Turner Classic Movies
Flynn, Deirdre - Interview
Written by Diana Saenger   

Deirdre Flynn, Errol Flynn's daughter with actress Nora Eddington, was kind enough to consent to an interview in conjunction with the release of Warner Home Video's Errol Flynn: The Signature Collection which contains five all-time favorite films from Errol Flynn including, Captain Blood, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, The Sea Hawk, They Died with Their Boots On and Dodge City. Exclusive only to this gift set, the collection also contains an all-new feature length documentary The Adventures of Errol Flynn (2005).

Deirdre Flynn was born in 1945 and was the second child born to Flynn after his son Sean from actress Lili Damita. He would have another daughter, Rory, with Eddington, and another daughter, Arnella, with Patrice Wymore.

Deirdre had few years to spend with her famous dad as she was only 14 when he died, but she has many, many fond memories of her father.

Q. Where did you live as a child?

Deirdre: On Mulholland Drive, my father's place. We had six acres and all kinds of animals and horses. It was really fun.

Q. Your dad had already made many of his films by the time you were old enough to know what was going on, when did you become aware of your father's and mother's celebrity?

Deirdre: We were raised normally, our household was very normal. I thought everybody's father made movies. I didn't become aware of his celebrity until I was about 10 or 11. We'd be out in public and everyone would ask for autographs; and I didn't know why they wanted his autograph. We were raised in a non-professional atmosphere. The people who came over were just friends of my parents.

Q. I imagine you met many classic film stars in your home? Did you have a favorite?

Deirdre: We had parties and gatherings, but to us they were just friend. Years later I would look back and go oh wow, that was Gary Cooper. As far as favorites, there was only my dad. I wasn't impressed with anyone because our house was so normal. We weren't sheltered or anything like that. We just lived normal lives.

Q. Did your dad go to Hollywood gatherings?

Deirdre: He didn't hang out, he wasn't a party guy. He was very much a home body, I know that sounds strange with all the publicity about him, but he was just a regular guy at home.

Q. Your dad had an adventurous life, traveling the world and sailing the high sea. Did you ever go on any of his adventures with him?

Deirdre: Not really, but just being here in town was an adventure. Everywhere we went people made a big deal about him.

Q. Did you go on any sets with you dad?

Deirdre: Yes, I was on the set of "Don Juan" and "Montana" and some TV programs. It was fun, except you had to keep quiet. Along with my stunt work, I did a lot of stand in work. People think making movies is glamorous, but it's really not.

Q. Olivia de Havilland explains in the documentary that years after your dad and Bette made The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, she and Davis watched it again and she said to de Havilland, "He was wonderful in the film." What do you know about that?

Deirdre: She (Davis) once told me that he used to make her crazy because he didn't approach his films the same way she did. She was absolutely a professional where my father always knew his lines, but he didn't like to rehearse that much. He'd walk on the set and say let's go, and he always came through. She also said she really liked him.

Q. Did you really realize he was spiraling downward?

Deirdre: Yeah, you could see it. We had a very open household, and I could have talked to him about it, but he knew what his situation was. It was a little late for me to say anything at that point anyway, and he was pretty much set in his ways during his whole life.

Q. He lived his life to the fullest.

Deirdre: Yes, my dad lived life the way like he wanted. If most of us could only live half our life like he did...

Q. You didn't get to have him around very long.

Deirdre: No, I was almost 15 when he died, but the years that I did have him were wonderful.

Q. In a way you went into show business, too.

Deirdre: I did stunt work for 20 years. I was always very athletic. My father gave me a pony for my fourth birthday so I grew up riding horses and being very athletic. I never had a desire to be actress so I thought stunt work would be a very good job and I enjoyed it very much.

Q. What do you do today?

Deirdre: I work in the video business.

Q. What do you think about the new collection of your father's films?

Deirdre: I think Warner Brothers did a wonderful job on the collection. It's very impressive, and with the set you get the documentary and that's really terrific. I think it's the best things they've done.

Q. What will this do for Errol Flynn fans?

Deirdre: It's a great chance for new fans to discover and cherish him like his classic fans, which is so wonderful. The fans he has just amaze me, and the people that collect his stuff. When I grew up I didn't worship an idol, the pictures on my wall were of horses.

Q. What do you want movie fans to know about your father?

Deirdre: That he was a much better actor than he was given credit for, I think these films, especially the documentary, will point that out, it's very moving, very touching and very informative.




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