David Niven

Birthday: Mar 1, 1910
Birthplace: Not Available
The son a well-to-do British Army captain who died in the battle of Gallipoli in 1915, David Niven was shipped off to a succession of boarding schools by his stepfather, who didn't care much for the boy. Young Niven hated the experience and was a poor student, but his late father's reputation helped him get admitted to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and he was later commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry. Rakishly handsome and naturally charming, Lt. Niven met a number of high society members while stationed in Malta, and, through their auspices, made several important contacts while attending parties. Although he later claimed to have been nothing more than a wastrel-like "professional guest" at this stage of his life, Niven was actually excellent company, a superb raconteur, and a loyal friend, and he paid back his social obligations by giving lavish parties of his own once he become famous. Niven also insisted that he fell into acting without any prior interest, although he had done amateur theatricals in college.Following his military discharge, Niven wandered the world working odd jobs ranging from a lumberjack to a gunnery instructor for Cuban revolutionaries to (by his own account) a petty thief. He became a Hollywood extra in 1935, and eventually came to the attention of producer Samuel Goldwyn, who had been building up a stable of attractive young contract players. Having made his speaking debut in Without Regret (1935), Niven quickly learned how to successfully get through a movie scene. After several secondary roles for Goldwyn, he was loaned out for a lead role in the 20th Century Fox feature Thank You, Jeeves (1936). The actor formed lasting friendships with several members of Hollywood's British community -- notably Errol Flynn, with whom he briefly lived -- and was quite popular with the American-born contingent as well, especially the ladies.Although he worked steadily in the '30s, it was usually in support of bigger stars; he was seldom permitted to carry a film by himself, except for such modest productions as Dinner at the Ritz (1937) and Raffles (1939). Anxious to do something more substantial than act during World War II, Niven re-entered the British service as a Lieutenant Colonel, where he served nobly, if not spectacularly. (His batman, or valet, during the war was a Pvt. Peter Ustinov, himself an actor of no mean talent.) Married by the end of the war, Niven went back to films but found that he still wasn't getting any important roles; despite ten years experience, he was considered too "lightweight" to be a major name. His life momentarily shattered by the accidental death of his wife in 1946, Niven's spirit was restored by his second marriage to Swedish model Hjordis Tersmeden, his wife of 37 years until the actor's death. Once again, Niven took a self-deprecating attitude towards his domestic life, claiming to be a poor husband and worse father, but despite the time spent away from his family, they cherished his concern and affection for them.After his Goldwyn contract ended in 1949, Niven marked time with inconsequential movies before joining Dick Powell, Charles Boyer, and Ida Lupino to form Four Star, a television production company. Niven was finally able to choose strong dramatic roles for himself, becoming one of TV's first and most prolific stars, although his public still preferred him as a light comedian. The actor's film career also took an upswing in the '50s with starring performances in the controversial The Moon Is Blue (1953) -- a harmless concoction which was denied a Production Code seal because the word "virgin" was bandied about -- and the mammoth Around the World in 80 Days (1956), in which Niven played his most famous role, erudite 19th century globetrotter Phileas Fogg. When Laurence Olivier dropped out of the 1958 film Separate Tables, Niven stepped in to play an elderly, disgraced British military man. Although he was as flippant about th

Photos

Highest Rated Movies

Filmography

MOVIES

CREDIT
29% Curse of the Pink Panther Sir Charles Litton 1983
No Score Yet Better Late Than Never Nick Cartland 1983
25% Trail of the Pink Panther Sir Charles Litton 1982
No Score Yet The Sea Wolves Col. W.H. Grice 1981
No Score Yet Rough Cut Chief Inspector Cyril Willis 1980
No Score Yet A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (The Big Scam) Ivan (Bernard Drew) 1979
No Score Yet Escape to Athena Professor Blake 1979
82% Death on the Nile Colonel Rice 1978
No Score Yet Candleshoe Priory 1977
79% The Pink Panther Strikes Again Actor 1976
No Score Yet No Deposit, No Return J.W. Osborne 1976
65% Murder by Death Dick Charleston 1976
No Score Yet Paper Tiger Walter Bradbury 1975
No Score Yet Remarkable Rocket Actor 1975
No Score Yet Old Dracula Count Dracula 1974
No Score Yet King, Queen, Knave Charles Dreyer 1972
No Score Yet The Statue Alex Bolt 1971
No Score Yet Le Cerveau (The Brain) Col. Carol Matthews 1969
No Score Yet Before Winter Comes Maj. Giles Burnside 1969
No Score Yet The Impossible Years Jonathan Kingsley 1968
No Score Yet Prudence and the Pill Gerald Hardcastle 1968
26% Casino Royale Sir James Bond 1967
No Score Yet Eye of the Devil Philippe de Montfaucon 1966
29% Lady L Lord Lendale 1965
No Score Yet Where the Spies Are Dr. Jason Love 1965
No Score Yet Bedtime Story Lawrence Jameson 1964
90% The Pink Panther Sir Charles Lytton 1963
57% Fifty Five Days at Peking Sir Arthur Robertson 1963
No Score Yet The Road to Hong Kong Guest Star 1962
No Score Yet The Best of Enemies Maj. Richardson 1962
95% The Guns of Navarone Cpl. Miller 1961
67% Please Don't Eat the Daisies Larry Mackay 1960
No Score Yet Ask Any Girl Miles Doughton 1959
71% Separate Tables Major Pollack 1958
86% Bonjour Tristesse Raymond 1958
No Score Yet My Man Godfrey Godfrey Smith 1957
No Score Yet The Little Hut Henry Brittingham-Brett 1957
No Score Yet Oh, Men! Oh, Women! Dr. Alan Coles 1957
71% Around the World in 80 Days Phileas Fogg 1956
No Score Yet The Silken Affair Actor 1956
No Score Yet The King's Thief Duke of Brampton 1955
No Score Yet Carrington V.C. (Court Martial) Major Carrington V.C. 1955
No Score Yet The Love Lottery Rex Allerton 1954
38% The Moon Is Blue David Slater 1953
No Score Yet The Lady Says No Bill Shelby 1952
No Score Yet Four Star Playhouse Actor 1952
No Score Yet Appointment with Venus Maj. Valentine Moreland 1951
No Score Yet Soldiers Three Capt. Pindenny 1951
No Score Yet Happy Go Lovely B.G. Bruno 1951
No Score Yet Golden Age of TV Dramas Actor 1951
No Score Yet The Toast of New Orleans Jacques Riboudeaux 1950
No Score Yet Elusive Pimpernel Scarlet Pimpernel/Sir Percy Blakeney 1950
No Score Yet Almost a Bride Kenneth Marquis 1949
No Score Yet A Kiss In The Dark Actor 1949
No Score Yet Enchantment Roland Dane 1948
No Score Yet Bonnie Prince Charlie Prince Charles 1948
83% The Bishop's Wife Henry Brougham 1948
97% Stairway to Heaven (A Matter of Life and Death) Peter Carter 1947
No Score Yet Magnificent Doll Aaron Burr 1946
No Score Yet The Perfect Marriage Dale Williams 1946
100% The Way Ahead (The Immortal Battalion) Lieutenant Jim Perry 1945
No Score Yet Spitfire (The First of the Few) Geoffrey Crisp 1942
No Score Yet Raffles A.J. Raffles 1939
No Score Yet Eternally Yours Tony Halstead/The Great Arturo 1939
No Score Yet The Real Glory Lieutenant McCool 1939
No Score Yet Bachelor Mother David Merlin 1939
95% Wuthering Heights Edgar Linton 1939
92% Gunga Din Actor 1939
No Score Yet The Dawn Patrol Scott 1938
No Score Yet Four Men and a Prayer Christopher Leigh 1938
29% Bluebeard's Eighth Wife Albert De Regnier 1938
100% The Prisoner of Zenda Fritz 1937
No Score Yet Beloved Enemy Capt. Gerald Preston 1937
No Score Yet Dinner at the Ritz Paul de Brack 1937
No Score Yet Thank You, Jeeves Bertie Wooster 1936
88% Dodsworth Capt. Lockert 1936
No Score Yet Rose Marie Teddy 1936
83% Charge of the Light Brigade Capt. James Randall 1936
94% Mutiny on the Bounty Extra 1935
92% Barbary Coast Sailor Thrown Out of Saloon 1935
No Score Yet Splendor Clancey Lorrimore 1935

TV

CREDIT
No Score Yet Zane Grey Theatre
1956-1961
Director
  • 1958

QUOTES FROM David Niven CHARACTERS