Monday, December 2, 2013

Death of a Celebrity

Errol Flynn
Born in Australia in June of 1909, Errol Flynn got into movies at the age of 24. He acted in 61 of them; his seventh movie made him a superstar.

Good looking, charming and always with a lady on his arm - Flynn married three times - Errol seemed to have it all. Unfortunately, he drank heavily and smoked and by the early fifties, his popularity waned along with his movie star looks. Add to that, the fact that Errol began to experiment with drugs and his downfall seemed definite.

One day in 1959, Flynn picked up the phone and called stock promoter, George Caldough in Vancouver. He and Caldough were old friends and Flynn called, hoping his old friend could get him out of the financial difficulties the actor had. Unfortunately, Caldough was also in a financial bind. Flynn had the answer though.
Flynn offered to sell Caldough his boat, the Zaca, which Caldough had admired. Caldough thought of an American company raising money through public subscription for a deep-sea treasure hunt off the coast of Spain. Caldough had visions of Flynn at the helm, searching for Spanish Gold. So he flew to California to see his old friend.

He was shocked by actor's appearance. Although it had only been two years since the two had last seen each other, Flynn appeared to have aged closer to 20 and appeared to need help just getting around. Yet he still had the legendary charm.

Flynn and his companion - 17-year-old Beverly Aadland - followed Caldough back to Vancouver. They stayed with Caldough and his family in Eyremount in the British Properties during that October 1959 visit.  Errol Flynn's glory days may have been over but Vancouverites were quite excited to have him visit our fair city. The manager of the Orpheum Theatre, Ivan Ackery, managed to get a short film to show in the theatre in honour of Flynn's visit. Thankful, Errol telephoned Ackery to thank him.
In case you didn't know, Errol Flynn had a general disregard for time. The Caldoughs half-heartedly tried for three days to get him on a flight to New York but they kept missing the plane. After all, there were more people to party with and lots more stories to tell. Finally, Flynn said he had to leave and the party headed to the airport three hours before the departure time. It was October 14, 1959.

On the way there, Flynn started to complain about pain in his legs and back. Caldough was driving and he immediately changed route and went to 1310 Burnaby Street in the West End. Here, in the penthouse apartment, a friend, Dr. Grant Gould, lived. Amazingly, a few people showed up not long after their arrival and another party started.

Flynn was standing against a wall to relieve his back pain while regaling the people with Hollywood stories. Suddenly, he stopped and said he was going to go lay down for an hour then he would take everyone out for dinner. The actor went into the doctor's bedroom and lay on the floor.

Beverly went into check on him a little later and found him trembling and his face blue. She began to scream and the doctor rushed in but it was too late.

According to the death certificate dated October 23, Flynn's death was caused by myocardial infarction, coronary thrombosis, liver degeneration, liver sclerosis, and diverticulitis of the colon. Apparently, the man was a walking skeleton. His lifestyle finally caught up with him.

Thanks to the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the information on Errol Flynn's stay in Vancouver and for the photos.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

, , , , , , ,,


  1. His autobiography "My wicked, wicked, ways" is a terrific read. :)

    1. He did have a few wicked ways didn't he? I bet he had fun though.