I always thought David Niven was Scottish, mainly because this great, charming actor regularly claimed he had been born in the town of Kirriemuir in 1909.
Kirriemuir is known as the birthplace of Peter Pan author, J. M. Barrie, and AC/DC frontman Bon Scott. It is also famed for Walter Burnett’s Kirriemuir gingerbread, which I recall eating in thick buttered slices as a child, thinking this tasty treat was the very stuff Niven must have lived off as a bairn. Of course it wasn’t and Niven hadn’t been born in Scotland, rather he was a son of London, born in 1910. Still, it only added to his tremendous style and charm, which made me find him so likable as an actor and raconteur.
That and the fact his films, in particular The Way Ahead, A Matter of Life and Death, The Elusive Pimpernel, Around the World in 80 Days, and Separate Tables were regularly screened on local TV during the sixties and seventies, possibly in the misguided belief Niven was Scottish.
Some of this great charm can be seen here in this brief interview with Sue Lawley, from 1973, where Niven discusses his childhood, pot, alcohol and good luck.
With thanks to Nellym.