Profile By Stu Kobak
Amongst the most dashing stars ever to grace the movie screen, Errol Flynn lived a life off the screen that echoed his on-screen persona. The devil-may-care attitude that made Robin Hood a charming rascal in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) came from the same kernel that made Flynn best drinking buddies with John Barrymore. The same passion with which he embraced Brenda Marshall in The Sea Hawk (1940) was evidenced off-screen by his many affairs filling Hollywood's gossip columns with choice bits from his romantic exploits.
Flynn's prowess with women was so
infamous that the expression "In like Flynn" became a
common phrase used to describe the ease with which a man might
conquer a woman. In fact, after a life rocked by success and
scandal, Errol Flynn died under dubious circumstances,
supposedly while having sex with a woman.
Flynn's career undoubtedly suffered from his excessive drinking and high life style. Barely a dozen years after capturing movie audiences with his dashing portrayal in Captain Blood (1935), the actor struggled to fit the image of the handsome, dashing adventurer, struggling with weight and bloating from drink. His later adventure films pale in comparison to the early efforts, yet, the magic still survives. Even as late as 1953 in The Master of Ballantrae,
Flynn's rascally charm and athleticism provided enough sparks to light up the Robert Louis Stevenson story. Maybe it wasn't the same Flynn that drew a quick six gun in Dodge City, but there was still a glimmer of dash and romance in his step. Too Much Too Soon (1958) was Flynn's last Hollywood film. Ironically, he played John Barrymore in this biopic, his old drinking buddy, who, like Flynn, lived a rapacious life satisfying his hunger for women and wine. Lamentably, there was one more film left in Flynn called Cuban Rebel Girls released in 1959, a sad closing to a thrilling career.
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