Errol Flynn was a legend in his own lifetime.
He was a swashbuckling, devil may care movie heartthrob of the thirties and forties, a silver screen adventurer and real life playboy with an enlarged heart, a morphine problem, chronic tuberculosis and venereal disease.
He was declared 4-F by the army and died of a heart attack at 50.
Errol’s only son became an actor like his Dad but quickly grew bored with it.
He tried his hand at big game hunting but that didn’t work out.
So he went to Indochina to cover the Vietnam war as a freelance photojournalist, first for the French magazine Paris-Match, then for Time-Life and finally for United Press International.
He attached himself to Special Forces units and irregulars operating behind enemy lines.
In early 1970, he and Dana Stone disappeared in Cambodia, captured by communist guerrillas at a roadblock on Highway One.
They were never heard from again and their remains have never been found. They were believed killed by the Khmer Rouge.
He was not the first or the last.
I first became interested in the subject of combat photograpy when I met Tony Ashby, an award-winning Australian photographer who covered wars in Afghanistan, Lebanon and Ireland and was at the siege of Sarajevo during the Bosnian conflict.
He helped me enormously in writing a book called WarBaby.
Tony is one of those guys who has a bullet with his name on it.
A friend had it engraved after they were strafed by a Serbian MiG running from their downed and burning helicopter somewhere near Sarajevo. The bullet is now on the coffee table in his living room in Marmion, West Australia.
WarBaby is not about war; that’s just the background. It’s about two subjects close to my heart: mateship, and fathers and daughters.
Which brings us neatly back to old Errol Flynn
Do you remember that Bette Midler song, The Rose? It was actually written by Amanda McBroome. She also wrote this song for her father, the actor David Bruce, who actually did play alongside Errol Flynn in those old movies.
It moved me. Perhaps it will move you, too.
TODAY IS THE LAST DAY OF MY GOODREADS BOOK GIVEAWAY!
Giveaway ends March 20, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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