The biography written by Michael Munn says the late British actor's suicide attempt was thwarted when the firearm he was using failed to work. The Sunday Times of London reported.
"I decided to blow my brains out. I took a gun and put the barrel in my mouth and, with barely a thought for my children, which was unforgivable, I pulled the trigger," Niven reportedly said shortly before his1983 death. "And the bloody thing didn't fire."
Munn also writes Niven, known for such films as "The Pink Panther" and "Around the World in 80 Days," turned to a life of sex and alcohol following his suicide attempt.
"I had some bizarre illness. I had to have sex," Munn quotes Niven of saying. "I think it was my only way of deadening the pain. That and getting drunk, but I preferred sex."
The Times said the mood of Munn's book about Niven, who died of motor neurone disease, differs greatly from Niven's own light-hearted autobiography, "The Moon's a Balloon."