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|Also Known As:||James David Graham Niven||Died:||July 29, 1983|
|Born:||March 1, 1910||Cause of Death:||amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's disease)|
|Birth Place:||London, England, GB||Profession:||Cast ... actor author comic laundry messenger newspaper writer liquor salesman road builder lumberman|
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.
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