Biographical / Historical
Sean Leslie Flynn was born on May 31, 1941, the only son of actor Errol Flynn and actress Lili Damita. Damita retired from acting following the birth of her son, and the couple divorced in 1942. Damita was later remarried a Midwestern businessman named Allen Loomis. Sean was educated privately, and attended Duke University briefly after his graduation from The Lawrenceville School.
At the age of 15, Sean appeared in an episode of his father's television show, "The Errol Flynn Theater." After his father's death in 1959, Flynn proceeded to act in a number of films, including "The Son of Captain Blood," a sequel to Errol Flynn's popular film "Captain Blood". Flynn was not passionate about acting. In 1964, he traveled to Africa to work as a safari guide and hunt big game. After this trip, he interspersed world travel with the occasional film when funds ran short. Flynn was a talented photographer, and in 1966, as a freelance photojournalist, he entered the combat areas of Southern Vietnam.
A daring photographer, Flynn attached himself to high-risk operations in order to capture the most striking images. Flynn left Vietnam briefly in 1966 to film his last movie, "Five Ashore in Singapore." In 1967, he transferred to Israel to cover the Six-Day war in 1967. In 1968, he returned to Vietnam to cover the Tet Offensive. In the spring of 1970 Flynn entered Cambodia to cover the Northern Vietnamese advances into the country.
On April 6, 1970, Flynn and fellow photojournalist Dana Stone set off on motorcycles on Cambodia's Highway one. The pair was reportedly kidnapped at a roadblock by guerillas associated with the Khmer Rouge. Nothing is known about how long Flynn or Stone may have survived after their capture, and neither was seen again. Lily Damita poured tremendous effort and resources into finding her son, but after fourteen years without any evidence of his survival, he was declared legally dead in 1984. Before her death in 1994, Lily Damita willed her son's remaining papers and personal effects, along with photographs, to the Lawrenceville School Archives.