Hugh Massingberd

It’s being so cheerful that keeps me going

When asked why he was always so incredibly cheerful, David Niven (Stowe, Sandhurst and the Silver Screen) used to reply, ‘Well, old bean, life is really so bloody awful that I feel it’s my absolute duty to be chirpy and try and make everybody else happy too.’ Niven’s extraordinary charm and delightfully light touch made him the perfect choice for Bertie Wooster in Thank You, Jeeves (1936), his first leading role in Hollywood after he had risen from the ranks of Central Casting (‘Anglo-Saxon Type No.

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