Stephen Boyd and Dolores Hart “Romance on the Run”- Movie Mirror September, 1960

Dolores Hart and Stephen Boyd were good friends after making “Lisa” together in 1961. They had previously worked together on an excellent World War 1 TV romance called “To the Sound of Trumpets”, which aired on February 9, 1960 on television for Playhouse 90. In Dolores’ autobiography The Ear of the Heart she describes working with Boyd on “To the Sound of Trumpets” :

Stephen Boyd was extremely attractive and very professional. We shared most of the scenes in the play, and he was such a generous actor. He was also a bit of a cutup. As we approached performance day, I confessed my habitual stage fright to him. Just before air time, a telegram was delivered to me. It was from Stephen. “Relax dear. Twenty million Chinese don’t give a damn.”

Later that same year the two actors were invited by Movie Mirror magazine to pose for a ‘fake’ romantic photo shoot. Stephen had done a photo ‘romance’ with Stella Stevens in 1960 as well (see https://stephenboydblog.wordpress.com/tag/stella-stevens/). The photos from this adorable Boyd/Hart shoot were also used in a 1960 Screenland Boyd interview called “Love Gambler” – but this time the magazine used them to actually hint at a Boyd/Hart romance instead of a fake one.  To make it even more confusing, the two actors would actually later become somewhat romantically entangled during the filming of “Lisa” a year later in 1961 –  at least in Dolores Hart’s eyes.

Anyway, I absolutely love these pictures! You can clearly see the camaraderie between the two of them and the sense of humor they both have about these photos.

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Above photos from Screenland Magazine, November 1960.

Movie Mirror September 1960 Layout Below.

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Stephen Boyd Behind The Scenes of “The Fall of The Roman Empire” (1964) photos 

Stephen Boyd can be seen in this collection of very interesting photos taken on the set of “The Fall of Roman Empire.” One photo shows Stephen admiring his chariot horses, with his stunt double looking on. The towering Roman Camp set in the Guadarrama Mountains looks especially impressive. Photos include Alec Guiness, Mel Ferrer, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, Stephen Boyd and Sophia Loren. 

See also this previous  blog post where Christopher Plummer tells a hilarious story about Stephen Boyd when they were filming  “The Fall of the Roman Empire” https://stephenboydblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/10/christopher-plummer-tells-a-story-about-filming-the-fall-of-the-roman-empire/

Stephen Boyd and Mariella di Sarzana’s Wedding Reception in Rome, 1958

Stephen Boyd and Mariella di Sarzana married each other on August 30th of 1958 in London during the filming of Ben-Hur. Mariella was an Italian studio agent assigned to ‘take care’ of Stephen during his time in Rome, which she clearly did!

Ever the Irish-romantic, Stephen said, “I met Maria on my first day in Rome at a studio party, I don’t know if it was the Italian moon, or the wine, or both. But I knew I wanted to marry her.”

Above, Getty Photos of Stephen Boyd and Mariella di Sarzana in London in August of 1958, getting married.

Boyd explained to Hedda Hopper in a 1959 interview, “I met her in April. We married in August…I honestly thought that was it. She’s a lovely person, attractive, not very sexy to look at but a wonderful girl.  She’s clever too.”

The pair had actually flown to London to tie the knot and returned shortly thereafter to Rome. The photos below of the reception can be seen on a great website for rare Italian movie photos and information- http://www.archivioluce.com.

The reception took place on September 6, 1958 at the Hotel Excelsior in Rome, which hosted the cast of Ben-Hur during the filming of the movie (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Westin_Excelsior_Rome)

“Yet Stephen Boyd, who enjoyed to the hilt playing this villain, was so popular with members of the film’s Italian-British-American crew in Rome that, when his assignment was completed, they presented him with a gold clock emblematic of their affection. ” (http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=7408).

The clock being presented to Boyd in the photo above.

Other members of the Ben-Hur cast, including Charlton Heston, Cathy O’Donnell and director William Wyler can be seen enjoying the festivities.

Sadly, Stephen’s hasty marriage began to fall apart a few weeks after it started.

“Filming kept us apart for long period and when we were together we were never alone. Every night when I came home a whole army of her relatives were camping in our apartment. I soon realized my love for Maria was an infatuation. I knew the marriage wouldn’t work–so it was ridiculous to keep up any pretenses.

“Everyone knew about it and I sensed they were going out of their way to make things easier for me. I resented this. I became sullen and difficult to work with. One day Haya (Hayareet) came up and said: ‘Look, you Irish lug- when are you going to snap out of it and rejoining the human race?’ That did it. We became constant friends, but only friends. We went everywhere together.”

Less than a month after their marriage, Boyd and Mariella separated. Their divorce became official on March 20, 1959, after Mariella  briefly visited Stephen in Hollywood.

Before the marriage fell apart, however, Boyd and Di Sarzana can be seen dancing the night away at their Rome wedding reception in 1958 –  looking overjoyed and madly in love.

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http://www.archivioluce.com

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Los Angeles Times August 29, 1958

Stephen and the Bombshells! – Stephen Boyd talks about filming sexy scenes

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Anecdotes of Sexy Scenes

by Dorothy Manners, September 11, 1966

Stephen Boyd and I were talking about the hot love scenes, particularly in foreign films. They have become so completely accepted by American audiences there’s considerable talk about up-dating and revising the Code (Motion Picture Association of America’s Seal of Approval- in other words the guide-line of the censor) to allow for more leeway for mature sex in scripts.

“Everyone seems to be in a swivit about sex on the screen except the actors who actually play the scenes. There’s a good reason. Nine out of ten times the big, passionate kiss-and-clutch sequences are literally a pain in the neck if not downright ludicrous!” said Stephen.

He knows

He should know what he’s talking about. The good looking Irishman has wallowed around romantically with more sex sirens than almost any other actor. His list of the ‘kissed’ includes Brigitte Bardot, Joan Collins, Diane Cilento, Gina Lollobrigida, Francoise Dorleac, Eleanor Parker, Elke Sommer, Yvette Mimieaux, Sophia Loren.

Ironically, in his newest picture on display, “Fantastic Voyage,” there’s not one kiss- even a little one with the newest sex symbol, Raquel Welch! The 20th Century Fox hit is concerned with other matters.

As Steve pits it: “Our director Richard Fleischer was too busy with our cast of millions – of antibodies, the red and white corpuscles, cells, dendrites, lymph nodes, arteries – in the inner-body sequences. I guess he rightly figured there’s enough dangers and suspense in that strange, weirdly beautiful, fantastic inner-body voyage we take to food around with outer-bodies.” To know fully what Stephen’s talking about – see the picture.

But in every other film he’s starred in, Steve has done his share of osculatory research.

Never forget

Boyd chuckled, “I’ll never forget the big moment of passion between Gina Lollobrigida and myself in ‘Imperial Venus.’ I had to grab Gina, kiss her so passionately that our knees gave out from under us, and we sank gradually and gracefully to the floor- it said in the script. And that’s the way the director insisted we play it.

“What actually happened is that I’d grab Gina and she’d swoon. But as we tried to sink to the floor our knees would bump together, we’d have to fight to keep out balance and rehearsal after rehearsal we’d wind up roaring with laughter. Censors? They never crossed our mind.

In steel armour

“In ‘Fall of the Roman Empire’ with Sophia Loren, I was encased in steel armor in our big love scenes! As I’d lift my arms to embrace Sophia, the neck of the armour went up and pressed on my Adam’s apple and at the same time the helmet was being pressed downward on my head. The ensuing kiss we exchanged felt more like the survivors of an endurance contest.

“With Brigitte Bardot in ‘The Night Heaven Fell,’ we had a pip of a passionate moment. Because of the unusually beautiful camera effect the director, Roger Vadim, had us posed on a rocky cliff for the big clutch. The implication was that we were literally on the point of disaster. It proved to be right. Just as we kissed, my feet slipped and we fell Jack-and-Jill style right down the hill! We were both so bruised we couldn’t work for days.”

Steve looked at his watch because he was due at the airport to catch a plane to San Francisco for an appearance with ‘Fantastic Voyage.’ But he had time for one more anecdote of the non-sexiness of sexy scenes.

“It’s the REAL topper,” he grinned. “In ‘The Oscar,’ Elke Sommer and I were making mad love in a car speeding down the freeway to Tijuana. It was sufficiently disconcerting to be speeding and kissing at the same time into a camera mounted on the hood of our car. But driving directly behind us was her husband, Joe Hyams! And he’s JEALOUS! Try that for a romantic mood sometime,” said Steve before he sped away.

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Stephen Boyd and Gloria Talbott in “The Wall Between”, January 1962

At the height of his career in the 1960’s, Stephen Boyd took part in three separate Television Show drama which aired on network T.V. The first was “To the Sound of Trumpets” in early 1960 with Dolores Hart. The second was this one, for General Electric TV,  which aired on Sunday January 7,  1962. The third television program for Stephen was Bob Hope Theater presentation of  “A War of Nerves” in 1964 with Louis Jourdan.

This show is particularly hard to find. Most likely the only copy is available at the Library of Congress – one visit I have yet to make! From the photos I have seen of this production, Stephen looks moody, husky and handsome with the lovely Gloria Talbott.

This sounds like a very interesting plot. First off, Stephen plays a father  – something he rarely did on screen, especially this early in his career. Gloria Talbott stars opposite Boyd as his young wife. The drama comes in the form of their baby son, who is a mentally retarded child. Other co-stars included General Electric’s own Ronald Reagan (yes, that Ronald Reagan!) as well as Everett Sloane who portrays the family doctor.

“Boyd, as one-time gridiron great ‘Bud Austin’, tries to keep secret the fact that his child is less than perfect. His personal feelings are intensified when a gift for the baby turns out to be a miniature of Bud’s famous football jersey.” (Beckley Post Herald Raleigh (August 4, 1962) “The shock of the disclosure that his son is ‘less than perfect’ so disturbs Bud that he orders his wife ‘Janet’ (Gloria Talbott) to keep the child’s condition a secret until they can put the boy away. Near hysteria from Bud’s irrational demands, Janet tearfully reveals the truth to friends during a visit, then seeks advise from Dr. Gordon. He sends her with the child to the home of ‘Sam Miller’ (Ronald Reagan) where an angry Bud follows and learns from Miller, a fellow unfortunate parent of a retarded child, what he must do in facing the reality of life.” (The Montgomery Advertiser, Jan 5 1962)

Reviews of the program were overall positive, especially for taking on such a difficult subject matter.

“Stephen Boyd played a former athlete who fathered a retarded baby and rejected him in a fit of emotional instability. Ronald Reagan co-starred as another father in a similar situation who gave Boyd the emotional backbone to face the problem.” (Asbury Park Press, Jan 8, 1962)

“Stephen Boyd debuts on TV as a father who refuses to accept the fact that is six-month old son is mentally retarded- hopelessly so. It’s grim, but powerful drama…” (Asbury Park Press, Jan 7, 1962)

“The Wall Between Us” is not entertainment in the usual sense of the word. There is not a single laugh in it. Indeed, it is a four handkerchief film from start to finish, beautifully written and beautifully played. It also carries a wallop. (Pottstown Mercury, Jan 6, 1962)

This was filmed just before or around the same time Stephen was filming “Billy Rose’s Jumbo” with Doris Day on the MGM back lot. It was a great chance for audiences to see Stephen doing something more than race Roman chariots.

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TV Guide Advertisement, Jan 6-12, 1962