Primula Rollo was
born in England in 1918, the only daughter to Lady Kathleen and Flight Lieutenant
During the summer of 1940 whilst she was a member of the Women's Auxiliary
Air Force, she met David Niven, a member of the Rifle Brigade who was on summer
leave in London. David's first memory of Primmie was of a face of beauty and
sweetness with a perfect complexion, the bluest and merriest of eyes, long
blonde hair and with a divinely willowly figure.
It took only ten days for David to realise that Primmie was 'the one'
and his proposal of marriage was welcomed by both Primmie and her parents.
After an announcement of the wedding in The Times newspaper, David and
Primmie were married at Huish Church on the Wiltshire
Downs. The best man was David's dear friend Michael
David used to say that he was the luckiest man in the world, but it was only
when he met Primmie that Trubshawe agreed, he thought her kind, fun, radiant
and the perfect English Rose. David was exceptionally happy with Primmie,
she gave him a sense of purpose and stability and they were hopelessly in
After returning to Hollywood alone in December 1945, Primmie followed a few
months later with their children and they set up home in Beverly Hills. During
a trip to Clarke Gable's retreat Primmie wrote to her father saying she'd
never been happier.
It was during a party at Tyrone Power's house that a terrible accident occurred.
During a game of sardines (hide-and-seek), Primmie mistakenly walked through
a doorway thinking it was leading into a closet, but instead it was a flight
of stone steps leading to the basement. After her fall an ambulance was called
and Primmie was taken to the hospital. Sadly she died the following day, 21st
May 1946 of a fractured skull and brain lacerations, she was just 28 years
old. David was left alone to raise their two young sons, David Jr and Jamie.
David never forgot Primmie,
he would often talk about his love for her and on the last evening before
his own death, while in the company of his daughter Kristina, he suddenly
started to recall how he had met Primmie, the love he had for her and how
different his life would have been if she had not died.
Acquaintances have often described David's six years with Primmie as the happiest
of his life.