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David Niven (Niven David)
In his eighty movies Niven, usually played the good-natured and light-hearted Englishmen; in his life he was as kind and charming. He received the “Oscar” for the film of Terence Rattigan “Separate Tables” (1958), where he played the officer, who lives in a hotel overlooking the sea, hiding their shameful secret. After the painting “The Guns of Navarone” (1961) Niven offered only mediocre roles. Fortunately, the actor is good mastery of words, and the two books of his Hollywood memoir “Moon – balloon” and “Give free horses” became instant bestsellers and brought him close to five million dollars.
The first signs of the deadly disease began to appear gradually. His seventieth Niven met in Goa, on the coast of the Indian Ocean, while filming the movie “Sea Wolves” (1980) in the company of Gregory Peck and Roger Moore. Then the actor first complained of pain in the arm and leg, and his speech has become less legible. “He began to make long daily walks – recalled Peck. – He began his heroic battle that lasted three years. No man ever went to the battle, where the outcome is a foregone conclusion, with such a daring and carefree fun. ” After a long walk Niven said Moore, “You know, pretty funny, but it’s hard to tear off from the land the damn heels.”
After completing the “Better late than never” (1981), where his speech was already obscure, the actor began his novel advertising campaign “Forward slowly back quickly.” This campaign began on October 3, 1981 TV “Michael Parkinson Show” on BBC, and immediately showered with calls of shocked spectators. Niven is sick? Or maybe drunk? In America, he checked into the Mayo Clinic and called his son James in New York: “The good news – I have no paralysis. The bad – I secondary sclerosis. I have lost a voice, denied the arms and legs, and then I die. After a few weeks, months, maybe years. ”
The actor appeared in the films “The trial of the Pink Panther” (1982) and “Curse of the Pink Panther” (1983), which were filmed near his home on the French Riviera in the spring of 1982. When it became known that his voice is dubbed mime Rich Little, the truth about that Niven’s disease Lou Hersh, it was impossible to hide.
Leaving his second wife, Swedish model Hёrdis Tersmeden in their home ( “he wanted me to stay and could relax a little bit of it”), Niven in July 1983 he returned to his favorite chalet in the Swiss ski resort within ten miles of Montreux. He was accompanied by an Irish nurse Kathleen Methyusan hired nine months ago. Niven had lost forty pounds in weight, but enjoyed a daily swim in the neighbor’s pool.
Dying actor last two nights with Kathleen shared memories of his six years of happy family life with “Primm” (Primula Rollo), was tragically cut short in 1946 when he was twenty-eight wife tripped on a step on the front porch of their home and killed herself.
On Friday, July 29, 1983 about seven o’clock in the morning Kathleen looked to him in greeting Niven raised his hand. “I went down make coffee, and when I was on the last step, I heard the noise, as though Niven was trying to get out of bed. When I returned to his room, he lay without an oxygen mask, smiling broadly. He only had time to lend a hand to me, and breathed his last. It all happened so fast, I tell about it. ”
At the funeral in the Church of England Yehudi Menuhin and seven of his students played Mendelssohn’s Octet. (Selection of Mendelssohn, according Menuhin, explained the composer’s love for his homeland Niven, Scotland). Niven’s buried in the churchyard. At the funeral attended by the Prince of Monaco René, Audrey Hepburn and William F. Buckley Jr. memorial service organized in Hollywood, led by Gregory Peck and Peter Ustinov, and in London – Laurence Olivier and John Mortimer.
See. Sheridan Morley (1988).