Patrice Wymore Flynn, widow of Errol Flynn, died Saturday at her home in Jamaica never having remarried — though her swashbuckling movie star husband died almost 55 years earlier. She was 87.
An up-and-coming Hollywood starlet when she met Errol Flynn while filming an otherwise forgettable 1950 western Rocky Mountain, she married him later that year.
Errol Flynn broke off his engagement to a Romanian princess to wed Patrice Wymore, who was 24 at the time. Errol Flynn was 41.
Their marriage lasted nine years, but was already badly on the rocks by the time Flynn died at age 50 of a heart attack in 1959. The star who had already once been arrested and tried for statutory rape, in one of Hollywood’s biggest scandals of the 1940s, had left Wymore for a 15-year-old chorus girl and was with her in Vancouver, Canada, when he died.
It was a fitting end for Errol Flynn, who since his arrival in Hollywood from his native Australia via England in 1935, developed a well-earned reputation as an inveterate womanizer. He was acquitted, however, on the 1943 statutory rape charge.
But Patrice Wymore was able to see past her husband’s extramarital escapades and after his death never said a bad word about Errol Flynn publicly, saying simply, “he lost his way.”
Despite his scandals, when he met Patrice Wymore, Errol Flynn was still one of Hollywood’s most successful action heroes, as he had been since his starring debut in the 1935 pirate film Captain Blood. He had already been married twice when he married Patrice Wymore, 17 year his junior.
Errol Flynn professed a desire, which would go unfulfilled, to leave his playboy past behind and settle down.
“Patrice typified everything that I was not, and I presumed that she knew what my life was, since my life had been an open newspaper,” the star later wrote, in an autobiography which he titled, with remarkable candor, My Wicked, Wicked Ways. “She could cook Indian curry, she could dance, she could sing, she was reserved, she had beauty, dignity, homebody qualities that go toward making a sensible and lasting marriage.”
The couple settled in Portland, Jamaica, an area that they loved and that took them far from the intense glare of Hollywood publicity — though the couple frequently hosted their big-name movie star friends at parties there.
After the death of Errol Flynn, Wymore continued her career, starring opposite Frank Sinatra and a group of his show biz buddies in the “Rat Pack” movie Oceans Eleven.
But she soon set Hollywood aside to stay in Jamaica’s Portland parish year-round, where she became a successful cattle rancher.
“She adopted Portland as her home and never stopped promoting it,” said Daryl Vaz, a member of Jamaica’s parliament who was friends with Patrice Wymore. “Hence it became the playground for the rich and famous.”
Patrice Wymore, who said that she never listened to the scandalous Errol Flynn tales still written about years after his death, died of pulmonary disease. The one child she and Errol Flynn had together, their daughter Arnella, died in 1998.