When Kansas-born Patrice Wymore was only six years of age, she began touring with her family in tent shows and in vaudeville, her mother being a pianist and singer on the circuit. In contrast, her father was a trucking line exec. Trained in voice, the lovely, fair-haired teenager gambled on a try in New York and it paid off. Performing in “Up in Central Park” in 1947, she made her Broadway debut a year later in the musical “Hold It!” and won the Theatre World Award for “promising actress.” Following her Broadway role in another musical, “All for Love” in 1949, the wide set-eyed beauty was handed a starlet contract by Warner Bros. and headed west to seek her fame and fortune. She found a little bit of both.
Patrice made her debut in a singing role in the nostalgic Doris Day/Gordon MacRae tunefest Tea for Two (1950). Fate took a hand when she was cast opposite the much older Errol Flynn in Rocky Mountain (1950), one of the aging actor’s lesser-known efforts. Patrice became the final Mrs. Errol Flynn in October of 1950 after a hasty marriage in Monaco. Daughter Arnella, who later would become a model in Europe, was born in 1953. The couple moved to Jamaica and also traveled by yacht overseas. By the time of his marriage, Flynn was already in a severe decline both physically and mentally and the marriage was a difficult one. After typically playing the “other woman” in several other Warner efforts, including I’ll See You in My Dreams (1951), She’s Working Her Way Through College (1952), The Big Trees (1952), She’s Back on Broadway (1953), and in the British-made King’s Rhapsody (1955).
Patrice felt compelled to retire in order to tend to her ailing husband and the raising of their daughter. His drug/alcohol addictions, however, became too overwhelming, and she eventually was forced to separate from Flynn. They never divorced by the time he died at age 50 in October of 1959, although he was living with someone else. Patrice never remarried.
Following Flynn’s passing, Wymore attempted a comeback and began performing in a nightclub act in Vegas and in stock musicals such as “Carnival,” Guys and Dolls,” “Irma La Douce,” and “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” On camera she was cast in the short-lived soap opera Never Too Young (1965) and appeared secondarily in the films Ocean’s 11 (1960) and Chamber of Horrors (1966).
Patrice eventually retired again in the late 1960s and returned to Jamaica with her daughter to the mansion Flynn built and bequeathed to her along with a cattle ranch and 2,000-acre coconut plantation. She also went into business operating a boutique and wicker furniture manufacturing plant. Patrice also continued to be active in her late husband’s estate and attends tributes and dedications to him.
Tragedy struck when her daughter Arnella, who gave Patrice a grandson (actor Luke Flynn), died of a drug overdose in 1998. Patrice herself died of pulmonary complications on March 22, 2014.
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