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David Niven's Death
- David Niven
- March 1, 1910
- July 29, 1983
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / Lou Gehrig's disease
The life and death of David Niven:
This popular English-born actor is remembered for several whimsical roles, like Phineas Fogg and a James Bond spoof. But many forget that he also won a Best Actor Oscar in 1958.
James David Graham Niven was born in London. His mother Henrietta was of British and French ancestry. His father William was a Scottish descent and was killed during the Gallipoli Campaign in World War I.
His mother remarried, to a man who many thought was really David's real biological father, Sir Thomas Comyn-Platt.
David was educated in private schools. They were known for strict discipline and he was a prankster, which meant corporal punishment and finally his expulsion from one toney institution when he was 10 and half years old.
He served in the peacetime British Army as a second lieutenant in the 1930's but it bored him and he quit. He moved to New York in 1933 and on to Hollywood in 1934 but returned to England to serve in the British Army in World War II and took part in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy.
He resumed his film career 1946 and his major screen roles included Phineas Fogg in "Around the World in 80 days".
He was cast as James Bond in the original version of "casino Royale"
And he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for "Separate Tables" in 1958.
And speaking of the Oscars…and when a streaker interrupted David's presentation at the 1974 Academy Awards show, he came up with one of TV's best ad libs ever.
David married Primula Susan Rollo in 1940 and they had two sons.
Primula died at the age of 26 of head injuries after an accidental fall at the home of actor Tyrone Power in 1946.
His second wife was Swedish fashion model Hjordis Tersmeden.
They had a rocky marriage with breakups and reconciliations. Her death preceded his.
In 1980, Niven started to experience fatigue and muscle weakness. His voice was faltering. It turned out he was dying ALS, the same disease that was named after this man…
David is buried at Chateua D'Oex Cemetery in Vaud, Switzerland.