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    She Can Handle Him!—Errol Flynn & Patrice Wymore

    Errol Flynn roared to a stop outside the Mocambo. Climbing carefully out of his incongruously small and expensive Jaguar, Errol spotted me, and volunteered, “Pat’s coming along later. She’s at a girl party.” . . . Later, the third Mrs. Flynn, blonde, beautiful in a black strapless gown, sauntered into the Mo, and asked me very casually, “Where’s Errol?”

    “Over there with David May,” I told her.

    “Oh, my goodness,” groaned Pat, sensing trouble. And she dashed into the powder room.

    So, being of a naturally curious disposition, I bee-lined for Flynn, and barged smack into a weird situation. “I’m not letting go of this so-and-so,” said Errol with both arms wrapped around one of Mr. May’s, “until he pays what he owes me.” And he held on, even though David, a nice boy, assured me he owed Errol nothing.

    For three incredible hours, Errol refused to let go. May, who didn’t want a fight, stood when Errol stood, ate and drank with his left hand, sat when Errol sat, tried to smile it off as nothing unusual.

    Meanwhile, Pat, when she emerged from powdering, put on her thick glasses—she’s terribly nearsighted—and took in the situation. Then she swiftly whipped off her cheaters, and left to join friends at the other end of the room. She didn’t go near Errol, until he tired of his sport and wanted to go home.

    I don’t know of any other wife in Hollywood, or anywhere, who wouldn’t have tried to interfere in what could have been a very unpleasant situation. But this is why Pat Wymore has succeeded with Flynn where two other wives and ten other lady loves failed. She leaves him alone, never tells him what to do, accepts with equanimity everything he does.

    She isn’t kidding when she says, “I understand Errol.” She does. And if she continues the way she began, I believe this marriage will go on, because at last, Errol has found someone who knows exactly how to handle him.

    And he loves it. Where wife number one, tempestuous Lili Damita, was possessive, and bride number two, meek and sweet Nora Eddington, was dependent, Pat is neither. She isn’t possessive, and she’s quite independent, in spirit as well as financially. Lili used to scream at Flynn and throw plates at his ducking head. Nora had to live with her family and wait for weekend invitations from Errol for herself and their two children. Pat doesn’t throw anything, neither does she wait for anything. She’s full-time wife and homemaker in the comfortable Flynn mansion.

    Pat’s the only one of the Flynn wives to keep house in the full sense of the word. Lili couldn’t be bothered and Nora wasn’t permitted. But Pat you can find every day at the Sunset and Laurel markets, pinching vegetables, discussing meat cuts and standing for no nonsense from the butcher. To look at her, you wouldn’t know that this hep housekeeper is a movie star in her own right and the wife of Mr. Flynn to boot. Pat’s shopping uniform is a shapeless polo coat, a hat that is ditto, and thick horn-rimmed glasses. A refreshing change of costume for Errol, who couldn’t stand Lili’s preoccupation with the haute monde and with herself. Lili seemed to be always putting on fresh lipstick, always combing her hair.

    But never underestimate the power of the first Mrs. Flynn. She made her husband what he is today. She wooed him when he was earning $70 a week as a corpse in “The Case of the Curious Bride,” married him after he landed in “Captain Blood,” and gave him the run of her house on the Appian Way, near Rome. And Errol—no Roman he—did a heck of a lot of roaming.

    He still does. But apparently it doesn’t bother Pat. When he went to Las Vegas that time without telling her, she said, “Ridiculous, I’d have known anyway.” And when the story was in the papers, Pat said with a twinkle in her eyes, “You know Errol.” And this is the one way to get him to stay with her. More and more, they go to Europe together, to his plantation in Jamaica. Nora considered herself lucky to be invited once. And that was a short trip. They quarreled and she returned to the U. S. in a huff.

    It was different when Pat left Errol in Jamaica because she had to work in an added scene at Warners. She arrived in Hollywood at three in the morning, worked all day at the near-by Chatsworth location, and flew back to Flynn’s waiting arms, at ten the same night!

    Unlike Lili, Pat is the least jealous girl I’ve ever met. When Errol forgets he isn’t a bachelor, and dances with other girls, Pat does ditto with other men, and Flynn comes to heel in a hurry. Pat didn’t even get her green-eyed dander up when a so-called friend told her that Errol, meeting Nora recently at a party, took her into another room and had a long conversation with her. This may or may not have been true, but I do know that Nora visited Errol in his studio dressing room at U-I during her brief separation from Dick Haymes. “To talk about the children,” Errol explained. It was fine with Pat, who was busy on the Warner lot in “She’s Working Her Way Through College.”

    She likes Errol’s collection of friends. This was a sore spot with his previous wives. She even likes his other wives. And not long ago there was a Noel Cowardish “Design for Living,” with Pat entertaining Lili and Nora, who called to visit Sean and Rory and Dierdre, who were visiting Daddy. Daddy found the situation harder to take, and discovered some important gardening to do!

    Errol has always fallen in love when he has least expected to. He found Lili on a boat—circa, 1933. She was a big star then, friend of British Royalty. But she preferred “Fleen,” as she used to scream his name. Now Errol is screaming over the huge alimony he has to pay her. After their divorce, I quite believed him when he made a bet with me that he would never marry again.

    He was involved in a serious trial—the famous looking-through-the-port-hole case—and there was a beautiful cigarette girl, Nora Eddington, outside the courtroom. The next thing, they were being married very secretly in Mexico, which must have been as big a surprise to Nora as it was to us—and Flynn.

    But the way he wooed and won Pat was the most surprising of all. First I’ll have to explain Pat a bit. A lovely gal from Kansas, she was singing and dancing in New York, when Warners cast her as the vampire in “Tea for Two.” She did fine, so they gave her the female lead in “Rocky Mountain,” starring Errol who, at the time, was engaged to Rumanian Princess Irene Ghika.

    Errol called Irene “The Gheek,” but he loved her and took her along on location to Gallup, New Mexico. His first sight of Pat was hardly promising. She was in the make-up tent, with her face smothered in cold cream. “I looked horrible,” says Pat. “It was an awful way to make an impression on my leading man.” Errol backed away, embarrassed, into the arms of laving Princess Ghika.

    A week later, when I heard that Errol was seeing a lot of his leading lady, I said, “Uh, huh, publicity!” But a week after that, when they all returned to Hollywood, the Princess vanished, went back to Europe, and Errol gave a party and announced at 2 A.M., “Patty and I are getting married.” The wedding was in Monte Carlo, October 23rd, 1950.

    There were problems immediately—little things like the father of a sixteen-year-old girl suing Errol on a morals charge. But Pat stood right by her new groom. It was a painful honeymoon for Errol. He fell on the gangplank of his yacht the Zaca and suffered an injury to his back that he still hasn’t recovered from.

    After the marriage, Errol had to guide Pat’s hand when she cut the cake—“the third and last cake,” he said. She almost cut him. In bridal costume she didn’t wear her specs. (Always when he is doing something she doesn’t like, off come the glasses, and she can smile vaguely at him from a distance without registering disapproval.)

    Pat, unlike some other Hollywood wives, whom we wont embarrass by naming, rarely visits her husband on the set. When she does, she effaces herself in his dressing room or watches scenes on other sets. “It makes him self-conscious. I shouldn’t be here,” she says. And when he comes home tired after work, she is bright, fresh and never asks questions. She kids him, pours out a drink. “That Patty is so wonderful, I don’t see how she does it,’ says Flynn, who knows how difficult he can be for a wife.

    They read scripts together—he never did this with Nora. He did with Lili, but she was too much on the over-powering side. Errol is much more serious about his career than he used to be. It might have been coincidence, but he always had his operations on studio time, waiting until his picture had started and he was on the payroll before hopping into the hospital. However, with his last picture, “Against All Flags,” temperature of 102!

    Errol actually toiled with His manager, Al Blum, used to send Nora her spending allowance. Errol wouldn’t dream of doing this to Pat. He is careful with his money, but wife number three can have all the charge accounts she wants. Fortunately for Errol, she’d just as soon wear slacks or a peasant skirt. And she’s a great manager. Errol’s household bills have dropped fifty per cent since Patty took them over. And she spends her own money on the house—a lamp here, sheets there—and is always buying him little personal bits of jewelry.

    Most wives don’t like their husbands to have a pretty secretary. Errol’s secretary is a beauty, and she works at the house—but that’s still fine with Pat. This is the most even-tempered wife Errol will ever get, and he’ll be crazy if he loses her. She even likes to cook—and can. So can Errol, and it’s indicative of how tamed the tiger is that Sundays he prefers not to see his men pals, would rather spend the time with Pat alone, barbecuing in their beautiful hillside garden. And Errol is now a TV fan; never misses the Groucho Marx show.

    Pat loves children, and all three of Errol’s kids love her. She’s gay and sweet with them. And no matter what Errol does in the way of crazy stuff—and he does plenty—he’s a fine father and adores having the children with him.

    “It’s fun living with Errol,” says Pat. (Other wives called it something else.) “I never know what he’ll do when he comes in the door.” But she’s agreeable—whether its going to Acapulco, catching a plane for Jamaica, or just taking a walk down the road.

    Errol, who was dead set against a career for Nora, is doing everything to encourage Pat’s. They’ve planned a song, dance and patter act for future theatrical appearances and they might follow the fashion set by Charles Laughton with a program of reading.

    In Jamaica, they call Pat “Mistress Flynn,” and she likes it. She says the life there is heaven and she has invested some of her own money in Errol’s cattle and cocoanuts. She is also part owner of the $250,000 bungalow hotel Errol plans to build in Apple Valley. In fact, it was Pat who chose the site and transacted the business. And she says she won’t mind a hoot if Errol spends months there without her. She believes that a four months’ vacation from marriage every year helps it to last longer with Mr. Flynn. When he says, “Darling, I have to go away,” she replies, “That’s fine, Honey.” She’s very trusting. “You can’t confine him,” she says. “You have to give him his head—which is fine with me.”

    Right now Errol is in London where he’s working on “Master of Ballantrae” for Warner Brothers, while Pat is at their plantation in Jamaica. But she plans to join him in England for a joint holiday.

    Errol is very proud of Pat. “A solid American girl, a real beauty,” is how he described her to me.

    He has a devilish sense of humor. Errol likes to shock people. At his last bachelor party, Errol offered his guests a mice race, and named each mouse after a favorite girl. There was no Pat in his life then, but she would probably have gone along with the gag as she does with everything else for Errol.

    It occurs to me, as it must have to you, that Pat must love Errol a great deal and that is why she is determined to make the marriage work, and the reason why she doesn’t “make like a wife.” Because if she did, that would be the beginning of the end. And if Errol is as smart as he is clever and charming when he wants to be, he’ll make sure that Pat never falls out of love with him.





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