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Widow of Errol Flynn dies in Jamaica

2014-03-25 08:32

Jamaica — Patrice Wymore Flynn, a Hollywood actress and cattle rancher who was the widow of swashbuckling screen legend Errol Flynn, has died at her seaside home in northeastern Jamaica. She was 87.

On Monday, family spokesman Robb Callahan said Wymore Flynn died Saturday at her roughly 2,000-acre (800-hectare) ranch in Jamaica's lush Portland parish after battling pulmonary disease for a year.

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.

During her early film career, she worked alongside actors such as Doris Day, Kirk Douglas and Randolph Scott. 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, New Mexico, the 21-year-old actress knew little of the handsome Flynn, then an established 41-year-old star known for his roles in Robin Hood and Captain Blood. Their 1950 marriage in France was her first and his third.

The couple spent much of their nine-year marriage in Jamaica's Portland parish, which Flynn fell in love with shortly after his damaged schooner sailed into Kingston during a 1946 storm. Legends of the actor's carousing and hard-partying ways can still be heard along the northeastern shore he adopted and where he bought scenic coastal property.

A wholesome woman

In a 2000 interview with The Associated Press, Wymore Flynn said she had stopped listening to the roguish stories about her husband years ago and described Jamaica as the couple's retreat from the pressures of Hollywood. In Jamaica, "we were very busy doing nothing. We spent most days rafting. That's not to say there wouldn't be a party on the drop of a hat."

In his autobiography My Wicked, Wicked Ways, Flynn described her 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."

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. But she returned to Jamaica permanently in 1967 where she devoted herself to building up a wicker furniture business and raising cattle, once even 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 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."

For years, the graceful, well-dressed Wymore Flynn was a well-known sight in the capital of Portland parish, where a boat marina is named after her husband.

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

Read more on:    celebrity deaths  |  celebrities
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