How tall was David Niven

David Niven's Height

5ft 11 ¼ (181 cm)

English actor best remembered for roles in such films as A Matter of Life and Death, The Pink Panther, The Bishop's Wife, Around the World in 80 Days, Separate Tables, My Man Godfrey, Casino Royale, Wuthering Heights, 55 Days at Peking and The Guns of Navarone.

How tall is David Niven
Photo By Allan Warren [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
This guy [publicist] says I'm six-four and was born in Canada. You can easily see I'm barely Six Feet tall and I'll tell you I was born in Scotland.
-- Daily News, 1958
Q: What are your physical statistics?
A: I'm 6 feet tall, weigh 187 pounds, have blue eyes and "distinguished" gray hair. You'll have to read my books to get measurements more personal than that!

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Add a Comment58 comments

Average Guess (41 Votes)
5ft 11.37in (181.3cm)
Gerald S said on 25/Aug/23
Rob, can you add his PAPER TIGER co-star Hardy Krüger?

No doubt Krüger was a bog standard 5’11” range. Niven and Krüger looked eye to eye, but if anything, Niven was a mere fraction taller. Krüger was arguably Germany’s most famous actor, so a good missing entry to rectify.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 22/Apr/23
5ft11½ was a fair shout, no less.
Gerald S said on 5/Apr/23
Rob, I’d very much appreciate your estimate for German Hollywood actor, Hardy Krüger. 5’11”?

w/Maximilian Schell Click Here
w/David Niven Click Here
w/Niven Click Here
w/Niven Click Here
w/Niven Click Here
w/Niven & Toshiro Mifune Click Here
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 24/Dec/22
“You’ll have to read my book to get measurements more personal than that!”

🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 classic Niven
Abdul-DK said on 16/Jul/22
181.3 max.
Sinclair said on 17/Mar/22
I thought Niven had a good two inches on Jean Paul Belmondo in Casino Royale. Thus, Niven was probably a strong 5’11” as much as Belmondo was a strong 5’9”. Interestingly, Belmondo did look closer than ever to 5’10” in Mississippi Mermaid, but I reckon Catherine Deneuve was under 5’6”, and too many other factors prevent me from accepting anything over 5’9.5” for Belmondo. Like Niven, Belmondo’s extremely slim build only helped him look taller than he was.
Toby Barrett said on 19/Feb/22
fake bond actor was in a parody and not the main series
Sinclair said on 10/Aug/20
I think 5’11.25” is a perfectly legitimate listing for Niven. I even think Niven was a hair taller than Robert Wagner in The Pink Panther, both men looked extremely similar in height. I thought sometimes Wagner did look taller than Niven and other times Niven looked like he had the edge. Niven was in his fifties at the time of The Pink Panther, so he may have been a tad shorter than he was in his twenties. Niven and Wagner were probably two solid 5’11” actors.
Editor Rob
His barely 6ft claim isn't that bad a statement, it might indicate he was indicating he could be 5ft 11.5, which at times he passed for in films.
Tall In The Saddle said on 6/Apr/20
IMO, flat 5'11" for Niven.

Flynn generally looked to have close to 2" on him. Flynn wasn't 6'2". Flynn was 6'1" max. IMHO, though an intelligent man and gifted writer, Niven was a very boring actor. When he hit Hollywood, literally categorised as Anglo Saxon Type No. 2008. Great story teller. Though, his anecdotes have to be taken with a grain of salt in terms of facts - he was known to dust off other people's stories and insert his own "players".

Shared a house with Errol and claimed they dubbed it Cirrhosis by the Sea. Clever. However, the house was formerly occupied by super sharp Rosalind Russell who actually bestowed the house its name.

Apparently quite a dark side to the Niven. In his book, he said of Flynn that at least you always knew where you stood with Errol - because he always let you down. I suppose at least Flynn was the devil you knew and I don't recall reading Niven being around when Flynn's star had faded. Niven knew very well how to advance himself and who to hang with at the right time.
Ian C. said on 4/Apr/20
Just watched Niven in the 1939 movie Bachelor Mother, and he is noticeably taller than all the other male actors in the movie. It's as the supporting actors were cast with a strict height ceiling, to make Niven look tall. And those guys were short. Like five foot eight or so. This suggests that Niven was eager to cast himself as a taller man than he was.
Neelasish Send Roy said on 15/Mar/19
He looks 2 inches shorter than Basil Rathbone, so what is his peak height,Rob?
Editor Rob
I think generally C-D is for me a range he has looked. Maybe the 181 is on the low end of my estimate.
Neelasish Sen Roy said on 31/Aug/18
David Niven looks 7cm-8cm or 9cm shorter than Basil Rathbone. In his 50's he was 6cm shorter than Rathbone.
Rabindra sankar sen roy said on 23/Jun/18
He is solid 6' or even 6'1".
James said on 26/Sep/17
Niven was no more than 5'10".
Arch Stanton said on 20/Aug/17
Here's proof Niven wore lifts, compare him with Peck here Click Here to Click Here LOL!!!
James said on 7/Nov/16
Niven made a career playing an outdated "British" stereotype. He can't have been more than average height. They were all too old in "The Guns of Navarone" and Niven was notably shorter than the others.
josh jeffords said on 4/Nov/16
Always liked him was fairly versatile funny to sinister but always british/english.
Had a lanky build but sorry to be argumentative but I love guns of navarone the 6ft plus guys destroyed any claim of 5 11.
He looked barely a weak 5 10 in that movie never noticed lifts but yeah his height did vary a lot.
I think he was just a skinny average height guy who did whatever he had to for the roles.
Arch Stanton said on 2/Oct/16
He didn't always wear lifts, that's why his height was all over the place. But he could prtety much look anything from 5'10.5 to 6'2! He pulled off a Roger Moore sort of height in quite a few films, usually when with a taller actor like Heston or Peck to not look much shorter.
James said on 13/Sep/16
Niven was actually 5'10". He always wore lifts.

It's not surprising if he's forgotten today because he died over 30 years ago.
Editor Rob
I wouldn't say he always wore them, but his height sure did seem to vary, he could look over 5ft 11 a fair bit.
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 18/Jun/16
@Arch: Look at photos I posted. More like he could look from 179cm to 189cm!
Arch Stanton said on 17/Jun/16
He could look anything from 5 ft 10 to 6'1.5 LOL.
Arch Stanton said on 17/Jun/16
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 10/May/16
His height could look all over the place really..

Exactly, and when that's the case we know that lifts is the real reason. In the Best of Enemies he pulled off looking 6'1.5 with Michael Wilding and Alberto Sordi! And in 55 Days to Peking he looked Roger Moore sort of height with Charlton Heston. Yet barely taller than Laurence Olivier in the late 30s..
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 27/May/16
Click Here
Click Here

LOL, looks taller than C Aubrey Smith in these photos
Tom said on 21/May/16
Either Gary Cooper was a lot taller than 6-3 or Niven was a lot shorter than his official publicity height of six feet. Click Here
Rampage(-_-_-)Clover said on 10/May/16
His height could look all over the place really..
James said on 18/Mar/16
Niven was 5'11". He was no hero though.
Arch Stanton said on 1/Jan/16
Nah, probably best to leave it as it is, I've sent you a film comparison by email. He looks about 1.5 inches taller than Ustinov in the film. Just attribute him pulling off 6 ft a lot to a footwear boost in films with taller actors. I think his really height can be seen with Olivier in 1938, and he looked close to 5'11 flat than 6'.
Arch Stanton said on 1/Jan/16
If you watch 55 Days in Peking he can pull off looking like a 6'1 guy in that film! Perhaps when he knew he was in films with taller actors he was more height conscious?
Arch Stanton said on 1/Jan/16
The Olivier comparison might be more indicative of his real height though, he can pull off looking almost 6'1 on occasion, he had to have worn lifts on occasion.
Arch Stanton said on 1/Jan/16
Rob, can you tweak to a 5'11.5 (182) listing? I mean see him with Ustinov here. Click Here and Roger Moore Click Here He even pulls off 184 here with Moore and Peck Click Here I've seen a lot of his films and have to admit that he looks too near 6 ft too often overall to be closer to 5'11. I think overall a 5'11.5 in between is fair. He looks near 6 ft too often I think to be as low as I'd initially thought. But just when you think he's near 6 ft he can look 5'11-5'11.25. The thing is he might have worn lifts on occasion to pull off looking a decent 6ft with taller actors.
Arch Stanton said on 17/Oct/14
Rob have you got a photo? Can you also add Around the World in 80 Days, Separate Tables, My Man Godfrey, Casino Royale, Wuthering Heights and 55 Days at Peking?
James said on 16/Oct/14
Niven was 5'11" at his peak height. He probably wore built up shoes in films like many other actors.
Arch Stanton said on 20/Jun/14
In Casino Royale he looked 1.5 inches shorter than Terence Cooper who Rob has at 6'0.5".
avi said on 16/Jun/14
Close to 6'0 but 5'11.5 maybe even strong 5'11 is probable. Wasn't he same as Robert Wagner? Maybe he is just 5'11 after all....
Arch Stanton said on 13/Jun/14
Rob compare Click Here (in the film) to Click Here without lifts!! He looks 6'1 in the film and 5'11.5" without!
Arch Stanton said on 13/Jun/14
@ Rob, he actually looked 6 ft 1 in 55 Days at Peking!!! He only looked about 1.5 inches shorter than Heston in it! But his footwear looked a bit suspicious. Wouldn't surprise me if he was wearing a lift of some kind to not look short next to Heston. Generally though he looked nearer 5 ft 11.
Editor Rob
in an era like 40's or 50's I think wearing lifts or controlling appearance/publicity would be a lot easier than these days, were we have information overload. Trying to retain a knowledge of actors and heights at times can be overwhelming!
marcus said on 1/Jun/14
Looked 6'1" pre WWII. Probably 5'11.25 at the end. Man was a true war hero. He deserves a lot of respect.
tv guy said on 19/May/14
just saw david niven standing next to errol flynn (said to be 6'1") by the bird cage at the maharaja's reception toward the beginning of charge of the light brigade. He looks at least 2 inches shorter.
qartt said on 19/May/14
Click Here


Could he have been 6ft in the forties?

The above link has a lot of good height comparisons
Editor Rob
at times he really could look near 6ft, other times 5ft 11-11.5. I don't know how much height he lost, if any by 50
Arch Stanton said on 10/May/14
Thanks for that. Yeah I've seen a lot of his films from the 40s and 50s and on average I think he was actually nearer a flat 5'11 than 6 ft. I've compared him to quite a few people and near 5'11 than 6' checks out with most. That Olivier comparison convinced me once and for all. In the Bishop's Wife a 5'11.75 listing for him would have put Cary Grant nearer 6'2 too! A solid 5'11" is better than almost 6 ft I think. Spot on now IMO.
Arch Stanton said on 9/May/14
Can you make out Niven's footwear? In looking Olivier is wearing quite big boots. Perhaps the footwear isn't even.
Arch Stanton said on 9/May/14
Rob is there any chance of a downgrade to 181? 5'.11.75 does look very questionable next to Sir Laurence in Wuthering Heights. He actually looks 5'10.5"-5'11 in comparison, barely an inch taller if that. I still think Niven was nearer 5'11 flat.

Click Here Rob click direct download link avi file underneath. See the endof 58 minute/59 minutes. Really hard to see 2 inches and Olivier could often look a bit shy of 5'10!! What do you think? I've seen a lot of his films now and I really think he was nearer a flat 5'11 than 6 ft.
Editor Rob
I had a look at Laurence boots, they weren't huge, there's a clear shot...a bit of an advantage maybe, but 181 actually could be a better shout.
Arch Stanton said on 9/May/14
Rob is there any chance of a downgrade to 181? 5'.11.75 does look very questionable next to Sir Laurence in Wuthering Heights. He actually looks 5'10.5"-5'11 in comparison, barely an inch taller if that. I still think Niven was nearer 5'11 flat.

Click Here Rob click direct download link avi file underneath. See the under of 58 minute/59 minutes. Really hard to see 2 inches and Olivier could often look a bit shy of 5'10!!
Editor Rob
go with 11.5 for the moment
Arch Stanton said on 22/Apr/14
He does look about 6 ft in A Matter of Life and Death.
Andy Clifford said on 3/Apr/14
Arch, I doubt if the vast majority of people here in the UK under the age of forty have ever heard of Niven. Which is a shame, because I always liked him as an actor, but realistically his films were made decades ago. It's difficult to say how tall Niven was exactly, he could look at least six foot because he always remained lean but sometimes he did look more like 5'11".
Arch Stanton said on 6/Mar/14
@KNow it all. There is a scene in Guns where they're walking down a cobbled street and the height difference with Peck looked more 3-3.5" inches than 4. Granted he could look a flat 5'11" a lot but I think 182 is OK.
Arch Stanton said on 6/Mar/14
I'd have to disagree James that he's really all that forgotten today. I'm sure a lot of British guys regular watch films with him in and consider him one of the best English actors. A bit of smug ****, but the man had class and was a very good actor. Robert Donat, now he was one of the more underrated actors and should have been a much bigger star than he was.
Arch Stanton said on 25/Feb/14
Ruth Chatterton rather than Mary Astor, and she was listed at 5'2" range. Odd she only looked about 4 inches shorter than Niven in heels.
Arch Stanton said on 25/Feb/14
Looks about 4 inches taller than Mary Astor in Dodsworth but she had on medium heels I think. 5'11-6' is OK but he can look a flat 5'11" a lot.
James said on 28/Dec/13
Niven was only 5'11". I quite liked him as an actor, although he seems to be forgotten today.
Arch Stanton said on 2/Sep/13
Strange but he looks 6'1" range in Around the world in 80 days.
Knowitall said on 18/Jun/13
Niven was five eleven. He was four inches shorter than six foot three Greg Peck in The Guns of Navarone:

Click Here

Niven and Wagner were the same height.
Arch Stanton said on 20/May/13
Rob, have you seen Trail of the Pink Panther? not a very good film, Seller's scenes were flashbacks but 5'8" Joanna Lumley was wearing lowish boots which I think gave her little more than a man's shoe. She was about between 1 and 2 inches shorter than a 71 year old Niven, I think Niven was more 5'10" range by then.
Editor Rob
can't remember much about it
Arch Stanton said on 16/May/13
Perhaps Wagner's hair is adding a bit of height and Niven's posture isn't great here but I still got the impression he was taller than Niven, not shorter.
Arch Stanton said on 16/May/13
I thought it might have been bad posture by Niven but I'm pretty sure my eyes weren't playing tricks on me that Niven was shorter than him.

Click Here

Wagner looks near 6'1" as I said in this still I think. Was he really as low as 5'11"?
Editor Rob
they look pretty near in that photo, wagner could have been a bit taller peak, I saw his 'official page' has him at 6ft 2 :)
Arch Stanton said on 15/May/13
There is a scene where they're on the dancer floor in the bar and Wagner really look 6'1" in comparison. He had a very good physique as a young man looked quite long legged so could look like a 6 footer at times. But I think Niven's posture wasn't the best, they stand together very briefly later in the film and I think Wagner still edged Niven out but looked more like 6 ft than 6'1". Either way I'm pretty sure Wagner wasn't shorter than Niven and I doubt they were even the same height. I enjoy Seller's films a lot, partly as a lot of them have jazz film scores and parties at the end with jazz music which really gets me in the mood!
Arch Stanton said on 14/May/13
Rob, I'm watching The Pink Panther original movie and i'm baffled. Robert Wagner looks 6'1" next to Niven. Looks about 1.5 inches taller, the difference is noticeable. He looks 6'1" in that film and a tall guy. How do you explain that??
Editor Rob
not seen it for a while, but I thought they were similar height.
Arch Stanton said on 7/May/13
182cm is spot on I think. Thanks!! About 3 inches shorter than Gregory Peck who was genuinely around 6'3" I think, looked 5'11.5" next to Cary Grant. He looked both 5'11.5" and 6'0 so in between is probably a good idea!

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