Patrice Wymore Flynn dies at 87; actress and widow of Errol Flynn


Errol Flynn and Patrice Wymore in 1950, the year they married. (AP)
March 25

Patrice Wymore Flynn, a Hollywood actress who became the third wife and then the widow of swashbuckling screen star Errol Flynn, died March 22 at her home in northeastern Jamaica. She was 87.

Family spokesman Robb Callahan announced the death and said the cause was pulmonary disease.

The Kansas-born actress began her theatrical career in musicals, making her Broadway debut in 1948 in the production “Hold It!” She was soon signed by Warner Bros. as a starlet and headed to Hollywood.

In the early 1950s, she appeared in Doris Day musicals such as “Tea for Two,” “Starlift” and “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” and had supporting roles in “The Big Trees” starring Kirk Douglas and Randolph Scott’s Western “The Man Behind the Gun.”

She played a co-ed named “Poison” Ivy Williams in the Ronald Reagan-Virginia Mayo comedy “She’s Working Her Way Through College” (1952). In 1960, she played Frank Sinatra’s girlfriend in the original version of “Ocean’s 11.”

She met her future husband when she was cast as the female lead in the 1950 Western “Rocky Mountain.” When they began filming near Gallup, N.M., the young actress knew little of the handsome Flynn, then an established 41-year-old star known for his roles in “Captain Blood” (1935) and “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938). He had been married twice before and was trailed by a reputation as a womanizing alcoholic. In the early 1940s, he was tried for statutory rape in a high-profile legal proceeding and eventually was acquitted.

After Ms. Wymore wed Flynn in 1950, they spent much of their nine-year marriage in Jamaica’s Portland parish, where the actor had a scenic coastal property.

Mrs. Wymore Flynn often described Jamaica as the couple’s retreat from the pressures of Hollywood. She told the New York Times in 2003, “The studio image of Errol was one thing, and he fought with it constantly. He was actually shy, a gentleman. He was a fireside-and-slippers man.”

About his heavy drinking and drug usage, she told the Times, “I never saw Errol in over his head.”

After Flynn’s death of a heart attack in 1959, the young widow briefly revived her acting career after giving it up for a few years when she and Flynn had a daughter, Arnella. Mrs. Wymore Flynn returned to Jamaica permanently in 1967, where she devoted herself to building a wicker-furniture business and raising cattle, once winning the Champion Farmer of Jamaica title.

She said she was looking for a “more enduringly satisfactory way of life” for her and Arnella, who became a model and died after an apparent drug overdose in 1998. “I always wanted to own a cattle farm when I was finished with my career. I just had no idea it would be in Jamaica.”

Mrs. Wymore Flynn, who never remarried, is survived by a grandson, Luke Flynn, an actor and model who bears a strong resemblance to his famous grandfather.

In his autobiography, “My Wicked, Wicked Ways,” Errol Flynn described his wife as an “attractive, warm and wholesome” woman who “could cook Indian curry” and dance and sing. He also wrote: “Nobody ever tried harder than Pat to make me happy.”

Mrs. Wymore Flynn told the London Daily Telegraph years later that she and her husband were frequent lunch and dinner hosts to entertainment industry figures such as Noel Coward and Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.

She recalled of her husband, “He had a wonderful talent for saying at 10 a.m., ‘Darling, we’ve got 20 people coming for lunch. There were no supermarkets in those days, but someone would always bring over a suckling pig, and someone else some fish.” She would play the grand piano as her husband looked on in admiration.

“Errol loved music, but he couldn’t play the piano or carry a tune vocally,” she said.

— From staff and wire reports

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