Photograph of Errol Flynn taken in 1940. Original maintained by the National Library of Australia. Image online courtesy Wikimedia Commons.
Every time you use the expression "In like Flynn" you are recalling the real-life role of the great Hollywood film star. Anyone who has ever seen a swashbuckling Errol Flynn movie knows what a charmer he was. But at no time was his charm more needed than when he was tried for raping two underage girls.
Flynn had a reputation for courting very young women, but this time the whole world knew about it. His trial was a sensation.
Flynn hired a terrific lawyer, Jerry Geisler, to defend him. Starting with the selection of an all-female jury, Geisler took command of the courtroom. His strategy depended on the jury loving the good-looking Flynn instead of hating him for what he allegedly did to the young girls. The strategy paid off.
When Flynn took the stand, he denied all charges. By the time his testimony was over, the courtroom was in near shambles. The women in the audience were giddy from Flynn's performance while the men were singularly unimpressed. The bailiff had to restore order.
The all-female jury acquitted Flynn and, unlike other celebrities whose careers have suffered from such public accusations, Errol became more popular than ever. He continued his high living until he died in 1959. He was just 50 years old.
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