With his stunning looks and swashbuckling onscreen panache Errol Flynn was by all appearances the quintessential movie star who had it all. But Flynn's manicured Hollywood persona did little to hide his insatiable appetites off-screen - the binge drinking, brawling and womanising that would forever cement his place as a film legend. In this hard-hitting study, bestselling show business biographer David Bret traces the life and loves of the actor and man. It was Flynn's natural charisma and athletic prowess that made him as the heartthrob star of Captain Blood and The Adventures Of Robin Hood. But Hollywood's prodigal son was never far from controversy and scandal. In a series of extraordinary revelations Bret explores the star's love of underage girls, young men, binge drinking and drug experimentation, as well as his controversial background as a slave-trader in New Guinea, involvement with the Spanish civil war and his support for Castro. This is compelling and engrossing portrait of the original action-adventure star, who packed more into his fifty years than his high-living contemporaries ever could. The gifted, complex and rakish rebel remains without equal as the film icon of the 20th century. 2009 marks the tragic death of Flynn and this book is an excellent tribute to an extraordinary actor. David Bret was born in Paris and is a leading celebrity biographer. His many acclaimed books include biographies of Marlene Dietrich, Gracie Fields, Freddie Mercury, Tallulah Bankhead, Maria Callas, Rudolph Valentino, Edith Piaf and Joan Crawford. He lives in Yorkshire.
Without regret or apology, Errol Flynn documented his extraordinary life before writers could have their way with him as a dead man. Bret, however, takes on the Flynn mythology in this new biography. "Only the gods know what lies ahead of a fellow who makes good and becomes the greatest shot in the arm this town's had for years," wrote Photoplay journalist Warren Reeve of Flynn's arrival in Hollywood. More than a shot in the arm, the swashbuckling actor was a force of nature, often destructive to both himself and others, dying of a massive heart attack at age 54. The Olympic gold medal boxer and notorious anti-Semite arrived in Hollywood with the same arrogance and flair he exhibited as a child and teenage adventurer in the South Pacific and Asia. A vigorous lover of both sexes, the "Tasmanian Devil" enjoyed relationships with numerous stars, including David Niven and Tyrone Power. He was a robust conqueror of women as well, and his misogyny was reinforced by a platonic friendship with artist Diego Rivera, who approved of treating women "like dogs." With the same gusto and verve of his subject, Bret plows through Flynn's escapades and accomplishments. It may be difficult for some to reconcile Bret's assessment of Flynn as some sort of hard-living heroic figure, or an "essentially good man," after reading about the actor's deplorable treatment of women, his sexual voyeurism, his penchant for underage girls and his hatred of Jews. Yet Flynn was enormously talented and dynamic, and Bret's efforts result in a generally unprejudiced look at a man who left a lasting mark on the cinema and many in it.