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David Niven

David Niven

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Also Known As: 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 ...
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MILESTONES

1930:
Entered the Highland Light Infantry as a Second Lieutenant
:
Stationed for two years in Malta
1933:
Had a bit part as a man at race course in British film "Eyes of Fate"
1933:
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
1934:
Moved to Hollywood and worked as movie extra, eventually coming to the atention of Samuel Goldwyn who signed him to MGM
1935:
First speaking part in "Without Regrets"
1936:
Acted in William Wyler's "Dodsworth", a superb adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' novel
1936:
Loaned out to 20th Century-Fox for his first leading role in "Thank You, Jeeves"
1938:
First major success in Edmund Goulding's "The Dawn Patrol" as WWI pilot buddy of Errol Flynn
1939:
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
1939:
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 invasion; after D-Day, appointed Chief of Allied Forces Broadcasting Network
1946:
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/Stairway to Heaven"
1949:
MGM contract terminated; freelanced thereafter
1950:
Reteamed with Powell and Pressburger for "The Elusive Pimpernel"
1951:
Sole Broadway appearance opposite Gloria Swanson in "Nina"
1952:
Had three-month run in San Francisco stage production of "The Moon Is Blue"
1952:
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
:
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")
1953:
Acted in Otto Preminger's "The Moon Is Blue" (adapted from the play)
1956:
Gained stardom as Phileas Fogg in "Around the World in 80 Days"
1956:
Assets of Four Star bought by Official Films for $10 million
:
Was regular on NBC series, "Turn of Fate"
1958:
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
1958:
Played playboy widowed father in Preminger's superb "Bonjour Tristesse", also starring Kerr
1959:
Host and performer of "The David Niven Theater", a short-lived NBC series of original dramatic presentations
1960:
Acted opposite Doris Day in "Please Don't Eat the Daisies"
1960:
Left Hollywood; thereafter based in Europe
1961:
First film with director J Lee Thompson, the explosive action film "The Guns of Navarone"
1964:
Starred as Sir Charles Litton alongside Peter Sellers in Edwards' "The Pink Panther"
:
Returned to series TV in "The Rogues" (NBC), playing British head of a family of con artists
1967:
Played James Bond in John Huston's overdone spoof of the genre, "Casino Royale"
1967:
Reteamed with Thompson for "Eye of the Devil"
1968:
Third and last film with Thompson, "Before Winter Comes"
:
Hosted and narrated "David Niven's World", a sydicated series of 21 documentary-style presentatons
1976:
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
1976:
Narrated CBS documentary, "Balloon Safari"
1976:
Ventured out as a granddad for Disney in "No Deposit, No Return"
1977:
Portrayed disguise-laden English butler in entertaining Disney comedy "Candleshoe"
1979:
Cast as the Mastermind of a bank heist in "A Nightingale Sang in Berkely Square"
1980:
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
1982:
Reprised his role as Sir Charles Litton for Edwards' "Trail of the Pink Panther"
1982:
Acted in Bryan Forbes' "Better Late Than Never", produced by son David Niven Jr
1983:
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)

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