Patrice Wymore: Actress and dancer who gave up her career to care for her daughter and her ailing husband, Errol Flynn

The actress and dancer Patrice Wymore made a pleasant impression as a contract player at Warners in the early 1950s, but she will best be remembered as the third and final wife of the famed swashbuckling star Errol Flynn, hero of such films as Captain Blood (1935) and The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938).

The couple met while filming the western Rocky Mountain (1950) in New Mexico – Flynn was 17 years senior. They married the same year, and lived initially on Flynn's yacht before purchasing a coconut plantation in Jamaica. They had a daughter, but eventually Flynn's roistering life style and addiction to alcohol and drugs separated them, though they remained married until his death in 1959.

Born Patricia Wymore in Kansas in 1926, she was the daughter of vaudevillians, with whom she performed from the age of six, becoming an accomplished singer and dancer. She made her Broadway debut in the hit musical, Up in Central Park (1945), and later had roles in the short-lived musical comedy Hold It! (1948), for which she won a Theatre World award as "promising actress", and the revue All for Love (1949).

During the latter's five-month run she was spotted by a talent scout for Warners and signed to a contract. She made her screen debut in Tea for Two (1950), inspired by the stage hit No, No Nanette and one of the best musicals that the studio made with their major star, Doris Day. As an acerbic showgirl Wymore displayed an offbeat personality and telling way with dialogue, and she partnered dancer-choreographer Gene Nelson in the number "Crazy Rhythm". She also figured in the song "Call of the Sea", executing impressive pirouettes and backward "scissor steps" that became a trademark.

After playing leading lady to Flynn in Rocky Mountain, she was cast in another Doris Day musical, a biography of the lyricist Gus Kahn, I'll See You In My Dreams (1951). In a role loosely based on the '20s and '30s singer and actress Ruth Etting, she was a Follies star who tries flirting with Kahn, and is warned off by his wife (played by Day). She sang "Love Me or Leave Me" (later performed by Day when she played Etting on screen), and had an amusing scene where, reading the sheet music of "Carolina in the Morning" for the first time, she asks, "What sort of cock-a-mamie lyric is that?"

After playing herself and singing "Liza" in Starlift (1951), the all-star movie about Hollywood's scheme to entertain troops in Korea, she starred opposite Kirk Douglas in a logging adventure, The Big Trees (1952). In two musicals starring Virginia Mayo, She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) and She's Back on Broadway (1953), she had her finest dancing opportunities, partnering the Blackburn Twins in the former.

After filming The Man Behind the Gun (1953) with Randolph Scott she gave birth to her daughter Arnella and retired from the screen to bring up the child and care for the increasingly debilitated Flynn. Arnella, a one-time fashion model, died of an apparent drug overdose in 1998.

In an interview she gave in 2000, Flynn said she had stopped listening to the roguish stories about her husband and described Jamaica as the couple's retreat from the pressures of Hollywood. In Jamaica, she recalled, "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."

Wymore returned briefly to acting in 1955, co-starring with Flynn and Anna Neagle in a UK-produced screen version of the Ivor Novello operetta King's Rhapsody, and in 1957 she took roles in five episodes of Flynn's television series, Errol Flynn Theatre. On Flynn's death, she inherited the plantation, plus a mansion and a cattle ranch, but she returned to acting occasionally, appearing in summer theatre musicals including Guys and Dolls and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and television shows including Perry Mason and 77 Sunset Strip.

In 1960 she took a small role in Ocean's 11, starring Frank Sinatra. Later she opened a boutique and started a wicker furniture manufacturing business in Portland, Jamaica, where she was also noted for philanthropy and her work for the area's community.

Patricia Wymore, actress, dancer and singer: born Miltonvale, Kansas 17 December 1926; married 1950 Errol Flynn (died 1959; one daughter deceased); died Portland, Jamaica 22 March 2014.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Babysitter Katie and Paul have terse words in the park
tvReview: The strength of the writing keeps viewers glued to their seats even when they are confronted with the hard-hitting scenes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
American singer, acclaimed actor of stage and screen, political activist and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson (1898 - 1976), rehearses in relaxed mood at the piano.
filmSinger, actor, activist, athlete: Paul Robeson was a cultural giant. But prejudice and intolerance drove him to a miserable death. Now his story is to be told in film...
Sport
England’s opening goalscorer Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain battles with Scotland’s Charlie Mulgrew
FootballEngland must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Life and Style
Make-up artists prepare contestants for last year’s Miss World, held in Budapest
fashion
Sport
Wigan Athletic’s back-of-the shirt sponsor Premier Range has pulled out due to Malky Mackay’s arrival
Football
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: FP&A Manager Supply Chain

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Argyll Scott is recruiting for a Permane...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property NQ+

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: COMMERCIAL PROPERTY SOLI...

Argyll Scott International: Retail Commercial Finance Analyst

Benefits: Argyll Scott International: Due to further expansion, a leading inte...

Langley James : Senior Technician; Promotion & Training Opp; Borough; upto £32k

£27000 - £32000 per annum + training: Langley James : Senior Technician; Promo...

Day In a Page

US immigration: President Obama ready to press ahead with long-promised plan to overhaul 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?

Immigration: Obama's final frontier

The President is ready to press ahead with the long-promised plan to overhaul America's 'broken system' - but will it get past a Republican-controlled Congress?
Bill Cosby rape allegations explained: Why are these allegations coming out now? Why didn’t these women come forward earlier? And why has nobody taken legal action?

Bill Cosby rape allegations explained

Why are these allegations coming out now? Why has nobody taken legal action? And what happens next for the man once thought of as 'America's Dad'
Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain

You know that headache you’ve got?

Four years of excruciating seizures caused by the 1cm tapeworm found burrowing through a man's brain
Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?

Scoot commute

Travelling to work by scooter is faster than walking and less sweaty than cycling, so why aren’t we all doing it?
Paul Robeson: The story of how an American icon was driven to death to be told in film

The Paul Robeson story

How an American icon was driven to death to be told in film
10 best satellite navigation systems

Never get lost again: 10 best satellite navigation systems

Keep your vehicle going in the right direction with a clever device
Paul Scholes column: England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil

Paul Scholes column

England must learn to keep possession and dictate games before they are exposed by the likes of Germany and Brazil
Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win says defender as he prepares to return with Hull

Michael Dawson: I’ll thank Spurs after we win

Hull defender faces his struggling former club on Sunday ready to show what they are missing. But he says he will always be grateful to Tottenham
Frank Warren column: Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game

Frank Warren column

Dr Wu has big plans for the professionals yet he should stick to the amateur game
Synagogue attack: Fear unites both sides of Jerusalem as minister warns restoring quiet could take 'months'

Terror unites Jerusalem after synagogue attack

Rising violence and increased police patrols have left residents of all faiths looking over their shoulders
Medecins sans Frontieres: The Ebola crisis has them in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa

'How do you carry on? You have to...'

The Ebola crisis has Medecins sans Frontieres in the headlines, but their work goes far beyond West Africa
Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Isis extends its deadly reach with suicide bombing in Kurdish capital

Residents in what was Iraq’s safest city fear an increase in jihadist attacks, reports Patrick Cockburn
Underwater photography competition winners 2014 - in pictures

'Mysterious and inviting' shot of diver wins photography competition

Stunning image of cenote in Mexico takes top prize
Sir John Major: Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting

Sir John Major hits out at theatres

Negative West End portrayals of politicians put people off voting
Kicking Barbie's butt: How the growth of 3D printing enabled me to make an army of custom-made figurines

Kicking Barbie's butt

How the growth of 3D printing enabled toy-designer to make an army of custom-made figurines