Errol Flynn

With a life at least as colorful as the characters he played, Errol Flynn had traveled the world and worked as a gold prospector, journalist and plantation manager before achieving overnight stardom by replacing Robert Donat in the 1935 adventure flick Captain Blood.

Born June 20, 1909, in Hobart, Australia (on the island of Tasmania), Flynn worked briefly on stage before landing a contract with Warner Bros. in 1935. In the 10 years that followed, he strutted, taunted and swashbuckled his way through a series of costume dramas, including The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), Dodge City (1939) and Gentleman Jim (1942).

Flynn's boozing, brawling and financial missteps finally took their toll, however, and though he appeared in a few more memorable films -- including The Sun Also Rises (1957) -- he died of a heart attack Oct. 14, 1959, at age 50.