When the great David Niven passed away in July 1983, at the age 73, he was one of the most acclaimed and respected Hollywood actors of all time.
Niven solidified a tremendous career staring in 1935 after the first of two stints in the British Army, he would return to service during WW2.
While he started in bit roles after appearing in the 1935 Samuel Goldwyn classic ‘Mutiny on the Bounty’ his career opened up with roles in more Goldwyn movies ‘Dodsworth’ and ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’.
By the late 1930’s Niven was a leading man staring opposite such heavyweights as Ginger Rogers and Gary Cooper. In WW2 he would return to service and train commandos and upon his return Niven’s career continued in movies such as ‘The Bishop’s Wife’ opposite the great Cary Grant.
Then his career took an unexpected downturn where roles became hard to find so Niven went to “The Great White Way” and worked on Broadway until his film resurgence in the late 1950’s in movies such as ‘Around The World In 80 Days’ and culminating in his Academy Award win for 1959’s ‘Separate Tables’ opposite Deborah Kerr, Rita Hayworth, and Burt Lancaster.
He would also become the first (and so far only) Oscar winner who won while hosting the show. Niven would also be on stage for the famous Oscar Streaker in 1974 – his comedic timing was priceless that evening!
Did you know David Niven was on a short list of actors Ian Fleming wanted to play James Bond 007 before EON Productions first film Dr. No? Did you also know Niven would go on to play Bond in the spoof ‘Casino Royale’ in 1967?
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