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Summary Article: Niven, (James) David (Graham)
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary


English actor

Born in London, he was a graduate of the Royal Military College at Sandhurst, and took a variety of jobs before he arrived in Hollywood, where he joined the social set led by Errol Flynn and Clark Gable, and worked as an extra in Mutiny on the Bounty (1935). Signed by Samuel Goldwyn, he developed into a polished light-comedian and gallant hero in films like Dodsworth, The Charge of the Light Brigade (both 1936), The Dawn Patrol (1938) and Bachelor Mother (1939). After service as an army officer in World War II he spent 30 years as an urbane English-style leading man, perfectly cast as the gentlemanly voyager Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days (1956), and winning an Academy Award for Separate Tables (1958). An inimitable raconteur, he published two volumes of lighthearted autobiography, The Moon's A Balloon (1972) and Bring on the Empty Horses (1975).

© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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