Lili Damita, Flynn's first wife

Damita and Flynn first met aboard an ocean liner that was taking the French actress and the fledgling actor from England to America in 1935.
He felt attracted to her, but she rebuffed him
and it led to a mutual dislike.

"I hated thees fellow," she later said. "He was so - what you call heem? - so cocky, so stuck-up, thees young fellow w'at nobody even heard of before! He was unbearable. I nevair wanted to see heem again, evair!"

Six months later, the couple that publicly hated each other in Hollywood eloped to Yuma, Arizona and were married. Opposites in many ways, Damita did not share his craving for travel.

After their marriage, Lili said, "You never know when he is telling the truth.
He lies for the fun of it."
In 1939, Lili said, although contentedly, "Being married to Flynn (she called him Flynn and he called her Damita) is exactly like living on top of a volcano. I like that. A volcano which does erupt. Constantly - yes, but daily! We are always just arriving or just leaving. Flynn and I.

"As the term is generally understood, Flynn is not a 'good husband' at all. But he is an exciting person to live with. And that makes him, for me, a very good husband. Because I like to live dangerously, unpeacefully.

"He doesn't know what fear is. He fears neither physical dangers nor the future nor his job nor anything. The crazier the exploits, the better.

"Flynn, like no one else alive, packs the living minute with sixty seconds' worth of distance run.

"I do not want him to settle down, or grow up too much. Children are so mad for Flynn. They know that he is Robin Hood, or Captain Blood, with all his heart. My favorite of his pictures is 'Robin Hood,' because he is Robin Hood."

"He likes a woman to be feminine. That is because he is so very masculine. He is a man's man. He is a man, a young, attractive man. But he has an eye, too, for a pretty face."

Delmer Daves, writer-director:

Lili Damita felt she would lose her young husband after his success as "Captain Blood." She revealed this to a young writer and later to director Delmer Daves at a party after the premiere of the film.

Daves recalled, "Damita, weeping, begged my wife and me again and again, 'Don't… please.. tell him how wonderful he was…' Then more tears as she said over and over (and how true it was), 'Tonight I have lost my husband.' I suppose it did happen that night - for when Errol arrived, boisterously happy, exultant, it was easy to see he meant to enjoy this brave new world that brought him stardom that night. And he did."



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