NIV: The Authorized Biography of David Niven

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9780312328634: NIV: The Authorized Biography of David Niven

For more than 40 years, David Niven portrayed onscreen the impeccable values of a lost breed of English gentlemen - handsome, elegantly dressed, well-mannered, and utterly charming. Yet behind those twinkling eyes, Niven was often deeply unhappy. From the death of his father when Niven was five, his mother's neglect and the stepfather who loathed him, to the death of his beloved first wife and his volatile marriage to his second wife, tragedy and hardship were never far away. Using new material from Niven's private papers, manuscripts, unpublished stories and correspondence, Lord has written a touching account of one of Hollywood's greatest heroes.

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About the Author:

Graham Lord is the author of many bestselling biographies (on James Herriot, Dick Francis, Jeffrey Bernard, and Arthur Lowe) as well as several novels, all of which are published in the UK. He is a former editor of the Sunday Express in London and has also written regularly for The Daily Telegraph, The Times, and the Daily Mail. He currently lives in France and is working on his latest book, a biography of John Mortimer.

From Publishers Weekly:

How do you write a biography of a film star whose memoirs are already considered among the best the genre has to offer? Lord, former editor of London's Sunday Express, begins by pointing out that the tales in Niven's books were frequently exaggerated, if not outright fiction, then sets out to gently correct the record. The real story is filled with absorbing details, particularly when Lord recounts the young Niven's struggle to make it in Hollywood and his varied military career during WWII. But as the "authorized" biographer of Niven (1910–1983), Lord is often overly sympathetic to the actor, most notably when the subject turns to "Niv's" second marriage to a Swedish model. Lord and his interviewees repeatedly attack the wife for alcoholism, extramarital affairs and an allegedly ridiculous desire to be an actress, while shrugging off Niven's constant womanizing and heavy drinking. Other unsavory aspects of his personality, like his treatment of his book publishers, are similarly glossed over. It's worth noting, however, that an overwhelming number of Niven's films are described as among his worst; even The Pink Panther is surprisingly dismissed as "dreadfully unfunny." Yet such harsh critical assessments do little to diminish Niven in his biographer's eyes, and the star's reputation as a lovable raconteur remains untarnished, even by the truth. Photos.
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