This Star of the Silver Screen is just that little bit special because he comes from a place where I call home....Tasmania. Often called "The Baron", "The Tasmanian Devil", "Rolly" and "Satan's Angel", Errol Flynn was the ultimate swashbuckling hero.
Who knew that a Hobart-born boy would one day become a Hollywood super star? His father, Theodore Thomas Flynn was a lecturer at University of Tasmania - a specialist of biology. The family moved to Sydney where Errol attended Sydney Church of England Grammar School. His classmate at the time would be the future Australian Prime Minister, John Gorton. His childhood was punctuated with misdemeanour's which saw him expelled from several schools - not just Sydney Grammar, but a few in Tasmania as well. Until his brush with fame, Errol handled a few odd jobs, even moving to New Guinea to attempt to own a tobacco plantation in his early 20's.
In 1933, Errol joined the Northampton Repertory Company for seven months in London. That same year, he scored a part in the Australian film "In the Wake of the Bounty" and in 1934 he appeared in "Murder at Monte Carlo" - considered a lost film it was commissioned by Warner Brothers, which later led to his departure to America. There he became a citizen in 1942.
|Errol Flynn (right) doing what he does best|
It was by pure chance that Errol would replace actor Robert Donat in the film "Captain Blood"(1935). He typically became an overnight sensation. Through this he moved on to "The Charge of the Light Brigade"(1936) and "The Prince and the Pauper" (1937). However, it was his appearance as Robin Hood in "The Adventures of Robin Hood"(1938) which etched him forever to be the swashbuckling legend. It was a celebrated role and something that would immortalize him. He was noted for his incredible skill as a swordsman and his swordsmanship was continuously noted upon in other films such as "The Sea Hawk"(1940).
Despite portraying a strong and athletic figure onscreen, offscreen it was a very different story. After becoming a US citizen and in the throes of the Second World War, Errol tried desperately hard to join the defence force. He was repeatedly rejected due to several health issues. Errol had an enlarged heart, a murmur, chronic re-occurring tuberculosis, chronic back pain and re-occurring malaria. This meant that he was classified "4-F" - not acceptable for military service due to the inability to meet minimum fitness standards. For someone whom onscreen was portrayed as the fittest of the fit in reality, it was not so. Warner Brothers Studio came under fire numerous times for their casting of Errol in "war hero" roles when in fact he could not even enlist in the military. The Studio's reluctance to rebut such criticisms came as a tactic to hide Errol's health problems.
Sadly, behind the scenes Errol's excessive drinking, smoking and party lifestyle aged him dramatically, especially in the 1950's. He was a reputed womanizer and was subsequently accused of statutory rape - having undergone two court cases in 1943 he was cleared of both accusations. The resulting reputation garnered the phrase "in with Flynn". However, despite the excessive lifestyle, he did marry...in fact three times and had four children.
Errol Flynn passed away, suffering a heart attack on the 14th October 1959, aged 50. He was the action hero of the Silver Screen and will forever be remembered as Robin Hood...
"If I have any genius it is a genius for living..."
Errol Flynn ~