David NivenJames David Graham Niven (; 1 March 1910 – 29 July 1983) was a British actor, memoirist, and novelist. Niven won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Major Pollock in ''Separate Tables'' (1958). Other noted roles included Squadron Leader Peter Carter in ''A Matter of Life and Death'', Phileas Fogg in ''Around the World in 80 Days'', Sir Charles Lytton ("the Phantom") in ''The Pink Panther'', and James Bond in ''Casino Royale'' (1967).
Born in London, Niven attended Heatherdown Preparatory School and Stowe School before gaining a place at the Royal Military College, Sandhurst. After Sandhurst, Niven joined the British Army and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry. Upon developing an interest in acting, Niven found a role as an extra in the British film ''There Goes the Bride'' (1932). Bored with the peacetime army, Niven resigned his commission in 1933, relocated to New York, then traveled to Hollywood. There, Niven hired an agent and had several small parts in films through 1935, including a non-speaking role in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's ''Mutiny on the Bounty''. This brought Niven to wider attention within the film industry, catching the eye of Samuel Goldwyn and leading to a contract.
Parts in major motion pictures followed, including ''Dodsworth'' (1936), ''The Charge of the Light Brigade'' (1936), and ''The Prisoner of Zenda'' (1937). By 1938, Niven was starring as the leading man in 'A' films. Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, Niven returned to Britain and rejoined the army, being recommissioned as a lieutenant. In 1942, Niven co-starred in the morale-building film about the development of the Supermarine Spitfire fighter, ''The First of the Few'' (American title ''Spitfire''), which was enthusiastically endorsed by Winston Churchill.
After his demobilisation, Niven resumed his acting career and was voted the second-most popular British actor in the 1945 Popularity Poll of British film stars. Niven appeared in ''A Matter of Life and Death'' (1946), ''The Bishop's Wife'' (1947) with Cary Grant, and ''Enchantment'' (1948), all of which received critical acclaim. Niven later appeared in ''The Elusive Pimpernel'' (1950), ''The Toast of New Orleans'' (1950), ''Happy Go Lovely'' (1951), ''Happy Ever After'' (1954), and ''Carrington V.C.'' (1955) before scoring a big success as Phileas Fogg in Michael Todd's production of ''Around the World in 80 Days'' (1956). Niven appeared in many shows for television and nearly 100 films. Niven also began writing books with considerable commercial success. In 1982, Niven appeared in Blake Edwards' final "Pink Panther" films ''Trail of the Pink Panther'' and ''Curse of the Pink Panther'', reprising his role as Sir Charles Lytton. Provided by Wikipedia