5 Most Controversial Actors of All Time

Many a competitor was thought of for this feature, but here are the 5 that made the biggest splash in their own inimitable way.

Jack Flahavan

Contributor

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The pitfalls of fame are a well documented subject, a fascinating component to the lives of the rich and the famous of whom so many people aspire to be. The downside to their fortune is a fierce reminder to us all that glitz, glamour and gloss are often a distraction for trouble that lurks beneath the surface, where deep-rooted ailments writhe in the confines of beauty and grandeur. Over the decades, many a star has courted controversy, manifesting their discordance in a multitude of ways; sometimes to admirable effect, other times to comic splendour, but there can also be a brutal and violent flipside that even the most artful of performers cannot tame or disguise.

In this feature, the chosen five each offer something different to the table, but they are all bound together by one thing: wastefulness. Though they were all once successful, each displaying their aptitude at various stages in their career, one cannot help but think that they could have been so much more, especially numbers 2 and 5. Controversy is engrossing, and it is often considered the most newsworthy of matters, especially if it occurs in a world where perfection is shamelessly paraded before a lens, but it also provides a universal lesson: wealth and prosperity does not mean felicity.

5. Errol Flynn

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Errol Flynn was the original sinner, the first bonafide bad boy of tinseltown, and his debased antics are of a legendary status. The Aussie-born actor made his name in adventure films in the 1930s including Captain Blood and The Adventures of Robin Hood, where his swashbuckling performances and classical good looks moulded him into a Hollywood heartthrob. In his relatively short life (he only made it to 50), the actor built up a reputation as a hellraiser by womanising and brawling relentlessly, along with drinking copious amounts of alcohol on a daily basis. Flynn was most infamously known for his satyromania, with an appetite that knew no bounds whether it were man or woman, young or old, legal or illegal.

His dear good friend and fellow screen star, David Niven, revealed in his later years that, to his alarm, Flynn once made a pass at him when the two were living in a shared beach house in LA, formerly known as Cirrhosis by the Sea, thereby all but ending their joint tenancy. Accompanied with many tales of debauchery and lechery, Flynn was also accused and once tried for having relations with underage girls, though he escaped conviction during a case in 1942. Additionally, during his lifetime, he was accused of rape, an allegation which he also managed to shake off.

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Posthumously, he has been accused of harbouring Nazi sympathies, operating as a Nazi spy during World War Two, and, to top it off, drug smuggling. Though he passed away many years ago in 1959, just before the 60s came along and society began to liberate itself in the Western world, one would be hard pressed to find anyone who could match Flynn for the title of ‘The King of Controversy’.