later became his second wife.

Errol Flynn was that guy ? that one guy, we all know them ? who was too handsome for his own good. Early on, he figured out what his looks could do for him, and he rode that wave to various destinations. He was a textbook womaniser, an astoundingly successful player ? a lech, a cad, a rake, and any number of other British-sounding adjectives that describe the combination of sexual appetite and the charisma required to feed it.

Flynn lost his virginity at age 12.

He wrote in his autobiography that it was with a girl who worked for his mother: ?plump,? ?blond,? ?not handsome, but available.? One night his parents were out, and he approached her and caressed her leg. When she didn?t react, he moved his hand upward.

Finally, she grabbed him, took him into the bedroom and had sex with him, admitting she hoped it would get her out of paying him back some money.

“I remember when I first came out here, I wanted to take a woman friend of mine out dancing one night. I asked a pal where to go and he bang naming a lot of little hideaways. I told him that I had heard about the wildlife in Southern California and was fairly champing at the bit to get at it. Gravely he shook his head. ?You?ve got a lot to learn, my boy. If you go out to one of the big spots you?ll get your name linked with hers and well, don?t you see?? I didn?t. I still don?t. As near as I can get it, everything is all right in Hollywood provided no gossip columnist sees you. ? The cardinal sin of Hollywood is to be caught” – Errol Flynn

Flynn may have been one of the first film stars to learn ?the public never forgets.? By the mid-40s, Flynn?s career as a matinee idol and swashbuckling film star had dimmed thanks to scandalous reports of alcoholism, womanising, and the alleged sexual assault of two underage girls. (To think how he would have fared in today?s internet society!) Even his 1959 death was tinged with salaciousness when he reportedly died in the arms of his teenage girlfriend, Beverly Aadland, a former chorus girl whom Flynn had allegedly begun dating when she was only 15.

Flynn once boasted that he had spent 12,000 to 14,000 nights having sex. Robert Douglas once recalled walking into Flynn?s dressing room to find the star naked in his armchair, with one woman on top of him and another waiting patiently.

Errol Flynn grew up relatively wealthy, as his father had made good and become a biology professor, and his mother came from a family of ?seafarers,? which led to Flynn?s lifelong interest in boats, the sea, looking natty in white pants, etc. But he was a hell-raiser, expelled a billion times for all sorts of mischief, including purportedly sleeping with a laundress at one of his schools.

Errol Flynn was born in Tasmania in 1909 but went to school from the age of fourteen to fifteen in Barnes in South West London. It was a very minor private school called The South West London College and has long disappeared. The building, however, still exists at numbers 99-101 Castelnau which is a road of Regency villas that lead up to the southern side of Hammersmith Bridge.

After a particularly unhappy time in London, Flynn returned to Australia in 1926 and was sent to the Sydney Church of England Grammar School. It wasn?t long before he was expelled, according to Flynn?s own account, for having sex with the school?s laundress.

In his late teens, Flynn saw himself as an adventurer and entrepreneur. He tried many jobs and businesses in Tasmania, Australia and New Guinea, including gold prospecting, copper mining, ship master, fisherman and sanitation engineer, before he tried acting.

In 1933 he appeared as an amateur actor, albeit in the lead role as Christian Fletcher, in a cheap Australian film called?In the Wake of the Bounty.

It was obvious to everyone, not least himself, that there was a lot to learn about acting and Flynn decided to sail back to England. After exaggerating and lying through his teeth about his limited acting experience, he appeared in repertory theatre in Northampton for several months (he is still remembered there and a cinema in the town is called the Errol Flynn Filmhouse). After a fight with a female stage manager that involved her falling down some stairs, he was unsurprisingly dismissed. His charm had no equal and he was soon cast in the lead role in a film called Murder at Monte Carlo (now lost) which was being made at Teddington Studios.

A very young, pre-moustache Errol Flynn. Flynn moved to Hollywood, set up shop as a contract player, and let the seduction begin.

His athletic good looks attracted the attention of scouts from Warner Brothers and he was immediately brought to America as a contract actor.

He was still an unknown, untried actor but he had an incredible piece of luck when he was given the lead role in the new production of the pirate epic ‘Captain Blood’ in 1935, after Robert Donat had turned the part down. The movie and its unknown star were a box-office sensation and Flynn found himself, unexpectedly, the new reigning star of Hollywood adventure movies, the natural successor to Douglas Fairbanks.

He became one of the best-known actors in Hollywood, famous for his charm, good looks and athleticism which ideally suited him for the swashbuckling roles which became his trademark. It is over half a century since his death and his name is still one of the best known and most evocative of the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Onscreen, he played a slightly different part ? somewhat shy, or just unaware of what the female lead thought of him. His characters were never hard bodies, at least not in the traditional American sense of the word; rather, he spent his time jumping from mast to mast or engaged in elegant sword fighting. Flynn was the most refined sort of hero, with a litheness that could have been framed as feminine if it weren?t for his past in boxing, sailing, and all manner of sports.

It was this combination of on- and off-screen image, of a confident womaniser and selfless hero that truly beguiled. He wasn?t bad the way Jimmy Cagney was bad or Bogart was bad. It was all; it seemed, just a bit of harmless fun. Until it wasn?t anymore.

That is the jauntiest of all jaunty Robin Hood grins. The velvet, the goatee, everything…

In the late 1930’s and early 1940’s, as Hollywood’s biggest box office attraction, Flynn became almost a god-like figure, more than just a movie star. The public loved his Hollywood image – charismatic, energetic and glamorous – and his actual lifestyle was equally beguiling, full of adventure and always with a beautiful woman on his arm.

In 1940, Flynn was at the height of his career and easily one of the most popular stars in America. His rise to the top was extraordinarily quick but so was his downfall. Flynn became an American citizen in 1942 which meant that he was eligible for the military draft. He attempted to join the armed services but was found to have several health problems. His heart was enlarged, with a murmur ? in fact, he had actually already suffered at least one heart attack; he had recurrent malaria (contracted in New Guinea before he became an actor), chronic back pain (for which he self-medicated with morphine and later, with heroin), lingering chronic tuberculosis and six separate STDs.

The man who was known throughout the world for his athletic roles and male physical perfection failed three medicals, one for the army, navy and airforce (it was later rumoured that the same doctor that Flynn tried to persuade to help him pass the medical was the same as Ronald Reagan used to help him to avoid active overseas service). Warner Brothers kept quiet about Flynn?s ineligibility for armed service afraid that it would ruin Flynn?s reputation as a romantic hero.

Errol Flynn, the swashbucklering hero of the films, is as he attended the Pacific Southwest Tennis Tournament with his actress wife, Lili Damita Sept. 19, 1937. (AP Photo)

But the idyll was not to last and Flynn’s life came crashing about his ears. At just the time when his success seemed to be assured Errol Flynn drank too much, overindulged in drugs and began a slow but sure slide to failure, financial ruin and ultimately, death.

By the early 1940’s, Flynn seemed to have the world at his feet. He was rich and famous and a bachelor, having recently divorced his first wife, Lily Damita, but there were storm clouds on the horizon. His reputation for womanising, drinking and fighting was well deserved and well known. He was about to fall foul of his own reputation.

In November 1942 Flynn was indicted on three charges of “statutory rape” – sex with girls under the age of eighteen – by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office. The charge was in connection with two girls, Betty Hansen and Peggy LaRue Satterlee, who claimed that Flynn had seduced them, one incident supposedly occurring on his yacht and one at a Hollywood party. The charge was a serious one and Flynn could have received a twenty-five-year sentence if found guilty. However, the revelation at the trial that Satterlee had had a previous affair and an abortion, was sufficient to secure an acquittal.

Nora Eddington Flynn, 20-year-old cigar store girl, carries her infant child, Deidre Eddington Flynn from the plane on arrival at Burbank, California, on April 3, 1945. Movie film star, Errol Flynn acknowledged marrying the girl secretly. AP/Press Association Images

Amongst other stories, the papers reported that Flynn had been calling the girls ??J.B.? (Jailbait) and ?S.Q.Q.? (San Quentin Quail). Flynn was found innocent but it was rumoured that??nine housewives? in the jury had held a ?private huddle? to convince the three hold-out votes, all men, to acquit. Although it seemed that Flynn had got away with it, in reality, it was the beginning of the end of his career. During the trial, he met 19-year-old Nora Eddington who was working in the courtroom. They secretly married in Mexico in 1944 and had two children, Deidre and Rory before divorcing in 1949.

Back home from their matrimonial flight to Yuma, Ariz., Lily Damita, film actress, and Errol Flynn, actor is the perfect picture of domestic bliss in their Hollywood home, Los Angeles June 25, 1935, as they enjoy the same book together. (AP Photo)

In 1950, at the age of 41, and like many other stars who became famous in the 1930s, Flynn was released from his Warner Brothers contract in 1950. After this rejection his descent, both financially and physically, was quick. Flynn, albeit with a worn and bloated face worked on early television shows but his Hollywood superstar days were over.

In 1957 while visiting a Hollywood studio he noticed a young blonde dancer called Beverly Aadland. In?a People?magazine?interview?from 1988 Aadland described meeting Flynn for the first time:

Although Beverly is unimpressed by Flynn, she eventually succumbs to his charm. Flynn, convinced that Beverly looks like a wood nymph, gives her the pet name ?Woodsy.?

It was 1957, and I was 15 and working on the Warner Bros, lot as a dancer in a scene with Gene Kelly in Marjorie Morningstar (a film with a character played by a 46 year old Gene Kelly seducing an 18 year old Natalie Wood) when Orry-Kelly, the designer, came fluttering over from the next set saying that Errol Flynn wanted to meet me. I wasn?t very enthusiastic?I had met a lot of movie stars. I was taught to be very polite, so I went.

I met him in his dressing room, where his secretary was making coffee. No, I hadn?t heard about the statutory rape charges, about the teenage girls he had supposedly seduced. He asked me if I wanted to read for a play. I said I had to ask my mother, he said to use the phone.?Errol said the reading would be at Huntington Hartford?s Hollywood estate, where he was staying. He said his secretary, his stuntman and his agent would be present, and also that he would like to take me to dinner. Mother finally said okay, that it would be a great opportunity.

I remember driving up to the estate; it was gorgeous. I read for the part, but the whole thing was a ruse?somebody else already had the part. Then we went to dinner at the Imperial Gardens?no shoes and hot saki. I didn?t drink, but I had a little hot saki that night. Back at the house, the others just disappeared. The scene was lovely?a great fire was roaring in the fireplace. There were thick bearskin rugs on the marble floors. Outside the lodge, deer would come to the great front window. The lighting was soft. Errol invited me down on the rug?

The relationship developed, with frequent dates and visits to Flynn?s house. Flynn invited her mother, Florence, on several occasions. Florence was bowled over by Flynn?s looks, charm, and glamour, and enjoyed the lavish meals that featured ?caviar, pate de foie gras, and other swank items.?

Florence claimed that one of her friends told her (cue oracular voice), ?Florence, I think men are going to kill over this girl. She has the scent of the musk upon her.?

Beverley Aadland was the Last Girlfriend Of Actor Errol Flynn. Pictured At The Lido Club Swallow Street In London Where She Spent The Evening With Errol Flynn. (she Later Married Maurice Leon) Photo Rex Features

When Beverly?s mother Florence found out the couple were sleeping together Flynn managed to get her blessing by promising to sort out an acting career for her daughter. Flynn is able to woo Beverly?s star struck mother and even encourage her to tag along on their dates as a third wheel because, as he tells her, he does not want the press to allege something unsavoury.

It was everything Florence wanted. It was rumoured that Flynn spoke to Stanley Kubrick about the film Lolita suggesting that both he and Aadland could play the relevant parts. Kubrick sensibly turned down the offer.

At Beverly?s 17th birthday party, Flynn announces to friends and family that he and Beverly will be married. He produces a movie in Cuba so that Beverly can star called Cuban Rebel Girls. While filming, he falls ill and dictates a living will to Beverly so that she is taken care of in the event of his death. The film, on IMDB rates at 2.9/10, but that may very well be kind. It was a drama written and directed by Flynn about a group of young American volunteers helping in the fight against the Government of Fulgencio Batista, with an unhealthy and alcohol-ravaged Flynn appearing in a few scenes as a commentator and reporter.

A few months later, in October, Flynn and Aadland were in Canada where Flynn was hoping to sell his luxury yacht. Suddenly he felt unwell ? it may have been a recurrence of his malaria but well could have been his extended colon or the heart disease he had lived with for years ? and they arranged for him to visit a doctor at a house in Vancouver. The Doctor and his wife realising a famous former movie star was about to visit their home invited guests around to meet him. On the 16th?October 1959 The Daily Mirror reported:

In the last hour of his life, Errol Flynn gave his finest performance. Last night, while an audience of seven people in a doctor?s house at Vancouver, Canada, rocked with laughter, Errol leant nonchalantly against a wall in the living-room, pantomiming his entire fantastic career.

Racked with pain, but with a grin on his face, Errol made merciless fun of himself and the whole Hollywood merry-go-round.

When he finished his show he went towards another room. At the door, Errol turned, raised a finger and said: ?I shall return.

Except he didn?t. Ten minutes later Aadland went to see if he was alright. He was already dead.

The will Beverly transcribed for Flynn is deemed invalid because it does not have a signature. She does not inherit anything from the late actor.

Flynn (right) was rumoured to have tangled with director Howard Hughes (centre) among other notable figures. Everett Collection

Only hours before, Errol Flynn had a drink in his hand and in his signature high-brow accent, was regaling Vancouver society with tales of globetrotting swashbuckle.

Fifty years old and dressed in a mauve, open-necked shirt, the energetic Flynn had an endless library of gossip and anecdotes at his command. He had dodged shellfire during the Spanish Civil War, hung out in the mountains with rebel leader Fidel Castro during the Cuban Revolution, and there was that one time his friends pranked him by propping up the corpse of actor John Barrymore on his couch.

But a massive heart attack later, and the actor was laid up on a cold stainless steel table as Canadian pathologists broke apart his ribs with hand tools, sifted through his liquor-ravaged organs and scrutinised his legendary genitalia.

?It seemed, I thought at the time, an ignominious end for a famous movie star,? Vancouver coroner Glen McDonald would write later. ?But that?s life. That?s death.?

The coroner, just like most Canadians of the period, knew Errol Flynn best as the erudite, impossibly handsome star of films such as the?Adventures of Robin Hood, Captain Blood, the?Charge of the Light Brigade and Northern Pursuit, where he played a Nazi-fighting Mountie.

Media scrum

But by 1959, the man who had once stood as Hollywood?s most dashing hero was dealing with the sobering reality of a career on the rocks.

?I had by now made about forty-five pictures, but what had I become? I knew all too well: A phallic symbol. All around the world I was, as a name and personality, equated with sex,? Flynn wrote in?My Wicked, Wicked Ways, an autobiography published shortly after his fateful trip to Vancouver.

He was also broke. A filmed-in-Italy production of?William Tell?had been a catastrophic loss, he was in trouble with the IRS and with a succession of wives demanding back alimony, Flynn had come to Canada to finalize the sale of his beloved Zaca, an 118 foot luxury sailing yacht that ? according to legend ? had been fitted with the rigging from Canada?s famed Bluenose.

Flynn encountered a press scrum when he arrived at the Vancouver Airport, where a local reporter asked him why he constantly seemed to be surrounded by underage girls. Flynn shot back ?because they f? so good.?

Of the Vancouverites lucky enough to get a sighting of the star, they would later say they were shocked at Flynn?s haggard, bloated condition. Of course, they could have no idea of how truly riddled with disease their visitor had become.

Eighteen years before, when Flynn had tried to enlist for World War II, the United States military had rejected him as 4-F due to a cocktail of ailments including venereal disease, an enlarged heart and a benign lung tumour.

He very publicly continued his playboy lifestyle and caused widespread public distaste at a time when young men and women were being killed by the thousands.

Flynn’s hedonistic lifestyle began to gradually take its toll and he began a long physical and mental decline. In 1949 when he starred in ‘The Adventures of Don Juan’ his short term memory had started to let him down and his normal confident manner was beginning to change. His box-office successes became fewer and his personal financial problems increased.

Lili Damita and Errol Flynn were married for 6 years. They dated for 1 year after getting together in 1934 and married on 5th May 1935. 6 years later they divorced on 8th Apr 1942. They had a son named Sean Leslie.

Decades of drinking, womanising and even heroin use had not helped, and by the time Flynn lit up his first cigarette on British Columbian soil, he was essentially a walking time bomb.

Nevertheless, by all accounts, Flynn?s final days under the wet pall of a West Coast autumn had been merry enough.

It was only when his host,?yacht buyer Georgie Caldough, drove his famous guest to the airport that Flynn ? who had been feeling ill for some time ? suddenly became overwhelmed with pain.

The actor was sped to the home of Dr Grant Gould, who gave the patient a shot of morphine and then, in a questionable move for a physician, invited his friends over to meet the ailing actor.

?For two hours Flynn kept them spellbound with stories of movie greats,? read a contemporary account. And then, abruptly, he entered the doctor?s bedroom for a lie-down, telling the guests ?I shall return.?

Twenty minutes later, the guests heard the screams of Beverley Aadland.

The?Daily Mirror?reported that a few hours later:

Beverly Aadland was found wandering in the streets of Vancouver wearing only underclothes and a negligee. She appeared to be in a daze and said: ?I can?t understand why everyone is so upset about Errol Flynn.?He?s at the hospital, but is coming home in the morning?. She bent down to pat a dog, and said: ?You?re lonely, too, aren?t you??.

A few months later, in 1960 and back in Los Angeles, the headlines for Beverly didn?t stop with her lover?s death. Shortly afterwards, she was raped by an acquaintance of her mother?s during a night of violence that ended with the man fatally wounded by his own gun. For a year she was placed with a foster family, and a series of bad marriages followed.

Not long after Florence Aadland was arrested for public drunkenness and Beverly was sent to a juvenile centre. Florence was found guilty of contributing to Beverly?s delinquency and was sentenced to jail for two months. Florence complained to the court:

This could ruin her nightclub career! They can?t send my baby to Juvenile Hall! There?s no telling what she?ll learn from those nasty girls in there. I haven?t done anything ? I?ll sue for false arrest!

Florence then scolded the press for reporting that she was 53. ?I?m only 46,? she said. (She was actually 50.)

Errol Flynn and Beverly Aadland, 1959. Looking old for her age, Beverly was passing as 21 to get studio and nightclub work, and Flynn probably did not know the truth (though he?d already been charged several times with having sex with underage girls and was, in the words of his FBI file, ?a man perverted in his sexual desires, and who ultimately will cause Warner Brothers a considerable amount of difficulty if he doesn?t kill himself in the process?). Associated Press.

It was reported by the LA Times that the Authorities had concluded that Beverly was a $100 a night under-age prostitute who had been ?intimate with adult males since the age of 12?. Florence, a former showgirl, denied that her actions hurt her daughter:

It?s these young Hollywood men. If only Errol Flynn was alive my little girl wouldn?t be in this mess.

The next few months were a nightmare. In L.A., reporters hounded Beverly. It must be remembered that except for friends, no one knew about them until then. When plans were announced for the funeral, Beverly?s heart sank. Jack Warner was to give the eulogy, Errol was to be buried at Forest Lawn, and the casket was to be covered with yellow roses. Errol hated Hollywood, he hated Jack Warner, and he hated yellow roses. He wanted to be married in Jamaica, and he wanted to be buried there.

Things continued to go from bad to worse for a while after Errol?s death, but Beverly was still glad she had the experience. She said she was 15 chronologically but was so much older. She believed Errol was trying to do the best for her. I did not blame him for anything.

Over the next few decades, Beverly married twice and got divorced twice. Her final relationship was with a man called Ronald Fisher, a garage owner and auto-parts dealer. They married and Beverly became a housewife. Fisher said that it had been what she had wanted all her life.

In 2010, 50 years after two of her lovers had died so unexpectedly, Beverly Aadland, at the age of 67, died of diabetes and heart disease.

?There?s one thing I want to make clear right off: my baby was a virgin the day she met Errol Flynn.? The world can be divided into two groups: those who gag at that line and those who glory in it.

Flynn died of a myriad of things. From the book Tragic Hollywood Beautiful Glamorous and Dead: Weird stories seemed to follow Errol, even after death. Glen McDonald, the coroner who attended Flynn?s autopsy, told a story of stolen genital warts that has to be the most bizarre urban legend yet. As Glen described it, the official cause of death was, (taking a deep breath) myocardial infarction, coronary thrombosis, fatty degeneration of the liver (surprise), portal cirrhosis of the liver and diverticulosis of the colon. The pathologist examining the body noticed several warts at the tip of Flynn?s member, caused by years of venereal disease, and in some kind of twisted penis envy, insisted he needed those things as a teaching tool or something. McDonald said absolutely not but while he was out of the room, said pathologist went snip snip and when McDonald returned, Flynn?s penis was bare and the warts were stewing in a jar of formaldehyde. Furious, McDonald told the pathologist to ?PUT THEM BACK!? and that?s what he did?.with scotch tape?I kid you not.

Errol Flynn at London Airport before leaving for America, 1957. PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Glen McDonald was Vancouver?s coroner for more than 26 years, and had seen firsthand the human cost of dozens of tragedies to hit the Terminal City: Barge explosions, plane crashes, the collapse of the Second Narrows bridge and all manner of murders, suicides and grisly industrial accidents.

Yet for a man who processed 1,100 bodies a year, Mr McDonald had a uniquely fun-loving manner.

Mr McDonald did not visit schools warning children of the perils of drug abuse, he showed them his ?Fabulous Traveling Wax Museum and Candy Cane Show?; a macabre exhibition showing aborted fetuses, a heart shattered by gunshot, cancer-riddled lungs and other curiosities from the morgue.

The exhibition?s centrepiece was a ?candy cane? made entirely out of pills recovered from the scenes of overdose deaths.

On the night of Oct. 14, Mr McDonald had been ?looking forward to a gin and tonic and dinner,? he wrote in his jaunty 1985 memoir,?How Come I?m Dead? when an ambulance showed up with a ?beauty? for him.

The coroner had counted Flynn as one of his cinematic heroes, but the man carried in on a stretcher ?was sallow and a bit puffy and he looked an awful lot older than his fifty years,? he would write.

Flynn?s heart had definitely stopped, but all his other organs were so shot that the coroner ultimately ruled his death as due to ?natural causes.?

The most notably damaged organ, it turned out, was Flynn?s penis, which was beset by a collection of enormous genital warts.

The warts were so large, in fact, that the city?s chief pathologist, Tom Harmon, removed them and preserved the specimens in formaldehyde with an eye of having them serve as a teaching aid to future generations of British Columbia doctors.

To this day, a piece of Flynn might still have resided in Canada if the bizarre act had not been caught by Mr McDonald ? who immediately scotch-taped the warts back into place.

Fortunately for Mr McDonald, even as the body was subjected to a second autopsy in Los Angeles, nobody ever mentioned the Canadians? unorthodox treatment of the late star?s famed member.

?How big was Errol Flynn?s penis?? wrote Mr McDonald in 1985. ?Errol Flynn was no larger and no smaller in his stature, his jewels, his endowment, than any other man. So there may well be hope for the inferior feeling males of the world if, indeed, that?s the sort of thing they?re concerned about.?

Flynn?s Mulholland Drive was said to be scattered with peepholes and two-way mirrors. What many guests at Flynn?s Mulholland Drive mansion didn?t know was that Flynn had tricked out the house with peepholes and two-way mirrors, one of which had a view into the bathroom. Above the bed in one of the downstairs bedrooms was another two-way mirror accessible through a crawl space. Photo: Shutterstock

His immense popularity as a screen actor had more to do with his handsome appearance and buccaneer swagger than any innate acting ability. He will probably be remembered more for his spectacular private life of which he remained the personality he projected on the screen (a mixture of Bulldog Drummond and Don Juan).

During the revolution in Cuba at the beginning of 1959 he joined Dr Castro’s rebel band and was wounded during a skirmish with government troops. He was married three times and divorced twice. At the time of his death, he was separated from his third wife, Patrice Wymore, the film actress. He was concerned in many legal actions, several concerning alimony payments. In 1945 two paternity suits were filed against him in Los Angeles and dismissed seven years later. In 1959 Flynn’s last book had not yet been published because he is alleged to have refused his publisher’s request to “tone down” some of the chapters. The title is: “My Wicked, Wicked Ways.”

Not long before he died Errol Flynn was asked what he thought of his life:

I earned seven million dollars for brandishing a sword, riding a horse and screaming ?Charge!?

I did not deserve it, but I certainly didn?t mind spending it. The public has always expected me to be a playboy and a decent chap never lets his public down.

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