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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first rate read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. David Niven was I believe one of the great characters of both Hollywood and the British film industry. This book contains so much information about Niv and all the famous people he mixed with. It does not over glamourise him nor does it go to lengths to damage his image. It relies on a lot of comments and opinions of...
Published on 26 Oct 2009 by A. R. Jacubs

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It depends on what you want
This is the book to read if you want a well researched, detailed account of David Niven's life, warts and all. Lord reveals the Niven stripped of anecdotes and easy chatter. After half way through, I found the detail tedious and an endless list of 'who's who' in which film - and he made a lot of films. It depends on what you want, facts for a film buff or the stretched...
Published 6 months ago by G. A. Graham


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A first rate read., 26 Oct 2009
By 
A. R. Jacubs (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven (Hardcover)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book from start to finish. David Niven was I believe one of the great characters of both Hollywood and the British film industry. This book contains so much information about Niv and all the famous people he mixed with. It does not over glamourise him nor does it go to lengths to damage his image. It relies on a lot of comments and opinions of people who knew Niv well. This book also corrects a great deal of Viv's "over the top" claims for which he was famous. The latter part of Niv's life was was increasingly traumatic for him and his illness which culminates with his death all alone in Switzerland is covered in considerable detail by Graham Lord. His attention to detail and the extensive research that he must have carried out is to be congratulated. To all David Niven fans I would say - please read this book!
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new and more revealing book about Niven, 27 Mar 2005
By A Customer
This is the second major biography of David Niven and is much more revealing than the previous one by Sheridan Morley. Like the previous bio Graham Lord focuses perceptively on the contradiction between the public and private Niven - the witty, gregarious and carefree celebrity and the darker and often very painful private world carefully hidden from public view. Lord has the huge advantage of writing after the death of Niven's widow and where Morley could only hint at the marital traumas Lord can go into much more detail.
This bio is not necessarily an improvement over the previous one it just has certain advantages of more available information. Sometimes this leads to to much unnecessary detail for the reader to wade through but in general Lord has got the balance right between an examination of Nivens career and private life. At the end of the bio the reader is left with an impression of a brave and admirable man who never let his guard slip and kept his stiff-upper lip in often very difficult circumstances.
This bio is a largely well-researched and engrossing read which should appeal to fans of Niven and indeed anyone interest in the film world of yesteryear
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into a complex character, 11 Jun 2013
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David Niven was the quintessential Hollywood Englishman. He never became a U.S. citizen and always maintained his Anglo Saxon mannerisms and diction which were to become his trademark.

Graham Lord has written a good biography of "Niv" here and its certainly very entertaining. I can feel the heavy hand of David Niven Jr's influence in certain sections of the book which do read as if Mr Lord was given firm instruction as to what to write. Never the less, it's a thoroughly enjoyable romp through Hollywood's golden age when the doors to stardom were perhaps charmed open a little more easily and the silver screen was magically aloof. Niv's friendships with Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers etc make interesting reading and one cannot have anything but respect for his wartime service in WWII which saw him finish up as a Lt. Colonel with the Phantom squadron.

There is a often used quote that Niv's best ever role was "playing David Niven", which to some extent comes through in this book. His screen and public persona was largely a heavily romanticised version of his real self, which hid a lot of insecurity, tragedy and a loveless relationship with his second wife "Hjordis". Rita Hayworth put it very well when she said "Why is he married to the one woman in the world who cannot stand him?".

Niv was that heady mix of professional success and personal unhappiness. Perhaps he's always destined to be something of an enigma, but I would recommend that you supplement your knowledge with his own books "The Moons a balloon" and "Bring on the empty horses", which give you the fun side of his recollections.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It depends on what you want, 7 Jun 2014
By 
G. A. Graham "gina graham" (Tadley, Hants United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This is the book to read if you want a well researched, detailed account of David Niven's life, warts and all. Lord reveals the Niven stripped of anecdotes and easy chatter. After half way through, I found the detail tedious and an endless list of 'who's who' in which film - and he made a lot of films. It depends on what you want, facts for a film buff or the stretched truth of 'The Moon's a Balloon' and 'Bring on the Empty Horses' for entertainment. .
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars PAtchy, 14 Jan 2004
This review is from: Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven (Hardcover)
The early part of the book is heavily borrowed from "The Moon's A Balloon" but offers expansions on Niven's time at Stowe, his family finances, his ambition and names some of the conquests whom he declines to identify in his own books (esp the GBS).
The second part of the book offers more original material, but in parts is simply a complete hatchet job on his second wife who is portrayed as the nightmare alcoholic bitch from hell. There is little light and shade where she is concerned, with only a few redeeming comments aired. It's a shame that an interesting biography at times loses its way with a desire to state yet again, what a harpy she was.
Also, there's an implication that she slept around because she was a bitch, whereas he slept around because she drove him to it! This conveniently ignores the evidence that he couldn't keep it in his trousers as a bachelor, and indeed cheated on his first "beloved" wife.
Double standards abound, but it's still an interesting protrait.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a very funny and at the same time poignant book., 9 Oct 2013
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Graham Lord really gave a true picture of David Niven the man. I have read The Moon's A Balloon and Bring on the Empty Horses, both of which he mentioned regularly and quoted from. There was still so much to learn about David Niven himself in this biography, I am not surprised it was authorised by his children. The Early Hollywood years are fascinating. He knew everyone!
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars "Niv", 25 Mar 2011
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This review is from: Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven (Hardcover)
If you have enjoyed reading "The Moon's a Balloon" and "Bring on the Empty Horses" it's probably better to leave those good memories of David Niven's life at that. This book is a rather downbeat account of it all. Is that what you want? Cos that's what your'e gonna get!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointing, 2 Feb 2012
By 
Far too much detail to wade through - needs alot more editing - very little real insight into the man behind the persona and what a persona he had ! Blessed with good looks. charm and social intelligence in abundance, an ability to attract men and women in equal measure, incredible vitality and good fortune yet there is a certain brittleness/superficiality to the book - just endless repeats of how much 'fun' he was, how many 'close' friends he had - what charming witty company he was!!
- yet he sounds fairly tightfisted and obsessed with money (esp regards the taxman) despite being extremely wealthy and living a luxurious hedonistic lifetstyle with servants etc
- Although he loved and was loved by his children there is a sense that he somewhat failed them as a parent and was not there for them when they needed him - leaving them to greater extent to the care of boarding schools, nannies and an unloving selfcentred alcoholic second wife. And the children do not really seem to have been there for him in his final very difficult year and he ended up being cared for (in most part) by a young Irish nurse with visitors from time to time - why were they not around for him -this is not explained or explored at all and we are left with the impression they were damaged by their childhood yet this is not explored either.

- he does seem to have led a full life right up untill MND really took its toll despite his unhappiness in his second marriage - his wife is described in most unflattering terms both as a person, wife and mother - yet David must have been attracted to her and stayed with her for 30 odd years for some reason despite being such a horrible mother to his kids - why ?
IT feels a somewhat superficial exmination of a complex man despite the shining persona and endless detail. Everybody is keen to impress what a lovely man he was (and how awful his second wife was) yet without a real sense of insight into the inner man or his contradictions.
I came away with the impression of a person who was blessed with good fortune in his vitality and charm and lived life to the hilt - was great company and a good friend - but a somewhat lost person and with certain weakness to him and an inability to face upto life issues - with so many distractions he could keep the difficult issues and life at a distance and issues such as his dysfunctional relationship with a wife who hated him, his womanising,drinking are just left as him being a good old boy. I got the impression the author would just have loved to have had Niven as a dinner party guest but was not interested in exploring what lay behind the mask.
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20 of 25 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The book's a balloon, 7 April 2006
By A Customer
This is a mean-spirited book populated by a number of not very likable characters including, if you read between the lines of this account, Niven himself. There are also some serious double standards at work here. His second wife is exorciated for her infidelities while Niven's are laughed off as a part of his incurable randyness (and how tiresome were the constant references to the size of his you-know-what)?. The fact that he cheated on 'the love of his life', his first wife, while the sheets on their marriage bed were still warm is put down to serial laddishness. Long before the end of this book I was firmly on the side of Hjordis, the unfortunate second Mrs Niven, but the author and Niven's close friends clearly do not believe the old adage that there are two sides to every story. Every vaguely favourable comment on Hjordis (and there are plenty) has a codicil from the author pointing out that, these admirers had it all wrong and she really was a nasty piece of work. To hear her rubbished by Lauren Bacall (sleeping with Frank Sinatra while her husband Humphrey Bogart was dying of cancer) was cant of the highest order. But, hey, that's show business.
Maybe someone should write a biography of Hjordis, if only to set the record straight.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well done job!, 30 Nov 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven (Hardcover)
As there was no biography of Niven available for a long time, I looked very much forward to this one. I was not to be disappointed; the author got many sources of information and so created a wonderful characterization of the actor. As the book also contains many hilarious anecdotes it is very funny and entertaining to read. Especially if you know the author`s two volumes of autobiography you will be surprised about how often Niven "stretched" the truth (particularly about his second disastrous marriage).
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Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven
Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven by Graham Lord (Hardcover - 1 Oct 2003)
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