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June 21: Errol Flynn’s Birthday


It’s Errol Flynn’s birthday. This might surprise you, but acting was always a side gig for Flynn. He certainly didn’t mind the scads of money he made jumping around in tights in front of a camera, but what he really liked to do was run amok on a global scale. Flynn, (Baron to his drinking buddies), lived a truly adventurous life. Prior to finding fame as an actor, Flynn worked as a policeman, soldier, fisherman, sailor, treasure hunter and mining speculator. Scandals followed the dashing scoundrel right up to the day he died, but he never seemed to mind. Privately, he relished his unsavory reputation and found great pleasure in shocking the public’s sensibilities. Off the clock he preferred the brown liquors (Johnnie Walker was a favorite), but while on the job he preferred the “no-tell” nature of vodka. Each morning before heading off to work, Flynn loaded a leather doctor’s bag with his “daily medicine”: two fifths of vodka. When he was ultimately banned from drinking on the set, he took his subterfuge one step further—he injected oranges with vodka and devoured them with impunity between takes. True Story: When their drinking buddy John Barrymore died, Errol Flynn and director Raoul Walsh holed up in a Hollywood bar, wishing they could share one last drink with their old friend. Overcome with grief, Walsh excused himself while Flynn continued drinking. Finally staggering home at 4 a.m., Flynn walked in his front door, flicked on the lights, and who should be reclined in an armchair with drink in hand? His old, dead buddy John Barrymore. Walsh and two compatriots had spirited Barrymore from the funeral parlor for one last farewell round with his chums.

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Editor/Publisher of Modern Drunkard Magazine.