John Barrymore's Body
Actor-writer Paul Henreid swore the story was true. When he, Humphrey Bogart, and Peter Lorre were filming Casablanca in 1942, word came that John Barrymore had died. Barrymore had spent his waning days at fellow reprobate Errol Flynn’s house in the Hollywood Hills. Although Henreid insists he didn’t participate, Bogart and Lorre, along with two friends, bribed the mortuary attendant to lend them Barrymore’s body. They carried him to Flynn’s house, propped him in a chair, placed a whiskey in his hand, and waited for Flynn to return.
According to Lorre, Flynn got home, nodded to Barrymore, and was three steps to the bar when he said, “Oh, my God!” followed by orders for everybody to show themselves. They did, more drinks were poured, and stories were told. But Flynn refused to help carry the body back. The Barrymore story, affectionately passed around Hollywood circles for years, was finally dramatized on screen by writer-director Blake Edwards in his 1981 black comedy, S.O.B.