David Niven

Actor, Author, Comic
Handsome, debonair leading man David Niven was the very essence of "good breeding" throughout his career, though the screen never quite captured his actual vigor, epitomized by his service in first the Highland Light ... Read more »
Born: 03/01/1910 in London, England, GB


Actor (86)

The Forbidden Desert of the Danakil 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)


Errol Flynn: Portrait of a Swashbuckler 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)


Better Late Than Never 1983 (Movie)

Nick Cartland (Actor)

Trail of the Pink Panther 1982 (Movie)

Sir Charles Litton (Actor)

Rough Cut 1980 (Movie)

Chief Inspector Cyril Willis (Actor)

A Man Called Intrepid 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)


Escape to Athena 1979 (Movie)

Professor Blake (Actor)

The Sea Wolves 1979 (Movie)

Colonel Bill Grice (Actor)

Death on the Nile 1978 (Movie)

Colonel Race (Actor)

Candleshoe 1976 (Movie)

Priory (Actor)

David Niven's World 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)


No Deposit, No Return 1976 (Movie)

J W Osborne (Actor)

Murder By Death 1975 (Movie)

Dick Charleston (Actor)

Old Dracula 1975 (Movie)

Count Dracula (Actor)

Paper Tiger 1975 (Movie)

Walter Bradbury (Actor)

King, Queen, Knave 1971 (Movie)

Charles (Actor)

The Brain 1969 (Movie)

The Brain (Actor)

The Statue 1969 (Movie)

Alex (Actor)

Before Winter Comes 1968 (Movie)

Major Giles Burnside (Actor)

Prudence and the Pill 1968 (Movie)

Gerald Hardcastle (Actor)

The Extraordinary Seaman 1968 (Movie)

Lieutenant Commander Finchhaven (Actor)

Casino Royale 1967 (Movie)

Sir James Bond (Actor)

Lady L 1966 (Movie)

Lord Lendale (Actor)

Eye of the Devil 1965 (Movie)

Philippe (Actor)

The Rogues 1964 - 1965 (TV Show)


Bedtime Story 1964 (Movie)

Lawrence Jamison (Actor)

The Pink Panther 1964 (Movie)

Sir Charles Lytton (Actor)

Where the Spies Are 1964 (Movie)

Dr Jason Love (Actor)

55 Days at Peking 1963 (Movie)

Sir Arthur Robertson (Actor)

Guns of Darkness 1961 (Movie)

Tom Jordan (Actor)

The Captive City 1961 (Movie)

Maj Peter Whitfield (Actor)

The Guns of Navarone 1961 (Movie)

Miller (Actor)

The June Allyson Show 1959 - 1961 (TV Show)


The Road to Hong Kong 1961 (Movie)


Please Don't Eat the Daisies 1960 (Movie)

Lawrence Mackay (Actor)

The Best of Enemies 1960 (Movie)

Major Richardosn (Actor)

Schlitz Playhouse of Stars 1951 - 1959 (TV Show)


Ask Any Girl 1958 (Movie)

Miles Doughton (Actor)

Bonjour Tristesse 1958 (Movie)

Raymond (Actor)

Happy Anniversary 1958 (Movie)

Chris Walters (Actor)

Separate Tables 1958 (Movie)

Major Pollock (Actor)

Turn of Fate 1957 - 1958 (TV Show)


Four Star Playhouse 1952 - 1957 (TV Show)


My Man Godfrey 1957 (Movie)

Godfrey (Actor)

Oh, Men! Oh, Women! 1957 (Movie)

Dr Alan Coles (Actor)

The Little Hut 1957 (Movie)

Henry Brittingham-Brett (Actor)

The Silken Affair 1957 (Movie)

Roger Tweakham/New Accountant (Actor)

Around the World in 80 Days 1956 (Movie)

Phileas Fogg (Actor)

The Birds and the Bees 1956 (Movie)

Colonel Harris (Actor)

Carrington V.C. 1955 (Movie)

Major Carrington VC (Actor)

The King's Thief 1955 (Movie)

Duke of Brampton (Actor)

Happy Ever After 1954 (Movie)

Jasper O'Leary (Actor)

Hollywood Opening Night 1950 - 1953 (TV Show)


The Nash Airflyte Theater 1950 - 1951 (TV Show)


Stairway to Heaven 1947 (Movie)

Peter Carter (Actor)

Wuthering Heights 1939 (Movie)

Edgar (Actor)

Bachelor Mother 1938 (Movie)

David Merlin (Actor)

Eternally Yours 1938 (Movie)

Tony aka The Great Arturo (Actor)

Bluebeard's Eighth Wife 1937 (Movie)


The Prisoner of Zenda 1936 (Movie)


Dodsworth 1935 (Movie)

Major Clyde Lockert (Actor)

The Charge of the Light Brigade 1935 (Movie)

Captain Randall (Actor)

A Kiss in the Dark (Movie)

Eric Phillips (Actor)

Balloon Safari (TV Show)


Beloved Enemy (Movie)

Gerald Preston (Actor)

Bonnie Prince Charlie (Movie)

Bonnie Prince Charlie (Actor)

Celanese Theater (TV Show)


Dinner at the Ritz (Movie)

Paul de Brack (Actor)

Enchantment (Movie)

Gen. Sir Roland Dane (Actor)

Four Men and a Prayer (Movie)

Christopher Leigh (Actor)

Happy Go Lovely (Movie)

B.G. Bruno (Actor)

Light's Diamond Jubilee (TV Show)


Magnificent Doll (Movie)

Aaron Burr (Actor)

Palm Springs (TV Show)


Raffles (Movie)

A.J. Raffles (Actor)

Soldiers Three (Movie)

Capt. Pindenny (Actor)

The Dawn Patrol (Movie)

Lieut. Douglas Scott (Actor)

The First of the Few (Movie)

Geoffrey Crisp (Actor)

The Moon Is Blue (Movie)

David Slater (Actor)

The Other Love (Movie)

Dr. Anthony Stanton (Actor)

The Perfect Marriage (Movie)

Dale Williams (Actor)

The Real Glory (Movie)

Lieutenant McCool (Actor)

The Toast of New Orleans (Movie)

Jacques Riboudeaux (Actor)

The Way Ahead (Movie)

Lieutenant Jim Perry (Actor)


Handsome, debonair leading man David Niven was the very essence of "good breeding" throughout his career, though the screen never quite captured his actual vigor, epitomized by his service in first the Highland Light Infantry and later the Commandos, or his wit displayed as a writer of two novels and two amusing autobiographies. The son of a British Army captain, he followed in his father's footsteps but found the routine of military life between the wars so dreadfully boring that he resigned his commission and crossed the pond in search of adventure. Once in Hollywood, he worked as an extra and came to the attention of Samuel Goldwyn who signed him to a contract with MGM, and he rapidly graduated from bit parts to supporting and lead roles which showcased his polished British diction and his lighthearted yet sincere manner. Niven's first major success came with Edmund Goulding's "The Dawn Patrol" (1938), in which he played a courageous, devil-may-care WWI pilot friend of Errol Flynn.


Lady Cmyn Niven


Hjördis Genberg

Married Jan. 14, 1948 until his death July 29, 1983

William Niven

died at Gallipoli in 1915

Fiona Niven

adopted with second wife Hjordis Niven

Kristina Niven

adopted with second wife Hjordis Niven

David Niven

born c. 1942 mother, Primula Niven

James Niven

born c. 1946 works at Sotheby's mother, Primula Niven born shortly before mother's death

Primula Rollo

Married Sept. 16, 1940 until her accidental death May 21, 1946 when she fell down a flight of stairs at a dinner party while the guests were playing a "Hide and Seek" type of game


Royal Military College

1927 - 1929

Stowe School

Buckinghamshire 1923 - 1926



Last film appearance in Edwards' "Curse of the Pink Panther"; cameo shot at same time as "Trail of the Pink Panther" (voice dubbed by Rich Little)


Reprised his role as Sir Charles Litton for Edwards' "Trail of the Pink Panther"


Acted in Bryan Forbes' "Better Late Than Never", produced by son David Niven Jr


Returned to the other side of the law as Chief Inspector Cyril Willis in "Rough Cut", starring Burt Reynolds as a world-class jewel thief


Cast as the Mastermind of a bank heist in "A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square"


Portrayed disguise-laden English butler in entertaining Disney comedy "Candleshoe"


Appeared as part of the all-star cast of "Murder By Death", a spoof of such characters as Charlie Chan, Miss Marple and Sam Spade written by Neil Simon


Ventured out as a granddad for Disney in "No Deposit, No Return"


Narrated CBS documentary, "Balloon Safari"


Third and last film with Thompson, "Before Winter Comes"


Reteamed with Thompson for "Eye of the Devil"


Played James Bond in John Huston's overdone spoof of the genre, "Casino Royale"


Starred as Sir Charles Litton alongside Peter Sellers in Edwards' "The Pink Panther"


First film with director J Lee Thompson, the explosive action film "The Guns of Navarone"


Acted opposite Doris Day in "Please Don't Eat the Daisies"


Left Hollywood; thereafter based in Europe


Host and performer of "The David Niven Theater", a short-lived NBC series of original dramatic presentations


Won Best Actor Oscar for his turn as an elderly disgraced military officer in "Separate Tables"; also starred Deborah Kerr, Rita Hayworth and Burt Lancaster


Played playboy widowed father in Preminger's superb "Bonjour Tristesse", also starring Kerr


Gained stardom as Phileas Fogg in "Around the World in 80 Days"


Assets of Four Star bought by Official Films for $10 million


Acted in Otto Preminger's "The Moon Is Blue" (adapted from the play)


Had three-month run in San Francisco stage production of "The Moon Is Blue"


Aligned with Dick Powell, Charles Boyer and Ida Lupino to form Four Star, a television production company, becoming one of TV's first and most prolific stars


Sole Broadway appearance opposite Gloria Swanson in "Nina"


Reteamed with Powell and Pressburger for "The Elusive Pimpernel"


MGM contract terminated; freelanced thereafter


Starred as WWII pilot who jumps out of his plane without a parachute and, after somehow surviving what should have been his death, must plead for his life before a heavenly court in Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's "A Matter of Life and Death/Stair


Unwillingly reteamed with Wyler (a director he deemed too dictatorial behind the camera) to play Edgar Litton, a part he felt was a bad one for any actor, in "Wuthering Heights"; initial refusal to appear in film nearly earned him a suspension from studio


At outbreak of WWII, feeling obligated to return to military service, joined the Rifle Brigade, a Light Infantry Regiment in the British Army, working his way up to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the British Commandos; spent time in Normandy during the


First major success in Edmund Goulding's "The Dawn Patrol" as WWI pilot buddy of Errol Flynn


Acted in William Wyler's "Dodsworth", a superb adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' novel


Loaned out to 20th Century-Fox for his first leading role in "Thank You, Jeeves"


First speaking part in "Without Regrets"


Moved to Hollywood and worked as movie extra, eventually coming to the atention of Samuel Goldwyn who signed him to MGM


Had a bit part as a man at race course in British film "Eyes of Fate"


Grew bored with the dull routine of military life; after a leave in NYC, returned to service but soon went AWOL, resigning his commission and moving first to Canada, then to NYC where he worked as a whiskey salesman


Entered the Highland Light Infantry as a Second Lieutenant

Was both a producer and regular (with Powell, Boyer and Lupino) in "Four Star Playhouse", a CBS anthology series; first worked with director Blake Edwards in 1954 episode ("The Bomb")

Hosted and narrated "David Niven's World", a sydicated series of 21 documentary-style presentatons

Was regular on NBC series, "Turn of Fate"

Returned to series TV in "The Rogues" (NBC), playing British head of a family of con artists

Stationed for two years in Malta

Bonus Trivia


The fruit of Four Star included such hits as "Zane Grey Theatre" (CBS, 1956-62), "The Rifleman" (ABC, 1958-63), "Burke's Law" (ABC, 1963-65) and "The Big Valley" (ABC, 1965-69).