Stephen Boyd was compared to Marlon Brando early on in his career as an upcoming, masculine, rugged-type actor. Although Stephen never considered himself a method actor like Brando, he had nothing but high praise for who he considered hands down the best American actor.
Boyd and Brando
Asked whom he considered America’s finest actor, Boyd didn’t hesitate. “Marlon Brando, without doubt,” he said.
“America has never produced a talent like that, and I wonder whether it ever will again.
“I’ll tell you one interesting sidelight about him : If he invited you over for a drink, you’d often end up in some sort of impromptu drama class.
“You’d be sitting there with a drink talking about something someone said to you, or some incident that happened, and he’d say – ‘Hey, let’s play that as a scene, just for laughs;’
“He does that a lot with friends, and they turn out the performances of their lives for each other.
“Marlon told me not too long ago that his next film will be his last – and his best.
“‘It’ll be my 100 percent,’ he said.
“And you know what ? I believe him.
“There is no other actor in America that even comes near to touching his shoelaces.”
http://leglatin.pagesperso-orange.fr/boyd/boyde.htm, Stephen Boyd Reveals Offscreen Personalities Of Top Stars by Chris Pritchard (National Enquirer)
It’s also interesting to note that Stephen’s own favorite stage performance as Stanley in “A Streetcar Named Desire” on the British stage was of course the role made famous on the screen by Brando in 1951.
Stephen also happened to briefly date Marlon Brando’s ex-wife Anna Kashi immediately after her divorce from Brando in 1960. Anna was a mysterious looking beauty born in India and raised in Wales. Unfortunately I have been unable to find a photo of Stephen and Anna together, but there are several news snippets about the pair at that time.
“Stephen Boyd finds both Anna Kashfi and British Actress Elizabeth Mills very attractive. But it was Elizabeth whose hand Boyd was holding after dinner.” (January 11, 1960 by Louella Parsons. Yes, this is Stephen’s personal secretary and close friend Liz Mills! Interesting point made by Louella. Liz is rarely mentioned in any other news snips during the 1960’s)
“Her (Anna’s) first date in her new freedom will be Stephen Boyd.” (Jan 30, 1960 by Harrison Carroll)
“Marlon Brando’s ex, Anna Kashfi, is dating Stephen (“Ben Hur”) Boyd. (Feb 5, 1960 by Earl Wilson)
“Anna Kashfi and Stephen Boyd, who usually seek out the quieter places for their dates, and eye-catching duo at dinner at “Chasen’s” (Feb 6, 1960 by Louella Parsons)
“At La Scala, Anna Kashfi and writer producet Alan Reisner were having an Italian dinner. The the next booth, Elana Eden and Stephen Boyd were eating spaghetti. Stephen, remember, sometimes dates Anna.” ( Mar 8, 1960, by Louella Parsons)
“Stephen Boyd slammed a car door on his right hand, broke his index finger. And speaking of Boyd, his favorite date, Anna Kashfi, is feeling much better. She was able to attend a special showing at MGM of “Ben Hur,” in which Stephen plays Messala” (March 10, 1960 by Hal Boyle)
“The ex-Mrs. Brando (Anna Kashfi) has become Stephen (Ben Hur) Boyd’s favorite date. (March 19, 1960 by Erskine Johnson)
There was a while that his friendship with exotic and excitable Anna Kashfi waxed hot and promising. While it lasted – and while presumably, Steve felt the numbers were right – Steve enjoyed it, and wasn’t even coy about discussing it.
“I wouldn’t say this is a romance,” he fenced only slightly, ” but then it might be construed as a romance. I’m very fond of Anna. She’s a wonderful girl and we’re very good friends. This is not a publicity thing where I’m saying this, nothing of the sort. I like Anna and she likes me. We are good friends, but romantically I don’t know.”
His indecision was but another manifestation of his abiding conviction that love is a numbers game.
“Anna is fun to be with,” Steve continued with a grin. “She’s intelligent and she’s quite a conversationalist. She’s a little bit kookie, but intelligent. She’s eccentric in some of her sayings and in some of her thoughts, but don’t ask me for specifics. I don’t like specifics because I would only give a specific to you as I see her now. Tomorrow if you ask the same question I’d have to give you something else.” (“Stephen Boyd, Love Gambler” from Screenland, November 1960)
I am sure Stephen Boyd got to hear from interesting Brando stories from Anna at the time of her tumultuous divorce!
A match made in hell apparently! Brando and Kashfi.
Boyd looking “Brando-esque” – brooding in white t-shirts from “Lisa” and “The Oscar”