Stephen looks very Celtic in this photo clipping! Reddish hair, reddish brows, blue eyes. Joan Collins happened to be on the other side, so I scanned her as well. This photo came out probably a year or two after “Island in the Sun.”
To celebrate this month I want to highlight some of Stephen Boyd’s African American co-stars.
Stephen starred in two movies with an almost exclusive African American cast ; Slaves in 1969, and Black Brigade (or Carter’s Army) in 1970.
Slaves was one of the first Blaxspolitation movies which highlighted not only the abomination of slavery, but it also the sexual enslavement between a white master and his female slave.
Black Brigade highlighted the brave actions of a desultory army unit during WWII which is put to the test and heroically achieves a dangerous mission in Germany during WWII.
Stephen was also a cast member of Island in the Sun filmed in 1956-7, which was one of the first films to explore cross-racial relations on a Caribbean island, based on the novel by Alec Waugh.
So here’s to Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Dionne Warwick, Ossie Davis, Robert Hooks, Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor, to name a few!
Updated to Stephen Boyd Movie Photo Gallery, https://stephenboydblog.com/photos/
Stephen first met Joan Collins in late 1956 when he filmed the Darryl F. Zanuck production of the somewhat controversial racial drama “The Island in the Sun” in the Barbados. Joan Collins doesn’t mention any specific love affair with Boyd in her auto-biographies, but clearly the two became good friends during the filming of the movie. “Where this leaves Arthur Lowe Jr., I wouldn’t be knowing, but Joan Collins and newcomer Stephen Boyd are doing the Boyd-meets-girl bit as though it came naturally on location in the British West Indies.” Shamokin News Dispatch, Pennsylvania Nov 30, 1956
In August of 2016, Joan Collins tweeted the photo above.
Joan Collins was always game, and during film assignments she projected the appearance of ‘just one of the boys’ –like playing cards and chatting with her male co-stars. She also defended herself over the years from unwanted paramours which included producer Darryl Zanuck and renowned woman chaser Richard Burton.
A little more than a year later, Boyd and Collins were reunited during the “Bravados”. There is one comment in a newspaper that their apparent ‘hot’ relationship from “Island in the Sun” had turned ice-cold at this point. “Joan Collins and Irish color Stephen Boyd, who were a red-hot love match last year during the West Indies filming of “Island in the Sun” are colder than an Eskimo’s icebox on the Mexican location of “Bravados.” Joan receives daily letters from Nicky Hilton and Arthur Loew Jr. and she and actor Henry Silva have become mucho simpatico during this hegira south of the border.” (Indianapolis Star, Mar 7, 1958).
A month later, however, in another interview, Boyd seems to be amiably teasing Collins.
Logansport Pharos Tribune, Indiana April 1, 1958
Joan Collins has taken over the title of Cinema City’s number one bachelor girl now that Jayne Mansfield and Natalie Wood have retired from the field.
The outspoken English lass sat at the table in the 20th Century Fox commissary and discussed her love life over a platter of marinated herring. Two of her nervous suitors, actors Henry Silva and Steve Boyd, listened painfully while she outlined the requirements she expects of a husband.
“He must be intelligent, understanding, seven years older than I am, and terribly attractive,” she started out.
“He has to be dominating without appearing to be and able to support me better than I can support myself.
Boyd looked at Silva, “Do we qualify?” he asked.
Silva, who appears in Joan’s new picture “The Bravados” with Boyd, shook his head disconsolately.
“I’m not so sure I’d want him to be an actor. They’re dreadful bores. Present company excluded,” she hastily amended.
“There are too many qualities about actors that I find annoying. They’re more interested in themselves than they are in a girl when they go out on dates.”
“Why should I marry? What can a husband offer me apart from children. I like being independent and self-sufficient. I don’t want anyone telling me what to do, yet I wouldn’t marry a man who didn’t try to dominate me.”
Undaunted, Boyd asked, “What are you doing tonight.”
“Don’t call me,” Joan said, preparing to leave. “I’ll call you.”
During the filming of “Ben-Hur”, Boyd would talk about Joan Collins, and apparently hurt her feelings by describing their relationship as ‘just good friends.’
“But although today Boyd lives in a Hollywood bachelor apartment, he still likes to date a pretty girl. There was a time when people thought he’d hitch himself to Joan Collins. Snorts Boyd, “Just good friends and she’s an English shoulder to lean on. We’ve been pals since we did Island in the Sun. That’s all there is to it.”
The story was echoed by la Collins herself—except, she seems sorry to hear Boyd attached so little depth to the friendship. But it appears the actor makes friends easily with his co-stars and they remain that way after the picture is finished.”
The two actors would remain friends as they would appear several years later together in December of 1962, arm in arm, at the London premiere of “The Longest Day”. Collins appears in a lovely feminine pink dress with a long string of pearls necklace and Boyd in an elegant tuxedo. They make a very glamorous looking couple. Boyd had just finished filming “Imperial Venus” in Rome with Gina Lollobrigida, and he was just about to head off to Spain to begin filming “The Fall of the Roman Empire” with Sophia Loren.
Below are some pictures of Boyd with Joan Collins at “The Longest Day” premiere. Also view their arrival at the premiere on the YouTube video below.
One of the first major movies Stephen Boyd filmed for Twentieth Century Fox was the racially charged Island In the Sun based on the popular novel by Alec Waugh. It was filmed in Barbados in the West Indies during October to December 1956. The film was released in the summer of 1957. This movie made censors nervous due to the romantic interactions between blacks and whites. It starred some great actors including James Mason, Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte and Joan Fontaine. Joan Collins tells some interesting anecdotes in her autobiographies about the filming of the movie; James Mason being terrified by the prop plane ride to the islands, she herself escaping the clutches of Fox movie mogul Darryl Zanuck and also flirting with Harry Belafonte. Joan became good friends with Stephen during the making of the film. Whether it was a romantic relationship is doubtful, although they would remain friends and even appear years later at movie premieres together. The beautiful mansion in the movie where Joan and Stephen have their romantic interlude is a place called Farley Hill in the Barbados. ‘Once the site of a beautiful mansion built by Sir Graham Briggs for the entertainment of royalty including King George V in 1879, today Farley Hill has been designated a national park by Barbadian Government. And though the mansion itself was destroyed by fire in 1965, the gutted remains still stand and provide an ideal setting for a picnic and a day of fun in the park, while offering stunning views of the island’s southern point.’ (https://www.visitbarbados.org/farley-hill-national-park). Joan would also star in another one of Stephen Boyd’s movies, The Bravados, about 2 years later. Ironically, Joan was also one of the stars who tried out for Fox’s upcoming epic Cleopatra. She was certainly one of the runner-ups and she even did a screen test for the role. Obviously it was a role meant for Elizabeth Taylor, but since Stephen was the chosen one for Mark Antony (before later dropping out), just remember when you are watching Island in the Sun, you are seeing the two actors who could have been Mark Antony and Cleopatra, had things turned out differently!
Dorothy Dandridge and Joan Collins