Hjördis post, April 2023

A view of Lo Scoglietto’s garden and rotunda. Cap Ferrat, January 2023

Hello! It’s been a while since my last post, but there has been a lot of activity on hjordisniven.com.

The newest page is a gallery of photos documenting a visit to Cap Ferrat in January 2023, and a stroll past David and Hjördis’ old summer residence ‘Lo Scoglietto’, now called ‘Fleur de Cap’. It feels like a really special area. (Reflected in the prices in the windows of local estate agents!)

For vintage views of Lo Scoglietto, check out ‘Lo Scoglietto – The little rock‘ for Hjördis’ description of the house and its 1960s renovations.

Hjördis Niven, journalist Margareta Hernberg and David Niven, 1963
Hjördis Niven, bee-hived journalist Margareta Hernberg, and David Niven. 1963

The Nivens at Lo Scoglietto, 1967‘ tells the story of a visit to ‘Lo Scoglietto’ by Swedish journalist Margareta Hernberg. It also manages to highlight Hjördis’ paranoia about leaving David in the company of a young female jourmalist.

Margareta had previously revealed a real talent for getting below the glossy surface of the couple’s relationship. Which was usually inpenetrable.

Her Women’s World interview from 1963 shone a light on David’s reluctance to let Hjördis have a movie career, even when one was dropped onto her lap after an appearance in the tv drama ‘Safe Keeping‘…

“The day after the program we were completely overwhelmed,” David remembered. “Of course, it concerned offers for Hjördis. It’s been about six or seven years now, but I still haven’t gotten over it. You work year in and year out, hoping that you develop in your profession. And then one’s wife, a complete novice, comes and makes a single appearance. Great success!”

“And I was kind enough to interrupt a promising acting career in order not to compete with you,” was Hjördis’ response. A real ‘joke with a jab’.

Jamie Niven podcast interview
Jamie Niven podcast interview

In 2021, David’s son Jamie took part in a frank podcast for the Partnership To End Addiction, discussing alcohol problems that lasted from his teens to his sixties.

Among other revelations, he mentions how a friend helped him to understand his father’s attitude to perceived competition: “He was a narcissist, and narcissists can’t tolerate the success of the other around them.”

The podcast’s headline is: “Despite being the son of an Academy Award-winning actor, Jamie Niven’s life wasn’t all glitz and glamour. At just six months old, Jamie’s mother passed away, leaving Jamie to grow up with an overwhelming feeling of loneliness – a feeling that followed him for his entire life.”

Hjördis was not named or even alluded to, but she could surely have done more to fill the void in Jamie’s life.

“Hjördis was more of a companion rather than a mother,” Jamie told Sheridan Morley in the 1980s. “She didn’t act like a mother and she made it very clear that she never wanted to be our mother.” (The perfect wife and mother, 1949-1950)

Hjordis Niven in Pacific Palisades, 1948
Hjördis Niven in Pacific Palisades, 1948

And now, something about friendship in Hollywood. Gene Tierney’s husband, Oleg Cassini, had plenty to say on the matter:

“Friendship among stars was a curious phenomenon. Gene had no friends who might be considered competitors, and this was quite typical. She could be friendly with older women, and men, but no-one her own age really. This was true among male stars as well. The big ones expected to be treated like royalty; each was a sun, with various dimmer satellites swirling about him. For a time I sought to become friendly with Errol Flynn – we played tennis together, his natural dash and flamboyance appealed to me – but it wasn’t possible. Like most big stars, Flynn expected deference from his friends. His circle included lesser stars like Bruce Cabot and David Niven, none of whom questioned his suzerainty.”

For more Oleg, and Hjördis’ impressions of the 1940s-50s Hollywood social scene: May I introduce… Mrs David Niven

Concept posters for the ‘Chalet’ movie project

Meanwhile, somewhere in a pipeline, a project is taking shape to adapt a play written by the late journalist Roderick Mann into a movie. ‘Chalet’ is set in December 1975, and was apparently based on Hjördis’ behaviour towards David in his last days.

The project’s website: https://chaletmovie.com (No connection to hjordisniven.com!)

And that’s all for this post! Until next time, take care, and check the updates page.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: