Thursday, March 23, 2006

Errol Flynn & his son

The sins of the father resurface in the struggles of the son in Meyers's rollicking double biography of the charismatic movie star Errol Flynn and his equally handsome son, Sean. The life of the elder Flynn is, of course, well known. A native Australian, Errol worked as a gold prospector, pearl diver and correspondent for the Sydney Bulletin before being "discovered" by a Warner Bros. agent. He took America by storm with such classics as Captain Blood and The Sea Hawk. A "Byronic figure," he seduced hundreds of women, brawled with bums and stars alike and consumed astonishing amounts of drugs and alcohol.

Inevitably, Sean's much briefer biography suffers by comparison. Only in intermittent contact with his father, Sean grew up to be a B-movie star in Europe in the early 1960s (including a stint as the "Son of Captain Blood") before becoming a freelance photographer in Europe and Vietnam. Both men came to sad, gruesome ends: Errol wasted away from substance abuse; Sean was captured at a Vietcong checkpoint and later executed.

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