Maurice Bennett Flynn

Maurice Bennett Flynn (May 26, 1892 – March 4, 1959) was an American football player and actor. He was also known as "Lefty" Flynn because in football, he kicked with his left foot.


Flynn was born in Greenwich, Connecticut on May 26, 1892. He later attended Yale University starting in 1910. He was expelled from Yale in January 1913 after he married Irene Leary, a chorus girl.[1] They separated after 11 days, and their divorce became final in 1914. In 1916 he married Blanche Shove Palmer and they had two children, including basketball player and broadcaster Bud Palmer.[2][3]

Between 1919 and 1927, Flynn appeared in 40 feature films, often as the lead actor, and sometimes as a sports hero or daring adventurer.

He moved to Tryon, North Carolina and was married for the third time to Nora Langhorne Phipps. She was the youngest sister of Nancy Astor, Viscountess Astor and of Irene Langhorne, who was married to the artist Charles Dana Gibson. Flynn was married to actress Viola Dana from 1925 to 1929.

Nora, Flynn's third wife, persuaded Lefty to cure his alcoholism through Christian Science treatments. She tried less-than-successfully to convince F. Scott Fitzgerald to try the Mary Baker Eddy approach in March 1934, when she and Lefty were caring for Scottie, Zelda and Scott's daughter, during trying times for a depressed Scott. The next month Fitzgerald published a story, "The Intimate Strangers," based on the Flynns.[4]

He died on March 4, 1959 in Camden, SC[5]. He was 66.

Partial filmography


  1. "Yale Bars Wedded Athlete. 'Lefty' Flynn, Who Married a Chorus Girl, Cannot Return to College". New York Times. January 8, 1913. Retrieved 2009-12-04.
  2. Martin, Douglas (March 22, 2013). "Bud Palmer, Jump Shot Pioneer, Dies at 91". The New York Times.
  3. "'Lefty' Flynn to Wed Again. Former Yale Football Star Will Take Bride Here Tuesday". New York Times. March 3, 1916. Retrieved 2009-12-04. Maurice ("Lefty") Flynn, former Yale football star, has left the ranch near Craig, Col., where he went after his divorce from a Broadway chorus girl, to make a second venture in matrimony. He will be married next Tuesday in New York to Miss Blanche Palmer of New York, a niece of Mrs. E.P. Shove of Colorado Springs.
  4. E. Ray Canterbery and Thomas Birch, "F. Scott Fitzgerald: Under the Influence" (St. Paul: Paragon House, 2006).
  5. "Maurice Flynn, Colonist was 66". The Newport (RI) Daily News. 6 Mar 1959.

Further reading

  • Christgau, John (1999). "The Leader of the Class". Origins of the Jump Shot: Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. pp. 54–78. ISBN 0-8032-6394-5.
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