My Wicked, Wicked Ways
The Aurum Press 2005 cover
|Original title||My Wicked, Wicked Ways|
|Publisher||G. P. Putnam's Sons
Cooper Square Press
New edition (25 Feb 2005)
My Wicked, Wicked Ways is an autobiography written by Australian actor Errol Flynn with the aid of ghostwriter Earl Conrad. It was released posthumously following the sudden death of the actor and became immensely popular for its cynical tone and candid depiction of the world of filmmaking in Hollywood. My Wicked, Wicked Ways has sold over one million copies and still sells remarkably well, with paperback sales in the United Kingdom between 1992 and 1999 amounting to £18,500. The book has never been out of print.
The original publisher, Putnam paid an advance of $9,000 to Flynn for the rights of his autobiography. Ghostwriter Earl Conrad was sent to Flynn's home in Jamaica to collaborate with the actor throughout the writing period. According to Beverly Aadland, Flynn's teenage girlfriend, Conrad was usually drunk and spent most of his time chasing Jamaican women. Aadland also claims that she and Flynn had difficulty removing him, saying "He was basically a doorstop with paid vacation". Jeffrey Meyers' introduction in the Aurum edition of My Wicked, Wicked Ways claims that Errol dictated the book to Conrad from August to October 1958, and that he was a "literary stand in".
Conrad would eventually publish his own book, Errol Flynn: A Memoir in 1979 depicting Flynn's final year, their literary collaboration, and hearing the news of the actor's untimely death.
Beverly Aadland's remarks concerning Earl Conrad were rumored to be due to her jealousy of Mr. Conrad. When she complained to Errol that he was paying all his attention to the book and little to her Errol reportedly responded to her complaint, "That's right! I'm paying a helluva lot of attention to my book! Twenty-four hours a day and I'm going to keep on!"
The book is noteworthy for its depictions of major Hollywood players from the Classic Hollywood period including Jack L. Warner, John Barrymore, Bruce Cabot, Flynn's first wife Lili Damita and director Michael Curtiz. Flynn also writes of falling in love with co-star Olivia de Havilland.
Praise for the book
"This is a major autobiography in the tradition of Cellini, Casanova, and Frank Harris." – The Guardian
"Flynn set the record straight and is brutally honest in his posthumously published self-portrait. This restored version of the 1959 original contains numerous passages deleted from earlier editions for fear of lawsuits—he was equally brutal in his portrayal of many Hollywood big shots—plus eight pages of photos and a new introduction by biographer Jeffrey Meyers." – Library Journal
"A document on Hollywood life far beyond its fan magazine fascination… . [Flynn] delivers footnotes to film history that are hard to come by." – San Francisco Chronicle
"The Tasmanian-actor portrays himself not as a debonair swashbuckler but as a chronically unhappy soul whose luck, talent and high spirits vaulted him to fame, even as he remained unfulfilled until the end." – Indiana Gazette
"...the confessions of a rake, unsparing of himself or anyone else..." – Newsweek
"Incredibly absorbing… . Just as in life, Flynn spares himself nothing—and from his book emerges the same roguish charm that endeared his celluloid incarnation to millions." – Saturday Review
"Flynn writes cleverly, as he talked. He has left us a good book." – The New York Times
- A TV movie adaptation called My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn directed by Don Taylor and starring Duncan Regehr as Flynn was released in 1985.
Doris Keating, daughter of Barry Mahon, Flynn's one time business manager, optioned the book in 1977. It took her several years to find finance.
"Some people at the networks felt maybe he just wasn't likable enough," Miss Keating said, "But I persisted. I felt I owed it to him to present his story the way he wrote it. The film is my valentine to him."
She managed to get up the film as a TV movie for CBS. The film focuses on the years 1935 to 1943, ending with the rape trial. Keating said if the film was successful she wanted to do a prequel about Flynn's life in New Guinea, but this did not eventuate.
- Flynn, Errol (1959). My Wicked, Wicked Ways. Aurum Press. pp. 5–6. ISBN 0-8154-1250-9.
- "Genius for living driven by a lust for death". The Australian. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
- Flynn, Errol (1959). My Wicked, Wicked Ways. Aurum Press. pp. 3–4. ISBN 0-8154-1250-9.
- Andrews, Emily (17 June 2009). "Errol Flynn? He never had his wicked way with me, says Gone With The Wind star Olivia de Havilland". Daily Mail. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
- My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn (TV 1985), IMDb.com
- "Errol Flynn TV Docudrama Raises Complaints", Farber, StephenView Profile. New York Times, Late Edition (East Coast) [New York, N.Y] 16 January 1985: C.22.
- "TV 'Tribute to Flynn' Won't Be That Wicked: Flynn TV Bio", Richard, Julie. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 27 December 1983: g1.