“This is Going to Be The Year of the Boyd” 1964 Stephen Boyd Interview by Hedda Hopper

‘This Is Going to Be The Year of the Boyd’
Mar 29, 1964 by Hedda Hopper

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STEPHEN BOYD used to be a man
who wouldn’t see his own movies. I’ve known him to go to premieres, wait in the lobby until the movie was over, collect his date, and leave as tho he’d been part of the audience. He was that casual about his career. Now he tells me:

“I’ve had a change of heart and will go to see movies I make in the future because 1964 is going to be The Year of the Boyd.”

“What on earth do you mean by that?” I asked.

“When you re a theater actor coming into pictures you have a battle,” he re- plied. “In the theater an actor must lose himself in a role. Films are the opposite; movies are a personality business. With films you have to wrap up a package knowing the quality of the picture and your performance, and you still have to sell it. Now I know how to sell it.”

Steve started his acting career with the Ulster Theater group in Ireland when he was eight. When he grew up he journeyed to Canada and traveled thruout the dominion with repertory companies, then went to England. But no brass bands met him in London, and he kept alive by working as a cafeteria attendant and playing tunes on a guitar as a sidewalk entertainer.

By 1957 he had enough money saved up to come to Hollywood and found his first real break-the movies. Two years later he was an international sensation as Messala in “Ben Hur.” Then followed “Jumbo” with Doris Day and a raft of
other films. He has three more on the way: “Imperial Venus” with Gina Lollo- brigida; “The Third Secret” with Diane Cilento [of “Tom Jones” fame]; -and the epic “The Fall of the Roman Empire” with Sophia Loren and Alec Guinness.

When he’s not globe-trotting, Steve enjoys his new home in Palm Springs which he added to the one he already had in the San Fernando valley, and enjoys golf, tennis,. and photography, his favorite pastimes.

Another of Steve’s favorite, pastimes is talking about the screen beauties he s worked with:

“I like Doris Day. She’s the number one American star because she’s kind of an explosion of the girl-next-door, with talent. She’s as explosive as Sophia Loren but not in the same way; one is American, the other Latin.

“Brigitte Bardot? Now there’s really an explosive child! I lost 26 pounds when I worked with her- to keep up with her. But I’d do it again-she’s worth it. I think she’s becoming a better personality and has become more adult.”

Excitement has dominated Steve’s life, but he’s still just a home boy from the old sod at heart.

“My parents still live in Ireland,” Steve said. “My father is 72, and has retired as a truck driver.

“My parents have their own view of me: they’re completely unsophisticated. My mother still tells me what to do and prays for me the way she does for us all. To her, I’m still the youngest of nine children.”

The quiet life’s over for Stephen Boyd. He learned he couldn’t lick ’em, so he joined ’em-the Hollywood drum-beaters who sell, sell, sell.

The Year of the Boyd

Stephen Boyd on his rise to stardom:

“I don’t think I’ve reached the top yet. The struggle is ending and now I can really go-now it’ll be plain sailing.”

Why he won t look at his own movies:

“I’m not the kind of actor I want to watch.”

On Doris Day, Sophia Loren, and Brigitte Bardot:

“The only difference between them is their hair style.”

Is he he missed playing Mare Antonv in “Cleopatra”?

“No. I had other commitments and wanted to get to them. When they were delayed filming ‘Cleo,’ I couldn’t wait for them to get started again. There’ll be other roles just as good. I can wait.”

On his marriage, which quickly ended in divorce:

“I was in love with the girl I married. I’d been with her four months. We married and stayed together 19 days, which was too long. We were fine before marriage, but immediately you sign that little paper making it legal … I’m not altar shy, but I’m not making it legal again.”

On why his movie, “Jumbo,” flopped:

“I have no explanation for it. Why discuss a failure? I’m a great supporter of any picture I’m in, and if there are bad reviews that harm it, it hurts me.”

On who are the greatest lovers:

“I doubt that Latin’s or Frenchmen are great lovers. Their women are all right; they’re pliable. But I’d rather have an Anglo-Saxon.”



Here is a great summary from www.paleycenter.com of this hard to find Stephen Boyd/ Dolores Hart TV movie which aired in February 1960. Stephen Boyd plays Captain Cronyn and Dolores Hart plays Janet.




One in this dramatic anthology series.

This story is a romance set in France during World War I between a British soldier and an American nurse. In Flanders in 1917, a violent battle takes place between British forces and the German army. The British prepare for a long-awaited attack and tensions are high due to the fear that the war will never end, even with American military aid. One British captain, Leslie Cronyn, leads his unit from a bunker, arguing with one of his subordinates, Roger Smythe, who has become quite cynical about the state of the war due to the loss of many close friends. He also believes that the impending attack will be called off, but Captain Cronyn angrily denies this, also frustrated with the long period of trench warfare he and his men have endured. Just before the attack, another of Captain Cronyn’s men, Sergeant Sommes, is killed by a burst of shrapnel from an artillery shell. He is then informed that the attack has been postponed, causing Captain Cronyn to have an emotional outburst. He escapes his trench and crawls away, taking leave papers from the breast pocket of Captain Barry, a dead soldier, on the way.

Meanwhile, at a military hospital, Janet Marshall, an American nurse, is upbraided by her superintendent, Madame Duvier, for using drugs to treat patients without first securing permission. She threatens to have Janet deported or arrested by military police. As punishment, she instead decides to prevent Janet from meeting her husband Tom in Paris; he is on furlough, and she has not seen him in eight months. She protests, but Madame Duvier is unsympathetic towards her. Suddenly Captain Cronyn enters the hospital and immediately collapses in front of Janet. She and a doctor treat him for massive blood loss, and he attempts to leave as soon as he has regained consciousness. Janet asks for his name, and he claims he is Captain Barry. He informs her that he is taking a hired truck to Paris, and as he leaves she hastily leaps in with him, explaining that she intends to see Tom. Janet and Captain Cronyn express some disdain for each other; she views him as emotionless, and he considers her to be annoying and ill-mannered.

During the trip, Janet explains that she was married for only a short time before Tom was shipped off, and explains her predicament to him. At one point the truck is requisitioned by the French army, forcing Janet and Captain Cronyn to abandon it and go on foot. They steal a pair of bicycles from a farmer to travel the remaining few miles to Paris. Once there, Captain Cronyn places a call to meet someone the next morning, and Janet discovers that Tom has not yet arrived at the hotel where they were supposed to meet. Janet runs into Corporal Beggs, a former patient of hers’ whom she promised to meet in Paris, and he offers to help her find Tom. Captain Cronyn gets Janet a hotel room for the night, assuring her that Tom will likely be arriving in the morning. They are forced to flee when the police arrive, accompanied by the farmer whose bicycles they stole. The hotel does not allow Janet to stay in her hotel room alone, mistaking her for a prostitute, but Captain Cronyn gets him to change his mind by claiming that he is her husband, thus forcing them to share a room together.

Both of them are unable to sleep that night; Janet is kept awake by the sound of constant artillery fire, and Captain Cronyn grows depressed and starts drinking heavily. She is excited at the prospect of meeting her husband and Captain Cronyn is amused by her naiveté about the true state of the war. He drunkenly criticizes her for romanticizing the war and for goes on a tirade about how many people like her remain ignorant of the true horror and cost of warfare. The next morning, Janet is not in the room and Captain Cronyn meets Corporal Beggs in the lobby, who says he also cannot find her and that Tom’s leave has been cancelled. He accuses Captain Cronyn of improper conduct towards Janet and describes how she treated patients affected by mustard gas bombs. Captain Cronyn leaves, but promises to meet Corporal Beggs again later to help him look for Janet.

Captain Cronyn meets with a man in a wine cellar to make arrangements to flee to a neutral country. He nearly leaves when the man accuses him of cowardice, but changes his mind and sits down with him. The man attempts to divine the reasons why Captain Cronyn is leaving, and he does not believe him when he claims that he has “lost [his] patriotism.” Captain Cronyn goes to express disdain for being a “murderer,” and through his conversation with the man expresses anger at the concept of warfare and battle being considered “glorious,” recounting the horrific sights he has witnessed during his time in the war and positing that the nature of mankind is to destroy each other eternally. This explanation seems to satisfy his contact, who asks him to stay with a friend of his for a week until arrangements can be made to send him off. The man explains that he lost his three sons to the war, and that he is actually German and just as tired of the war as Captain Cronyn.

On the street, Captain Cronyn suddenly encounters Janet, who informs him that the military police have discovered that Captain Cronyn is not who he claims to be and are looking for him. She wants to help him in return for his assistance, but he feels it is too dangerous. They flee a police detail and enter a café, apologizing to each other for their behavior the previous night. She realizes that Captain Cronyn was right about her romantic idealizations and how this relates to her husband; she comes to the realization that she does not actually love him. Furthermore, she implies that she has fallen in love with Captain Cronyn, and he seems to reciprocate her feelings. She makes arrangements for them to flee Paris together, and he agrees. They check in to a back room in a countryside grocery shop run by an elderly friendly man. Once alone, Janet and Captain Cronyn embrace. Later a brick is thrown through the hotel window of the shop, and the elderly man explains that he is German by birth (with the surname Schiller), although he has lived in France for over sixteen years.

Janet begs Captain Cronyn to take her with him when he flees the country, but he does not wish to endanger her any further. Suddenly a mob enters Schiller’s shop and starts wrecking the place. Captain Cronyn intervenes, attempting to fight them off. The police drive the mob away, but Captain Cronyn is injured in the process. Later he regains consciousness, but Janet is nowhere to be found. He runs into the street looking for her, but cannot find her and returns to Schiller’s. Eventually Janet returns, much to Captain Cronyn’s relief, and he agrees to take her with him. They return to Paris and he meets the man from the wine cellar, much to his surprise. He asks to take Janet with him, and while the man agrees to help her he says that doing so is “an enormous mistake.” He asks Captain Cronyn to meet with an associate of his in order to secure naval passage out of the country. Corporal Beggs encounters Janet and informs her that Tom is in the hospital in critical condition after suffering multiple gunshot wounds. He offers to take her with him to see Tom, but she says she cannot. Tom perceives that Janet is conflicted about Tom’s predicament and sends her to go see him, hoping to arrange for their departure from the country at a later time. They share a tearful farewell.

Captain Cronyn takes the opportunity to return to his unit in Flanders, greeting Roger. Roger reveals that he covered for Captain Cronyn when an inquiry went out about his desertion and decision to pose as Captain Barry. Captain Cronyn explains that he needed to return, and that he should not question the morality of warfare. He resumes his role on the battlefield without much difficulty. Includes commercials.


NETWORK: CBSDATE: February 9, 1960 9:30 PMRUNNING TIME: 1:28:57COLOR/B&W: B&WCATALOG ID: B:44862GENRE: DramaSUBJECT HEADING: TV – DramaSERIES RUN: CBS – TV series, 1956-1960COMMERCIALS: TV – Commercials – Camel cigarettes^TV – Commercials – Allstate insurance^TV – Commercials – American Gas Association appliances^TV – Promos – “Playhouse 90”^TV – Promos – “Be Our Guest”^TV – Promos – “The Red Skelton Show”^TV – Promos – “The Garry Moore Show”^TV – Promos – “The Steel Hour”


Herbert Brodkin…….. ProducerBuzz Kulik…….. DirectorJohn Gay…….. WriterJerry Goldsmith…….. Music by

Stephen Boyd…….. CastDolores Hart…….. CastDan O’Herlihy…….. CastRobert Coote…….. CastSam Jaffe…….. CastJudith Anderson…….. CastBoris Karloff…….. CastMarcel Dalio…….. CastPeter Forster…….. CastJames Forrest…….. CastCelia Lovsky…….. CastLouis Mercier…….. CastPatrick Westwood…….. CastRoy Dean…….. CastGuy Devestal…….. CastBob Duggan……..

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Stephen Boyd and Brigitte Bardot- The filming of ‘The Night Heaven Fell’ 1957

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TCM will be airing The Night Heaven Fell in August for Brigitte Bardot day. The filming of The Night Heaven Fell started in late 1957. It was Vadim and Bardot’s first venture following the iconic movie And God Created Woman.’ Erotic content was still the name of the game in Les Bijoutiers du Clair de Lune.

“Brigitte runs off with Boyd, who has murdered her uncle in a vendetta, and holes up with him for a week of violent sado-masochistic sex in the Spanish mountains.” (Bardot by Glenys Roberts) Being both a Bardot fan and a Boyd fan, I think this is actually one of Bardot’s best roles. I like this movie much more than And God Created Woman as I think Bardot seems to be more herself in this role.  I also think Boyd is fantastic in this film, even though he is over-dubbed in French. His physical presence is potent. Along with Bardot’s own physicality, the two make for a stunning duo on screen. As far as the movie goes, Vadim does a marvelous job highlighting the visceral physical chemistry between Boyd and the sex-kitten. Bardot’s derriere is highlighted, as well as Stephen’s muscular, lean body. They are like two wild cats going after each other. It’s probably more of a lust story than a love story. Stephen also has great chemistry with the older but still beautiful Alida Valli. “As the simmering aunt who carries a load of hate, Alida Valli is sharp and vital and Mr. Stephen Boyd plays the homme fatale with a trenchant primitiveness.” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette July 24 1958).

The filming took place in Madrid first for several weeks of studio shot scenes, then the cast boarded a train to the Costa Del Sol in October to film in Southern Spain. Brigitte Bardot specifically mentions the fact that Sputnik had just been launched (October 4, 1957). (Initials BB by Brigitte Bardot, page 148). The crew settled into a hotel/bungalow in Torremolinos. Much of the film work took place in a  beautiful little white-washed town called Mijas. This is where the bull ring is located. There was severe flooding in this part of Spain during the filming, and many of the crew, including Boyd, Bardot and Vadim, got sick. It was not an easy shoot. At the time Boyd said that Brigitte was terrific, but also difficult to work with and unpredictable. “She had me so frustrated that they had to call off shooting for five days to allow me to calm down.” (Daily Record, 4/7/1958)  “I’ve been here two months and still haven’t seen a script. None of the phones work. Half the town’s been washed away by floods. We’re filming in three languages -two if which I don’t speak. I’ve been terribly ill..this picture is a nightmare.” (Sunday Express)  Even though Boyd would mention in the article below that he would be wary of working with Bardot again, it was a statement he would later retract and the two of them would actually work together again about 10 years later on Shalako.  (see https://stephenboydblog.wordpress.com/2016/06/03/stephen-boyd-and-brigitte-bardot-in-1968-initials-bb/).

When released, the movie received poor reviews. The posters were more than titillating with images of Bardot’s bare bloodied back or scenes of Boyd grabbing Bardot by the hair. Some of the reviews are pretty funny to read now:  “The cinematic high priestess of Eros, Brigitte Bardot, battles Stephen Boyd for the life of a pig while facing starvation. During the battle, Boyd, hungry for pork, begins to hunger for Bardot instead. The swine!” (Lincoln Evening Journey, 11/9/1958) ; “The peasant hero (Boyd) arrives, stabs Uncle, and rushes off to the mountains with a donkey, a piglet and an infatuated B.B. in tow. They swim through lakes, dry out in caves, frolic and fight, claw and clinch, until the police arrive and shoot the wrong one. ” (The Age, 11/2/1959) ;  From The Films of Bardot by Tony Crawley , “Shocker. Stephen Boyd was a heavy hero. An Irishman as a Spaniard in a French film. And sadistic with it. Enough so for one critic to call the film pornographic!” After surviving the filming of this movie and losing, according to Boyd, 20 pounds while filming it, Boyd would go on to praise Bardot personally in all subsequent interviews. From an interview in Cosmopolitan magazine in 1958: “I thought of the message which Boyd had given me for her. (I had met him a week before in Rome, where he was acting Messala in the film Ben Hur). The message consisted of one code word which he had spelled out of me – beddibize. “Just tell her, she’ll get it,” he told me. “I’ve just finished making The Night Heaven Fell with her. We got to be great friends. ‘Beddibize‘ is just a house joke between us. She’s a very wonderful, complicated girl, impulsive, extraordinarily beautiful, and a little off her rocker. Since she discovered sex he’s been overboard. She used to chase me all over the set.” In another interview; “She gives adults that same feeling of sneaking cookies out of the cupboard that they had at the age of six. They giggle and try to explain their interest as pure amusement, but actually it’s their animal adolescence showing….it’s the sort of thing that the man in the street can’t resist. It’s a symbol of things that are not openly discussed…How can a mere hunk of a man compete with a bundle of curves like Bardot?” (Corsicana Daily Sun 3/3/1958)

So be sure to tune into TCM on August 23rd to catch The Night Heaven Fell!

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From Ottawa Citizen, 2/15/1958

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“Hollywood’s New Gable”- Stephen Boyd by Hedda Hopper, November 1959

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Chicago Tribune, November 29, 1959

IRISH STAR Stephen Boyd has made half a dozen American movies yet he seldom draws a role forceful enough to fit his personality He has terrific screen impact and vitality beyond any actor I know but casting him presents a problem to his bosses, who are in much the same predicament as the fellow who grabbed a tiger by the tail.” I don’t think they know what to do with me,” he told me. ” I can’t play a straight foward milk and water juvenile because I’m not one. I can do anything that has any type of a test, providing the physical appearance of the role. is right. But producers are more inclined to come up with ideas for someone like, say Bob Wagner.”

To add to casting problems Boyd, a supreme individualist, refuses to be type cast. He agreed to the part of the drunken editor in ” The Best of Everything ” because it was off beat and got him away from the costume thing he’d done as Messala in ” Ben-Hur.”

“I won t work in a brass hat to the end of my days,” he said when offers for that type thing poured in after word got around he was superb as the Roman charioteer. The part in ” Best” gave him some tender love scenes, some rebellious moments, and the satisfaction of playing a man who had opinions and spoke them forcefully. But he looked a bit vital, with perhaps too much character, for a lush. When I told him I thought of him as the Clark Gable of this era, altho a far more vital type than Gable, he shook his head, puzzled “It’s difficult to associate myself along those lines,” he said. “But I daresay the roles Gable has played are roles I’m suited for. I prefer a two line part with genuine character to an innocuous one such as I had in ‘ Woman Obsessed.’ So many actors get hold of a script and go thru it counting their lines. Or they’ll read only the scenes in which they play. They get only a general idea of their own character and no idea at all of the over-all story. This, in my opinion, is the trouble with so many young actors.

“How do you go about it? ” I asked.

He thought a moment: “Well, after I read a story I ask myself whom do I remember. That is the part that will be remembered on screen. I’d like to try some of the kinds of roles Arthur Kennedy plays-something with guts and vitality. I’ve no particular desire to get my name on top of the credits, altho I realize you have to get your name there to get the money.”

After digesting this unusual point of view, l asked if he d ever had a frank discussion with Buddy Adler, head of his studio, over the sort of parts he thinks he d like to play. He said he had not. In the four years he’s been under contract to Twentieth Century Fox he has talked with but three producers-Jerry Wald, Sydney Boehm, and Walter Wanger. ” Wanger talked with me about the role of Marc Antony in ‘ Cleopatra,”‘ he said. ” I told him I thought I was too young to play Antony, who was 48 when he got together with Cleopatra. I’ve played it on stage, tho.”

Boyd is disarmingly frank, has a keen sense of humor, and, while claiming to be shy, which he says is why he blushes so easily, has of the British Isles reserve.

He has been in Hollywood a year now and I asked him whether he preferred living in the film capital permanently to living in London, New York, or Ireland.

“I’d really prefer New York, or perhaps San Francisco, if I’m going to live in this country ,” he said. ” But I think Los Angeles best for furthering my career and, in view of that, I believe it wise to remain and do film work.”

Of the legitimate theater, he said: “Theater is something I need like I need clothes to wear on the street-it s like food and drink to me” I inquired if he d ever worked in the theater with Laurence Olivier. He said: “No, I’ve only said hello to him. Michal Redgrave has been my great friend. He helped me get a start but I’ve only worked with him once.”

“Ben-Hur” will take him around America and Canada so he’ll miss the Hollywood premiere, but he told me that he d like to attend the London opening.

Wyler had Stephen use dark contact lenses for the part of Messala and they gave him trouble thruout the entire film. He had to have anesthetic drops in his eyes to wear them, and could only endure them for two hours a day. In the death scene the lenses didn’t glaze properly and the doctor had to use a creamy substance under them. Boyd describes much of this as sheer torture.

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Boyd romances Hope Lange in “The Best of Everything.”

Money means nothing to this man, except for the fun of spending it. He says his business manager allows him $25 a week spending money and restricts his credit charges.

When he was abroad for ” Ben-Hur” he bought his parents a house in Ireland. ” It has three bedrooms, a double garage, two and a half baths, central heating, and half an acre of ground in lawns and flower gardens. It cost 2,000 pounds-far less than it would have in England. I also got them a small English car, and one for my brother. But my parents haven’t used the car yet-not once. They go for walks”

I said: “Haven’t you had any romances in Hollywood?” “Not romances,” he said, “just a couple of flirtations.”

I told him I was once warned never to fall in love with an Irishman because, even when he has his arms around you, he’s thinking of someone else.

He laughed: ” I wouldn’t say that. He means it when he has his arms around you. As Shaw said, ‘The truth of the Irishman is when he’s with you-watch him when he leaves.'”