David Niven's Love Life Explored: Who Were The Leading Ladies?

David Niven, a distinguished British actor, and soldier, remains an iconic figure in the history of cinema. Born on March 1, 1910, his career spanned both the silver screen and the military, earning him an Oscar for his role in "Separate Tables."

Beyond his cinematic success, Niven's personal life unfolded in the public eye. His marriages to Hjördis Genberg and Primula Rollo add layers to his narrative.

Niven's Relationship At The Time Of Death

David Niven was married to Hjördis Genberg at the time of his death. He passed away on July 29, 1983, in Château-d'Oex, Switzerland. 

The acclaimed actor succumbed to motor neuron disease at the age of 73, as mentioned in an article from Express. It concluded a life filled with cinematic achievements and personal challenges. 


David Niven and his ex-wife, Hjördis Genberg SOURCE: Pinterest

Marriage To Hjördis Genberg

Niven's connection with Hjördis Genberg commenced on January 14, 1948. It remarkably endured until his passing in 1983. Their three decades-long marriage was a testament to the enduring strength of their bond. 

The love Niven and Genberg shared was not only a product of joyous moments but also a result of navigating the complexities that life inevitably brings. 

How David And Hjördis Met

The genesis of David and Hjördis's relationship can be traced back to the set of the ill-fated film "Bonnie Prince Charlie" in late 1947. She occupied his canvas chair and resisted all attempts to vacate it. 

Niven, upon hearing, came to confront the woman but, he immediately fell for her beauty. Their unconventional introduction blossomed into love, and within six weeks, they were pronounced husband and wife.


Hjördis Genberg with her dog SOURCE: Pinterest

How Was The Couple's Married Life?

Niven and Genberg's married life, though enduring, was not without its quirks and disagreements. She once, shared insights into their domestic dynamics while talking to the Woman Magazine.

David's wife revealed, “When I first married David, he used to be furious because I always left the top off my toothpaste tube.” She revealed he was a fanatically tidy man unlike her. Despite their differences, the couple navigated the complexities of matrimony with a blend of compromise and enduring affection.

The Infidelity Issue

The marriage between David Niven and Hjördis Genberg encountered turbulence due to reported infidelities on both sides. 

Niven was also open about his affairs with his sons. The intricacies of their on-and-off relationship remained a puzzle, as they chose not to divorce despite all of it.

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The Actor's Previous Marriage to Primula Rollo

Before Genberg entered his life, Niven's heart belonged to Rollo. The two embarked on the journey of matrimony on September 16, 1940. They shared vows that would bind them through the tumultuous years of World War II. 


David Niven and his first wife, Primula Rollo SOURCE: Pinterest

However, David and Primula's promising union faced an untimely and heart-wrenching conclusion on May 21, 1946. The tragedy struck as she passed away. 

How David And Rollo Met

The story of David and Primula's meeting was a blend of chance and romance. Their paths crossed in various versions – from a shared glance at a London café to a more dramatic encounter in a trench during an attack on an RAF airfield.

Regardless of the details, Niven and Rollo's connection was instantaneous. Their meeting led to marriage just three weeks after their first encounter.

The first encounter, as recounted by Niven in December 1945, is a captivating tale. The setting was an RAF airfield under attack, and the actor dramatically dove into a slit trench. He landed on top of Primula. What followed was a whimsical dialogue: "She squealed and her dog bit me. She said, 'Why the hell did you sit on my dog?' and I said, 'Why the hell have you got a Pekingese in a trench anyway?' And that's how we got acquainted."


David Niven and Primula Rollo with her child SOURCE: Pinterest

The Death Of Primula Rollo

The promising life of Primula Rollo came to a tragic end on May 21, 1946, at the age of 28. During a party at Tyrone Power's house, a game of sardines turned fatal when she mistakenly walked through a doorway. She thought it led to a closet. 

Instead, it led to a flight of stone steps, resulting in a fractured skull and fatal brain lacerations. Niven's ex-wife died the following day, as mentioned in Find a Grave.

David Niven's Relationship History

David Niven's romantic history unveils a diverse array of relationships. In 1957, he was romantically involved with Deborah Kerr, while the previous year saw a connection with Princess Margaret. The 1950s also brought relationships with Peggy Maley, Evelyn Keyes, and Loretta Young. 

In the late 1930s, Niven's romantic associations included names like Virginia Bruce and Norma Shearer (1939). The early 1930s showcased connections with Wendy Barrie (1935), Barbara Hutton (1932), and Carole Lombard (1930). 

"The Pink Panther" actor encounters extended to prominent personalities such as Simone Simon, Doris Duke, Hedy Lamarr, and Mae West, emphasizing the diversity of his romantic interests. His romantic tapestry, woven with various names, including Audrey Totter and Margot Fonteyn, reflects the myriad experiences that shaped his journey.


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