“Hollywood Gobbles Stephen Boyd”
British Actor Finds Culture in L.A. September 3, 1966 – Herald Post (El Paso, Texas)
LONDON – Drinking afternoon tea in the Hilton Hotel is like having one foot in England and the other in the United States. Stephen Boyd sipped tea in the Hilton this week and the tea seemed his last link to home.
Mr. Boyd, tall, blue-eyed, sparkingly smiling, is a man who looks all film-star in the old-fashioned sense. He’s Irish by birth.On the hard way up the ladder he did a stint once as commissionaire at the Odeon, Leicester Square.
Now he is an American citizen, resident in Los Angeles and Ireland. London, the Hilton Hotel and the Odeon, Leicester Square are all just part of the land he left behind him. Some people, these days, go to Hollywood and then can’t wait to get out again. Mr. Boyd seems to have been gobbled up by Hollywood in one gulp.
It was not a step he took lightly, he explained. “I thought long and hard about what I was leaving behind me. This place with its centuries old tradition, its art and its theater.
“when I got back to Los Angeles, I suddenly discovered that all the art and culture you need can be found in Los Angeles. I can also be in San Francisco in 15 minutes. I can reach snow for skiing and the coast for water skiing within hours. And i just love the sun. When I wake up in the morning and see that beautiful sun I realize I just wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.”
People who talk of Hollywood as a cultural desert anger Mr. Boyd. “When I hear people talk like that I feel I want to ask them, ‘How hard did you look?’ In London art is right under your nose, in Los Angeles you have to seek it out. Remember that Los Angeles is not a city, it is a holiday resort. There are things going on in Bournemouth that the tourist never sees and the same goes for Los Angeles.”
Hollywood, thinks Mr. Boyd, is still a place that grips the imagination of the world. “Every great person comes to stay in Hollywood at least once. Many buy houses there and come regularly. I have been privileged to meet many of these people.
“Salvador Dali told me that being asked to design in Hollywood was the greatest thing that ever happened to him. Picasso said to me that he hoped that one day he might be asked to do some work there.”
Taking up American citizenship had its practical side, Mr. Boyd explained that he had his money in property in Los Angeles. He had an interest in getting a vote.
He also discovered that America is Mecca for the single man. Mr. Boyd was married and divorced fairly quickly and shows no urgent desire to get married again.
“In America a single man doesn’t need a wife,” he said, “The whole life is geared for the housewife. A man comes around and refills my refrigerator. The cleaners come and collect, collect mark you, my cleaning in the morning, and return it in the evening. My cleaning people noticed I’d lost a little weight and left a note inquiring if I’d like them to alter my clothes for me. And servicing the flat is all handled by people who run the apartments for an extra dollar a month. I would sooner pay an extra dollar a month than pay for a wife. Who needs a wife?”
Stephen Boyd at the age of 37, has espoused Hollywood with a convert’s fervor. He looks back with approving and nostalgic eyes to its golden age. His latest film is a story about Hollywood called “The Oscar”. he thinks it is a film for the unsophisticated and the barbs of the sophisticated may bruise his flesh but they don’t draw blood.
He is, as it happens, armoured by he knowledge that American unsophisticates have so strongly rallied to the cause that the film has already made its money.
“We created a film in the spirit of Mildred Pierce and in the tradition of the Bette-Davis-Joan Crawford pictures,” he said.