Escrito por: Theodora Sutcliffe
Errol Flynn died, aged only 50. We profile one of Hollywood's more prolific caners.
So who was Errol Flynn?
A forerunner of today's action stars, Australian-born Flynn was most often to be seen swinging from chandeliers, sword-fighting and, well, swashbuckling. Before the movies discovered him, he worked as a tobacco planter, a gold miner, a pearl diver and a sheep castrator: he would go on to write three books. A hellraiser's hellraiser, despite his unfortunate fondness for very young women, his mesmerizing autobiography, My Wicked Wicked Ways, includes such apercus as: "I think I can truthfully say that my behaviour in whorehouses has been exemplary".
Where did he drink?
In Jamaica, the Titchfield Hotel, which he owned, and various yachts, not to mention the brothels of Rum Lane. In Cuba, where he visited Castro, the Hotel Nacional and El Floridita. In Hollywood, Chasen's, Chateau Marmont, Cocoanut Grove, the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and the notorious Knickerbocker Hotel. His favourite New York nightspot was El Morocco. When in London, he favoured the Eve Club and the Savoy's American Bar. In Hong Kong, it was opium dens all the way.
What did he drink?
Flynn was a fan of champagne, and brought fine French wines with him on locations not known for their upscale liquor stores. But he most often enjoyed dark spirits, especially Johnnie Walker. As he put it, "I like my whisky old, and my women young."
Towards the end of his life, Flynn turned to the alcoholic's favourite, vodka, consuming over a bottle a day, much to the detriment of his liver - when forbidden from drinking on set, he would inject vodka into his oranges. The famous Cuban cantinero Fabio Delgado Fuentes invented a cocktail for him, The Martini Special.
Any famous drinking buddies?
Flynn was a central figure on Old Hollywood's party scene. David Niven, John Barrymore, Peter O'Toole, Ava Gardner, Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra were friends, while Marilyn Monroe was a guest of his. He drank with Hemingway and, in Jamaica, socialized extensively with Noel Coward and Ian Fleming.
How did drink change his life?
Drink fuelled Flynn's friendships, romances and escapades, from bar room brawls to darker moments, including wife beating. Yet by the end of his life he was breakfasting on vodka and a bloated shadow of his former self. The medics who performed his autopsy were amazed he had lived as long as he had.
Any drinking stories?
Studio head Jack Warner once remarked, "You know Flynn. He has to be either fighting or fucking." He was once arrested on a drunk charge after stealing a cop's badge, and his bar-room brawls were legendary. His memoirs recall the time his first wife hit him over the head with a bottle of champagne.
But Flynn's quick wit made him an entertaining drunk. He once wandered into a ladies' loo for a pee, to be accosted with the exclamation "Sir! This is for ladies only!" Quick as a flash, Errol whipped out the offending part and said, "So is this, madam! But I must water it every now and again."