Stephen Boyd- What’s in a name?

Stephen Boyd hailed from Northern Ireland, but from researching the background of his name, most likely his mother’s ancestors hailed from Scotland. According to Wikipedia, Boyd is a Scottish surname. It originated from a habitational name from the island of Bute, located in the Firth of Clyde.[1][2] The surname was very common in Edinburgh in the 17th century.[2] The Scottish Gaelic form of the surname is Boid (masculine),[3] and Bhoid (feminine). According to Modern Screen Magazine, Boyd’s mother hailed from the Bally Castle Boyd’s of Northern Ireland (see It was in Northern Ireland that King James I introduced what was called the Plantation of Ulster in the early 1600’s. Basically this was the colonization of Norther Ireland to convert the Catholics. The Scottish people who settled there were mostly Presbyterians, and also people from England who adhered to the Church of England.  Of course this would later lead to the tension between the native Catholics and sow the seeds of the Troubles which began in the late 1960’s in on-wards into the 1990’s. Of course Stephen’s true last name (from his father) was Miller. According to Wikipedia again, this name is also of Scottish origin. The origin of the Scottish surname is from a burn (rivulet) in Glasgow, namely the molindinar (Mo-lynn-dine-are), and the name has evolved over the years to molindar Mo-lynn-dar and to molinar mo-lynn-ar and to Millar and finally to Miller. The first record of the name was in Dumfriesshire, Scotland.[7] If the surname has Highland Scottish origins, the bearers are associated with Clan MacFarlane.[8] In 1995, Miller was the 22nd most common surname on the birth, death and marriage registers in Scotland; Millar was 77th.[4]The name Miller also has a long history in Northern Ireland, notably County Antrim where many migrants from Northern England and Scotland settled in the 16th and 17th centuries.[9]

Below is an interesting snippet told by Boyd of why he needed to change his name to get noticed!

What’s in a name? “Plenty,” says Stephen Boyd, star of 20th Century Fox’s “Third Secret. I couldn’t even get a chance for an audition with my real name – William Miller. My other’s maiden name is Boyd. My first agent in London thought ‘Stephen Boyd’ would be a very good name. To prove a point, he called a producer who had refused to see me. Then my agent added: ‘I have now taken over the handling of Stephen Boyd.’ And the producer replied: ‘Oh, yes, I would like to see HIM.’ And that’s how I got my first real movie role in ‘An Alligator Named Daisy’, from which I was signed to a long-term contract by Darryl F. Zanuck.”  (Los Angeles Times Feb 23, 1964)




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