David Niven
English actor, author
David Niven
James David Graham Niven, was a British actor and novelist, best known for his roles as Phileas Fogg in Around the World in 80 Days and Sir Charles Lytton, a.k.a. "the Phantom", in The Pink Panther. He was awarded the 1958 Academy Award for Best Actor in Separate Tables. Born in London, Niven attended Heatherdown and Stowe before gaining a place at Royal Military College at Sandhurst. He was gazetted a Lieutenant in the Highland Light Infantry.
Biography
David Niven's personal information overview.
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Roberts signs with Union - Niagara Gazette
Google News - over 5 years
Union coach David Niven was thrilled that Roberts chose the Bulldogs over several other offers from NAIA and Division II schools and a preferred walk-on opportunity from a small Division I school. “AJ is another guy that I am really excited about
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In praise of ... second choices - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
Sean Connery was behind David Niven, Patrick McGoohan and Cary Grant in the queue to play Ian Fleming's most famous creation: would Bond have become the world's favourite spy without those eyebrows and that burr? Shurely not
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David Williamson: Real Politik - WalesOnline
Google News - over 5 years
If a winsome rascal with a David Niven moustache managed to smuggle the crown jewels out of the Tower of London in a hot air balloon and went on to enjoy happy sun-filled afternoons in Latin America, he would be celebrated as a fine example of a chap
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Nine hours of repeats a day on BBC2 and some days you must wait until 8pm to ... - Daily Mail
Google News - over 5 years
At 11.35am viewers were treated to The Moon Is Blue, a film starring David Niven made in 1953. After it finished at 1.15pm, there were back-to-back repeats until 8pm. Viewers hoping for vintage classics among those shows would have been disappointed
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Mexico Marks Century of Comic Cantinflas' Birth - ABC News
Google News - over 5 years
He is best known in the rest of the world for his turn as David Niven's resourceful valet in "Around the World in Eighty Days," but the pencil-mustached Cantinflas contributed something much deeper in Mexico. While leading man Pedro Infante represented
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The Guns of Navarone to Fire on Blu-ray - TheHDRoom
Google News - over 5 years
Gregory Peck, David Niven and Anthony Quinn star in the film that won an Oscar in 1961 for Best Visual Effects. It traces a small group of Allied soldiers tasked with infiltrating a Nazi-controlled Greek island and destroying a pair of massive
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Film Choice: 08/08/11 - The Independent
Google News - over 5 years
(Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger, 1946) British bomber-pilot David Niven falls in love with US radio operator Kim Hunter after his time was supposedly up, and must argue the case for his continued existence in a celestial court
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DENNIS O'NEIL: Green Is The Color Of My Lantern - Comicmix.com
Google News - over 5 years
Last time we decided that parallel evolution caused a duplicate David Niven… well, almost duplicate; there is the matter of that magenta complexion… a duplicate David Niven to evolve on the planet Korugar, because parallel evolution will have its way
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Brucie nearly landed a film role - The Sun
Google News - over 5 years
The former Play Your Cards Right host, 83, said he was once offered a plum role after it was turned down by debonair Hollywood actor David Niven. But then Pink Panther star Niven, who died in 1983, changed his mind - meaning Bruce missed out on his big
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From the archive, 30 July 1983: Niven - durable star who looked on bright side - The Guardian
Google News - over 5 years
David Niven, the film star whose pencil moustache, stiff upper lip and nonchalant charm served as emblems of upper middle-class England for more than 40 years, died yesterday at his home near Lake Geneva. He was 73 and had been in poor health for
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The Greatest Hollywood Director You May Never Have Heard Of - Huffington Post (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
No longer distracted by his work, Sam sees his wife's weaknesses for the first time, as she openly flirts and cavorts with European aristocracy (including an oily Paul Lukas, and young David Niven in a breakthrough role). Sam must confront the crisis
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Why I am made up for Hugh Laurie - Belfast Telegraph
Google News - over 5 years
On top of that, he is, like most quintessentially English gentlemen — Hugh Grant, David Niven, James Bond and indeed Ian Fleming; I could go on — naturally of Scottish descent. And now he's the male face of L'Oréal, and you can watch a fabulously
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Always Jamaica - Here Is The City
Google News - over 5 years
Here he entertained guests such as Sir Laurence Olivier, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, David Niven, Katharine Hepburn, Errol Flynn and Ian Fleming. Jamaica is a place where the beaches take your breath away, the mountains produce stunning scenery
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Beyond Bond: The alternative world of 007 - Shadowlocked (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Casino Royale (1967): More spoofing, and this time its an unofficial film version of the novel in which Sir James Bond (David Niven) comes out of retirement to battle against arch enemies SMERSH. With several writers and directors involved,
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Cars 2 varooms under Pixar's usually high bar - Globe and Mail
Google News - over 5 years
Finn McMissile (voiced by Michael Caine) is a sleek English Austin with a line on the grille suggesting a David Niven-like mustache. He's trying to photograph a top-secret camera on board a ship carrying the monocle-wearing German scientist Professor Z
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The Crowd: Bond brings out the music lovers - Daily Pilot
Google News - over 5 years
"Ian Fleming wanted David Niven to play the James Bond role," Davis said, "Instead, they cast a bodybuilder-Scotsman from the chorus line of London's West End theatrical district." For the record, Niven did play the part of Bond on the silver screen in
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Who's in cahoots with whom? - Daily News Egypt
Google News - over 5 years
Johnny Race (David Niven). Frustrated at the lack of progress in the investigation of Death on the Nile, Race blurts out: Why doesn't someone murder her (Mia Farrow)? To which Hercule Poirot replies: Well maybe the world's lending libraries will band
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Old Dracula Review - Mania
Google News - over 5 years
Dracula (David Niven) longs to revive his bride Vampira. Apparently, the only other thing besides sunlight and a stake to the heart that can harm a vampire is sucking the blood from an anemic pheasant. She rests in state of hibernation and only the
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Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of David Niven
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 1983
    Age 72
    A Thanksgiving service for Niven was held at St Martin-in-the-Fields, London, on 27 October 1983.
    More Details Hide Details The congregation of 1,200 included Prince Michael of Kent, Margaret, Duchess of Argyll, Sir John Mills, Sir Richard Attenborough, Trevor Howard, Sir David Frost, Joanna Lumley, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., and Lord Olivier. Biographer Graham Lord wrote, "the biggest wreath, worthy of a Mafia Godfather's funeral, was delivered from the porters at London's Heathrow Airport, along with a card that read: 'To the finest gentleman who ever walked through these halls. He made a porter feel like a king.'" In 1985, Niven was included in a series of British postage stamps, along with Sir Alfred Hitchcock, Sir Charlie Chaplin, Peter Sellers, and Vivien Leigh, to commemorate "British Film Year". By Niven: About Niven:
    In February 1983, using a false name to avoid publicity, Niven was hospitalised for 10 days, ostensibly for a digestive problem.
    More Details Hide Details Afterwards, he returned to his chalet at Château-d'Œx. His condition continued to decline, but he refused to return to the hospital, and his family supported his decision.
  • 1981
    Age 70
    His final appearance in Hollywood was hosting the 1981 American Film Institute tribute to Fred Astaire.
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    His 1981 interviews on the talk shows of Michael Parkinson and Merv Griffin alarmed family and friends; viewers wondered if Niven had either been drinking or suffered a stroke.
    More Details Hide Details He blamed his slightly slurred voice on the shooting schedule on the film he had been making, Better Late Than Never. He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or "Lou Gehrig's disease" in the US and motor neurone disease (MND) in the UK) later that year.
  • 1980
    Age 69
    In 1980, Niven began experiencing fatigue, muscle weakness, and a warble in his voice.
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  • 1975
    Age 64
    He followed this with Bring On the Empty Horses in 1975, a collection of entertaining reminiscences from Hollywood's "Golden Age" in the 1930s and '40s.
    More Details Hide Details It now appears that Niven recounted many incidents from a first-person perspective that actually happened to other people, especially Cary Grant, which he borrowed and embroidered. In 1981 Niven published a second and much more successful novel, Go Slowly, Come Back Quickly, which was set during and after the Second World War, and which drew on his experiences during the war and in Hollywood. He was working on a third novel at the time of his death. While on leave in 1940, Niven met Primula "Primmie" Susan Rollo (18 February 1918, London – 21 May 1946), the daughter of London lawyer William H.C. Rollo. After a whirlwind romance, they married on 16 September. A son, David, Jr., was born in December 1942 and a second son, James Graham Niven on 6 November 1945. Primmie died at age 28, only six weeks after the family moved to the U.S. She fractured her skull after an accidental fall in the Beverly Hills, California home of Tyrone Power, while playing a game of "sardines." She had walked through a door believing it led to a closet, but instead, it led to a stone staircase to the basement.
    In 1975, he narrated The Remarkable Rocket, a short animation based on a story by Oscar Wilde.
    More Details Hide Details In 1979, he appeared in Escape to Athena, which was produced by his son David, Jr. In July 1982, Blake Edwards brought Niven back for cameo appearances in two final "Pink Panther" films (Trail of the Pink Panther and Curse of the Pink Panther), reprising his role as Sir Charles Lytton. By this time, Niven was having serious health problems. When the raw footage was reviewed, his voice was inaudible, and his lines had to be dubbed by Rich Little. Niven only learned of it from a newspaper report. This was his last film appearance. Niven wrote four books. The first, Round the Rugged Rocks, (published simultaneously in the US under the title "Once Over Lightly") was a novel that appeared in 1951 and was forgotten almost at once. In 1971, he published his autobiography, The Moon's a Balloon, which was well received, selling over five million copies.
  • 1974
    Age 63
    In 1974, he hosted David Niven's World for London Weekend Television, which profiled contemporary adventurers such as hang gliders, motorcyclists, and mountain climbers: it ran for 21 episodes.
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  • FIFTIES
  • 1967
    Age 56
    In 1967, he appeared as James Bond 007 in Casino Royale.
    More Details Hide Details Niven had been Bond creator Ian Fleming's first choice to play Bond in Dr. No. Casino Royale co-producer Charles K. Feldman said later that Fleming had written the book with Niven in mind, and therefore had sent a copy to Niven. Niven was the only James Bond actor mentioned by name in the text of a Fleming novel. In You Only Live Twice (chapter 14), the pearl diver Kissy Suzuki refers to Niven as "the only man she liked in Hollywood", and the only person who "treated her honourably" there. While Niven was co-hosting the 46th Annual Oscars ceremony, a naked man appeared behind him, "streaking" across the stage. Niven responded "Isn't it fascinating to think that probably the only laugh that man will ever get in his life is by stripping off and showing his shortcomings?"
  • 1965
    Age 54
    In 1965, he starred in Where the Spies Are.
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  • 1964
    Age 53
    In 1964, Boyer and he appeared in the Four Star series The Rogues.
    More Details Hide Details Niven played Alexander 'Alec' Fleming, one of a family of retired con-artists who now fleece villains in the interests of justice. This was his only recurring role on television. The Rogues ran for only one season, but won a Golden Globe award.
  • FORTIES
  • 1959
    Age 48
    With an Academy Award to his credit, Niven's career continued to thrive. In 1959, he became the host of his own TV drama series, The David Niven Show, which ran for 13 episodes that summer.
    More Details Hide Details He subsequently appeared in another 30 films, including The Guns of Navarone (1961) The Pink Panther (1963), Murder by Death (1976), Death on the Nile (1978), and The Sea Wolves (1980).
  • 1958
    Age 47
    He won the 1958 Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Major Pollock in Separate Tables, his only nomination for an Oscar.
    More Details Hide Details Appearing on-screen for only 23 minutes in the film, this was the briefest performance ever to win a Best Actor Oscar, until Anthony Hopkins win for the 1991 film The Silence of the Lambs, which is a little over 16 minutes. He was also a co-host of the 30th, 31st, and 46th Academy Awards ceremonies. After Niven had won the Academy Award, Goldwyn called with an invitation to his home. In Goldwyn's drawing room, Niven noticed a picture of himself in uniform which he had sent to Goldwyn from Britain during the Second World War. In happier times with Goldwyn, he had observed this same picture sitting on Goldwyn's piano. Now years later, the picture was still in exactly the same spot. As he was looking at the picture, Goldwyn's wife Frances said, "Sam never took it down."
  • 1956
    Age 45
    Niven enjoyed success in 1956, when he starred as Phileas Fogg in producer Michael Todd's Around the World in 80 Days.
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  • 1955
    Age 44
    In 1955, Cornel Lucas photographed Niven while filming at the Rank Film Studio in Denham, Buckinghamshire.
    More Details Hide Details A limited edition of British postage stamps was produced using one of Lucas's images taken during this portrait sitting. Niven worked in television. He appeared several times on various short-drama shows, and was one of the "four stars" of the dramatic anthology series Four Star Playhouse, appearing in 33 episodes. The show was produced by Four Star Television, which was co-owned and founded by Niven, Dick Powell, and Charles Boyer. The show ended in 1955, but Four Star TV became a highly successful TV production company.
  • 1951
    Age 40
    During this period, Niven was largely barred from the Hollywood studios. Between 1951 and 1956, he made 11 films, two of which were MGM productions and the rest were low-budget British or independent productions.
    More Details Hide Details However, Niven won a Golden Globe Award for his work in The Moon Is Blue (1953), produced and directed by Otto Preminger.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1950
    Age 39
    In 1950, he starred in The Elusive Pimpernel, which was made in Britain and which was to be distributed by Samuel Goldwyn.
    More Details Hide Details Goldwyn pulled out, and the film did not appear in the US for three years. Niven had a long, complex relationship with Goldwyn, who gave him his first start, but the dispute over The Elusive Pimpernel and Niven's demands for more money led to a long estrangement between the two in the 1950s.
  • 1948
    Age 37
    In 1948, Niven met Hjördis Paulina Tersmeden (née Genberg, 1919–1997), a divorced Swedish fashion model.
    More Details Hide Details He recounted their meeting: I had never seen anything so beautiful in my life—tall, slim, auburn hair, up-tilted nose, lovely mouth and the most enormous grey eyes I had ever seen. It really happened the way it does when written by the worst lady novelists... I goggled. I had difficulty swallowing and had champagne in my knees. In New York, Niven and Hjördis were next-door neighbours with Audrey Hepburn, who made her début on Broadway that season. In 1960, while filming Please Don't Eat the Daisies with Doris Day, Niven and Hjördis separated for a few weeks, but later reconciled. In 1960, Niven moved to Château-d'Œx near Gstaad in Switzerland for financial reasons, near to close friends in the country including Deborah Kerr, Peter Ustinov, and Noël Coward. Niven's status as a tax exile in Switzerland is believed to have been one of the reasons why he never received a British honour. Niven divided his time in the 1960s and '70s between Château-d'Œx and Cap Ferrat on the Côte d'Azur in the south of France.
  • 1946
    Age 35
    Niven resumed his career in 1946, now only in starring roles.
    More Details Hide Details His films A Matter of Life and Death (1946), The Bishop's Wife (1947) with Cary Grant, and Enchantment (1948) are all highly regarded.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1940
    Age 29
    Niven first met Churchill at a dinner party in February 1940.
    More Details Hide Details Churchill singled him out from the crowd and stated, "Young man, you did a fine thing to give up your film career to fight for your country. Mark you, had you not done so − it would have been despicable." A few stories have surfaced. About to lead his men into action, Niven eased their nervousness by telling them, "Look, you chaps only have to do this once. But I'll have to do it all over again in Hollywood with Errol Flynn!" Asked by suspicious American sentries during the Battle of the Bulge who had won the World Series in 1943, he answered, "Haven't the foggiest idea... but I did co-star with Ginger Rogers in Bachelor Mother!" On another occasion, asked how he felt about serving with the British Army in Europe, he allegedly said, "Well on the whole, I would rather be tickling Ginger Rogers' tits."
    Niven was recommissioned as a lieutenant into the Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort's Own) on 25 February 1940, and was assigned to a motor training battalion.
    More Details Hide Details He wanted something more exciting, however, and transferred into the Commandos. He was assigned to a training base at Inverailort House in the Western Highlands. Niven later claimed credit for bringing future Major General Sir Robert E. Laycock to the Commandos. Niven commanded "A" Squadron GHQ Liaison Regiment, better known as "Phantom". He worked with the Army Film Unit. He acted in two films made during the war, The First of the Few (1942) and The Way Ahead (1944). Both were made with a view to winning support for the British war effort, especially in the United States. Niven's Film Unit work included a small part in the deception operation that used minor actor M.E. Clifton James to impersonate General Sir Bernard Montgomery. During his work with the Film Unit, Peter Ustinov, though one of the script-writers, had to pose as Niven's batman. (Ustinov also acted in The Way Ahead.) Niven explained in his autobiography that there was no military way that he, as a lieutenant-colonel, and Ustinov, who was only a private, could associate, other than as an officer and his subordinate, hence their strange "act". Ustinov later appeared with Niven in Death on the Nile (1978).
  • 1939
    Age 28
    After Britain declared war on Germany in 1939, Niven returned home and rejoined the British Army.
    More Details Hide Details He was alone among British stars in Hollywood in doing so; the British Embassy advised most actors to stay.
    In 1939 he co-starred with Ginger Rogers in the RKO comedy Bachelor Mother and starred as the eponymous gentleman safe-cracker in Raffles.
    More Details Hide Details Niven joined what became known as the Hollywood Raj, a group of British actors in Hollywood which included Rex Harrison, Boris Karloff, Stan Laurel, Basil Rathbone, Ronald Colman, Leslie Howard, and C. Aubrey Smith. According to his autobiography, Errol Flynn and he were firm friends and rented Rosalind Russell's house at 601 North Linden Drive as a bachelor pad.
  • 1934
    Age 23
    After detours to Bermuda and Cuba, he arrived in Hollywood in 1934.
    More Details Hide Details When Niven presented himself at Central Casting, he learned that he needed a work permit to reside and work in the U.S. This meant that Niven had to leave the US, so he went to Mexico, where he worked as a "gun-man", cleaning and polishing the rifles of visiting American hunters. He received his resident alien visa from the American consulate when his birth certificate arrived from Britain. He returned to the United States and was accepted by Central Casting as "Anglo-Saxon Type No. 2,008." His role in Mutiny on the Bounty brought him to the attention of independent film producer Samuel Goldwyn, who signed him to a contract and established his career. Niven appeared in 19 films in the next four years. He had supporting roles in several major films—Rose-Marie (1936), Dodsworth (1936), The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)—and leading roles in The Dawn Patrol (1938), Three Blind Mice (1938) and Wuthering Heights (1939), playing opposite such stars as Errol Flynn, Loretta Young and Laurence Olivier.
  • 1933
    Age 22
    While crossing the Atlantic, Niven resigned his commission by telegram on 6 September 1933.
    More Details Hide Details Niven then moved to New York City, where he began an unsuccessful career in whisky sales, after which he had a stint in horse rodeo promotion in Atlantic City.
    Niven grew tired of the peacetime army. Though promoted to lieutenant on 1 January 1933, he saw no opportunity for further advancement.
    More Details Hide Details His ultimate decision to resign came after a lengthy lecture on machine guns, which was interfering with his plans for dinner with a particularly attractive young lady. At the end of the lecture, the speaker (a major general) asked if there were any questions. Showing the typical rebelliousness of his early years, Niven asked, "Could you tell me the time, sir? I have to catch a train." After being placed under close-arrest for this act of insubordination, Niven finished a bottle of whisky with the officer who was guarding him: Rhoddy Rose (later Colonel R.L.C. Rose, DSO, MC). With Rose's assistance, Niven was allowed to escape from a first-floor window. He then headed for America.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1930
    Age 19
    He attended the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, graduating in 1930 with a commission as a second lieutenant in the British Army.
    More Details Hide Details He did well at Sandhurst, which gave him the "officer and gentleman" bearing that was to be his trademark. He requested assignment to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders or the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), then jokingly wrote on the form, as his third choice, "anything but the Highland Light Infantry" (because the HLI wore tartan trews rather than kilts). He was assigned to the HLI, and his comment was known in the regiment. Thus, Niven did not enjoy his time in the army. He served with the HLI for two years in Malta and then for a few months in Dover. In Malta, he became friends with Roy Urquhart, future commander of the British 1st Airborne Division.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1917
    Age 6
    Niven's mother remarried, to Sir Thomas Comyn-Platt, in London in 1917.
    More Details Hide Details Graham Lord, in Niv: The Authorised Biography of David Niven, suggested that Comyn-Platt and Mrs. Niven had been having an affair for some time before her husband's death, and that Sir Thomas may well have been David Niven's biological father, a supposition which has some support from her children. A reviewer of Lord's book stated that Lord's photographic evidence showing a strong physical resemblance between Niven and Comyn-Platt "would appear to confirm these theories, though photographs can often be misleading." David Niven had three older siblings: English private schools at the time of Niven's boyhood were noted for their strict and sometimes brutal discipline. Niven suffered many instances of corporal punishment owing to his inclination for pranks, which finally led to his expulsion from Heatherdown Preparatory School at the age of 10½. This ended his chances for Eton College, a significant blow to his family. After failing to pass the naval entrance exam because of his difficulty with maths, Niven attended Stowe School, a newly created public school led by headmaster J.F. Roxburgh, who was unlike any of Niven's previous headmasters. Thoughtful and kind, he addressed the boys by their first names, allowed them bicycles, and encouraged and nurtured their personal interests. Niven later wrote, "How he did this, I shall never know, but he made every single boy at that school feel that what he said and what he did were of real importance to the headmaster."
  • 1915
    Age 4
    William served in the Berkshire Yeomanry in the First World War and was killed during the Gallipoli Campaign on 21 August 1915.
    More Details Hide Details He was buried in Green Hill Cemetery, Turkey, in the Special Memorial Section in Plot F. 10.
  • 1910
    Born
    Born on March 1, 1910.
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Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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