Ogden Standard Examiner, Sep 16, 1962
BEHIND THE SCENES
He worked hard for recognition
By Alice Pardoe West
“I never want to pour another cup of coffee,” is what handsome, rugged, Irish Stephen Boyd said on the 20th Century lot. “I poured so many when I worked in a cafeteria to keep from starving, before things broke for me in show business.”
He went on to explain that although he had a good theatrical background, he went through a bleak period in 1952-53 that was unforgettable.
“I was unable to find work either in films or the theater,” he said. “I even took my guitar and played to cinema lines waiting to get in the show in London, one night, and it was my first and only experience in that.”
He laughed and went on with his delightful sense of humor: “It brought me a pound and sixpence for a matter of two hours’ work, and I blew the lot on a meal, and that meal lives in my memory as the most wonderful one in my whole life.”
He forgets his bad moments and rejoices in the luck he had in getting the role of Messala in the film “Ben-Hur.”
“My folks even named the home I bought for them while making ‘Ben-Hur’ after the character I played in it – Messala, “ he said.
Stephen is a native of Belfast, Ireland, and he began his career with the Ulster Theater Group there. In 1950 he was given an understudy part in “The Passing Day” and later took part in many radio productions. He then tried his luck in the London theater, but had no success, until one of Britain’s top stars, Michael Redgrave saw him working as a cinema doorman and guessed that Stephen was an out-of-luck actor, and talked to him.
This led to his joining the Windsor Repertory Company where he soon was playing leading roles, and later small film roles. His part in “Barnett’s Folly” proved to be the turning point in his career. Film companies were bidding for his services after his portrayal. He had many excellent roles in outstanding films and in 1956 was starred with Tyrone Power in “Seven Waves Away.”
Since then he had had numerous fine parts in American films and was starred with Susan Hayward in “Woman Obsessed.”
The surprise of his life was when Ralph Edwards had him on his show, “This is Your Life.”
“That was really something,” he said.
Dinah Shore also asked him to appear as a guest star on her program and it was then that he was discovered to have a wonderful singing voice.
“I had a lot of recording offers,” he said, “but I think I have plenty of time for vocalizing, after I get this acting business taken care of – that is, if I can sing at all.”
Stephen loves paintings and had a few on his two-bedroom upstairs apartment in Los Angeles. He likes his stereo equipment, records, books and cameras, too.
“I like to shoot home movies,” he said. “It’s fun. But my weakness is automobiles, especially sports cars. I’d but a new one every six months if my business manager would let me.”
He laughed and continued, “Do you know what I want more than anything? A cabin cruiser, so I can sail on the coastlines over the world. But that takes real money to maintain one of them.”
He has no ambition to be a pilot.
“I get bored when I’m up in the air too long, “Besides, I don’t have to go flying to have my head in the clouds. It’s there most of the time these days.”
Some of his latest films since “Ben-Hur” are “The Big Gamble, “ “Cleopatra,” and “The Inspector.”
He was married to Mariella di Sarzana in 1958 in Rome, but they are divorced now.