18 July, 2008

Errol Flynn

Errol Leslie Thomson Flynn was an Australian film actor, most famous for his romantic swashbuckler roles in Hollywood films and his flamboyant lifestyle.

Errol Flynn was born on 20 June 1909 in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Errol was taken to Sydney, New South Wales, as a child where he attended Sydney Church of England Grammar School , from which he was expelled for fighting and, allegedly, having sex with a school laundress. He was also expelled from the next schools he attended. At 20 he moved to New Guinea, where he bought a tobacco plantation, a business which failed. A copper mining venture in the hills near the Laloki Valley behind the present national capital, Port Moresby, also failed.

In the early 1930s, Flynn left for Britain and, in 1933, got an acting job with Northampton Repertory Company, where he worked for seven months.

In 1933, he starred in the Australian film In the Wake of the Bounty directed by Charles Chauvel, and in 1934 appeared in Murder at Monte Carlo, produced at the Warner Bros. Teddington Studios, UK.. This latter film is now considered a lost film. During the filming of Murder at Monte Carlo, Flynn was discovered by a Warner Brothers executive, signed to a contract, and shipped to America as a contract actor. In 1942, Flynn became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Flynn as Captain BloodFlynn became an overnight sensation with his first starring role in Captain Blood (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).

After America entered World War II Flynn was often criticised for his failure to enlist while continuing to play war heroes in films. Flynn in fact had actually attempted to join every arm of the services but been rejected for health reasons. The studios' failure to counter the criticism was due to a desire to hide the state of Flynn's health. Not only did Flynn have an enlarged heart, which had already resulted in several heart attacks, but he also suffered from tuberculosis, a painful back, and suffered from recurrent bouts of malaria which he had contracted in New Guinea.

By the 1950s, Flynn had become a parody of himself. Heavy alcohol and drug abuse left him prematurely aged and bloated, but he won acclaim as a drunken ne'er-do-well in The Sun Also Rises (1957), and as his idol John Barrymore in Too Much Too Soon (1958).

Also in the 1950s, Flynn tried his hand as a novelist, penning the adventure novel Showdown, which was published in 1952. His first book was Beam Ends (1937).

Flynn was famous for his drinking, womanizing, and brawling.

Flynn died on October 14, 1959 due to suffering a massive heart attack.

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