Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Happy Birthday: David Niven!

David Niven (1 March 1910 – 29 July 1983), was a British actor, who found that he needed a work permit, to work in the U.S. Niven, moved to Mexico and earned a living cleaning rifles. When he received his Resident Alien Visa from the American Consulate, he moved back to the U.S. where he was then accepted by Central Casting. He hired agent: Bill Hawks, who found him several small parts, including a non-speaking part in the film, Mutiny on the Bounty.

Niven, soon met film producer Samuel Goldwyn, who signed him to a contract. He had supporting roles in the films: Rose-Marie (1936), Dodsworth (1936), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), The Dawn Patrol (1938), Three Blind Mice (1938), and Wuthering Heights (1939). He co-starred with Ginger Rogers in the film, Bachelor Mother(1939) and starred as the safe-cracker in the film, Raffles(1939). Is one of several film adaptations of an 1899 novel by E. W. Hornung, Raffles, the Amateur Cracksman. The thief known as "The Amateur Cracksman", is really cricket star A. J. Raffles, who has to live a life of crime to support his life style. When Raffles falls in love with Gwen Manders, he hangs up his life of crime until Gwen's brother Bunny, tells him that he needs to pay back the money he embezzled and lost at gambling.

While staying at Crawshay's home Raffles, quickly learns that he, is making plans to steal Lady Melrose's emerald necklace. Raffles some how gets the necklace from Crawshay, who is arrested by the police. The next morning, Raffles leaves for London to sell the necklace and Gwen overhears the inspector setting a trap for him. She goes to warn Raffles, but is too late, the inspector springs his trap and arrests Raffles with the necklace. Will Raffles, get away with his crime?

After a small break, he resumed his career in 1946, now only in starring roles. A Matter of Life and Death (1946), The Bishop's Wife (1947), and Enchantment (1948). The widowed patriarch of the Dane family adopts a young girl named Larke, whose parents have been killed in a train wreck. As the sons of the family, grow into young men they find themselves in love with the same girl.

Niven had a complex relationship with Goldwyn, who gave him his first break. There was a period of time when Niven was barred from the Hollywood studios. In 1951 to 1956, he made 11 movies, of which two were MGM productions. However, Niven won a Golden Globe Award for his work in the film, The Moon Is Blue (1953).

Niven's film career took off in 1956, when he starred as Phileas Fogg in, Around the World in 80 Days.

Niven won a Academy Award for Best Actor for the film, Separate Tables(1958) he was also a co-host of the 30th, 31st and 46th Academy Awards ceremonies. After his Academy Award, Niven's career began to improve and Niven performed in the films: The Guns of Navarone (1961), The Pink Panther (1963), Murder By Death (1976), Death on the Nile (1978), and The Sea Wolves (1980).

Blake Edwards brought Niven back for cameo appearances in two final "Pink Panther" movies (Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther), reprising his role as Sir Charles Litton. By this time, Niven was having serious health problems. His voice was inaudible and his lines were dubbed by Rich Little. This was his last film performance.

List of David Niven movies I have seen:

Cleopatra (1934)
Barbary Coast (1935)
The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)
Bluebeard's Eighth Wife (1938)
The Dawn Patrol (1938)
Wuthering Heights (1939) Please click here to view Wuthering Heights movie review.
Bachelor Mother (1939)
Eternally Yours (1939)
The Bishop's Wife (1947)
Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
My Man Godfrey (1957)
Separate Tables (1958)
Please Don't Eat the Daisies (1960) Please click her to view Please Dont Eat the Daisies movie review.
The Guns of Navarone (1961)

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