Elliot has found a new recruit for the Vagabonds. Reckons he can bat a bit. Maybe we could give him a run out if we are short one Sunday.
Photo: Stephen Hyde
Eric’s Obituary from the Daily Telegraph
ERIC FLYNN, who has died aged 62, was a fine male lead in many West End musicals, including Irene, Side by Side by Sondheim, Calamity Jane and Annie Get Your Gun; he was the original Bobby in Stephen Sondheim’s Company and became known to a wider audience when he played Ivanhoe in the BBC’s television adaptation of 1970.
Company – entirely set in the moment that Bobby, a bachelor who could not commit himself romantically, took to blow out the candles on his birthday cake – was one of the most innovative musicals of the 20th century.
Flynn was immediately at home in the part, forming afterwards a special affinity with Sondheim’s work. He also shone in revivals of more traditional shows.
Over the years, Flynn numbered Julia McKenzie, the American pop singer Suzi Quatro and Barbara Windsor among his leading ladies. Eric William Flynn was born on December 13 1939 on Hainan Island in China, where his father was a Customs officer for the Hong Kong government.
After the outbreak of war, young Eric spent his earliest years interned with his family in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in China – an experience which he was to revisit 50 years later when he played a British prisoner in Stephen Spielberg’s film Empire of The Sun.
Eric returned to Britain at the age of 13, and was educated at Chatham House School, Ramsgate, from which he gained a scholarship to Rada, where he met his first wife Fern. After Rada, Flynn was awarded a contract by Granada and presented and sang in shows which featured many of the early popular recording artists.
In 1961 Flynn began his stage career with the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing Amiens in their production of As You Like It, starring Vanessa Redgrave as Rosalind. In 1962-3 he worked at the Old Vic with Tyrone Guthrie and Michael Elliott and played Bassanio in The Merchant of Venice.
He produced a fine performance in the RSC’s production of Brecht’s Caucasian Chalk Circle (Aldwych, 1962) and the following year appeared alongside Charlie Drake at the Palladium in The Man in the Moon.
In 1964, he was engaged by an unlikely group of angels – the Moral Rearmament Association – to play a Christ-figure in Mr Brown Comes Down the Hill at the Westminster Theatre, which the MRA then owned. It was filmed the following year.
After The March Girl (Leatherhead, 1965), the next year Flynn returned to the West End as a caddish, lecherous drunk in The Professor at the Royal Court, and appeared in the comedy Sweet Fanny Adams at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East, with Ronnie Barker.
By this time, Flynn had already appeared in a number of films, and was constantly in demand. He had taken roles in The Avengers and Dr Who and, in 1962, Dr Syn and The Silent Invasion.
He was also engaged, in 1966, by Anglia Television for a part in Weaver’s Green, a short-lived rural competitor for Coronation Street, in which Flynn played the eager young partner of a country vet.
Despite this promising scenario – later to prove such a success for All Creatures Great and Small – the series did not prosper. That year, his “believable blend of baffled irritation and sympathy” in Richard Lortz’s The Others (Leatherhead) was much admired.
In 1970, Flynn played Larry, the politically conscientious lead in Terry Hughes and Alan Fluck’s musical version of Love On The Dole at Nottingham Playhouse, and burst on to television screens as Ivanhoe.
The series – broadcast during the BBC’s prime slot for costume drama, tea time on a Sunday – was their first such programme to be shown in colour, and Flynn proved an “agile and resourceful hero”, according to The Daily Telegraph. The Radio Times billed him as “a knight to remember”.
Flynn’s subsequently concentrated on musicals, in which his fine baritone voice was always in demand. As well as Company, he appeared in Irene (Adelphi, 1975) with Jon Pertwee, and his rendition of Anyone Can Whistle was one of the highlights of Ned Sherrin’s 1978 production of Side by Side by Sondheim at the Garrick.
He played Wild Bill Hickock alongside Barbara Windsor in Calamity Jane at Croydon in 1979, and again put on a cowboy hat as Frank in Annie Get Your Gun (Aldwych, 1986), opposite Suzi Quatro.
In 1989, he was much admired as the Count in a revival of Sondheim’s Little Night Music at Chichester, which transferred to the Piccadilly Theatre.
Flynn, usually known to friends as “Paddy”, lived at Ide Hill, near Sevenoaks, for more than 20 years and was a stalwart of the village cricket team, batting and bowling with the same carefree spirit in which he played the swashbuckling Ivanhoe.
He also discovered the north coast of Pembrokeshire, where he had a holiday home and where the peace was disturbed only by Ide Hill’s riotous bi-annual cricket tours.
Flynn met his second wife while touring in South Africa, where he lived and worked for five years in the early 1980s. They then settled in Pembrokeshire, where they restored a Georgian mansion, which Flynn intended to run as a guest house and pottery studio.
The peace there and his annual retreats in India enabled him to face his final illness with great fortitude. He married, first, in 1959, Fern Warner; they had two sons, the actors Daniel Flynn and Jerome Flynn – who, with Robson Green, scored a number one hit with Unchained Melody – and a daughter.
After the marriage was dissolved in 1980, he married, secondly, in 1981, Caroline Forbes, with whom he had a son and a daughter.
(Note: son mentioned in last line is Johnny Flynn musician and actor)
Jerome Flynn (born 16 March 1963) is an English actor and singer. He is best known for his roles as Paddy Garvey of the King’s Fusiliers in the ITV series Soldier Soldier, Bronn in the hit HBO series Game of Thrones, and Bennet Drake in Ripper Street.
He and his Soldier Soldier co-star Robson Green also performed as Robson & Jerome in the later half of the 1990s. They released a version of “Unchained Melody” which stayed at number 1 for 7 weeks on the UK Chart, selling more than a million copies and becoming the best-selling single of 1995. The duo had two further number 1 singles: “I Believe” and “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted“. Their eponymous debut album and the follow-up Take Two both reached number 1 on the UK Albums Chart.
See his website www.jeromeflynn.com
He is best known for directing the drama film American Beauty (1999), which earned him the Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Director, the crime film Road to Perdition(2002), and the James Bond films Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015).
He also is known for dark re-inventions of the stage musicals Cabaret (1994), Oliver! (1994), Company (1995), and Gypsy (2003). He directed an original West End stage musical for the first time with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013).
In 2000 Mendes was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II for “services to drama” and in the same year was awarded the Shakespeare Prize by the Alfred Toepfer Foundation in Hamburg, Germany. In 2005, he received a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of Great Britain. In 2008 The Daily Telegraph ranked him number 15 in their list of the “100 most powerful people in British culture“.