David Niven tried to kill himself, claims book

May 17th, 2009 - 12:58 pm ICT by ANI  

London, May 17 (ANI): David Niven, the debonair actor famed for his light-hearted approach to life, confessed shortly before his death that he once tried to kill himself, reveals a new book.

Niven, who wrote Hollywood’s funniest memoirs, admitted that he had once

been in such despair that he tried to kill himself but the gun failed to go off.

The disclosures, reported in a biography by Michael Munn, a former film publicist, also include Niven’s sadness after discovering he was the illegitimate son of a prominent Conservative politician, his mother’s lover, who refused to acknowledge him for fear of a scandal, reports The Times.

Munn claims that Niven told him that after the death of his first wife Primmie, 28, in a freak accident in Hollywood, he “lost all sense of reason”.

The former soldier had two young sons and a dazzling career, but depression overwhelmed him.

Niven reportedly said: “I decided to blow my brains out. I took a gun and put the barrel in my mouth and, with barely a thought for my children, which was unforgivable, I pulled the trigger. And the bloody thing didn’t fire.

“I didn’t know why the gun didn’t fire. I knew about guns but I couldn’t think why it hadn’t fired, and I think I may have actually thought that this might be God telling me to carry on living for the sake of my children. I even thought it might be Primmie giving me a message and that she had made the gun fail.”

Munn says Niven told him that the aftermath of the suicide attempt in 1946 was “the darkest time in my life”.

Niven recalled: “I had some bizarre illness. I had to have sex. I think it was my only way of deadening the pain. That and getting drunk, but I preferred sex.” (ANI)

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