Stephen Boyd was linked to many a Hollywood beauty or starlet throughout his career. In mid-1965 he was rumored to be romancing none other than David O. Selznick’s widow, Jennifer Jones. O. Selznick had just passed away in June of 1965 after a long marriage with Jones, and Boyd seems to have been first in line to seek her affections – or at least that’s how the columnist spun it. Here are the newspaper rumor- mill headlines from around that time.
“Now that Jennifer Jones has returned to film making, her romantic life (real or for the benefit of the press) has become amazingly active. She’s been linked with several attractive gentleman, among them Stephen Boyd, who was in Las Vegas when an avid cupid-watcher saw them in London together (those jet flights are getting faster and faster….) (Philadelphia Daily News, Oct 14, 1965)
“It’s finally out that Stephen Boyd saw quite a bit of Jennifer Jones before she left for Europe to make a picture, and he’s been on the phone with her many times in Madrid…” ( Hedda Hopper, Hartford Courant, Oct 25, 1965)
“Jennifer Jones and Stephen Boyd are corresponding. Today it’s friendship. Tomorrow, who knows? Actually I doubt whether Jennifer is in the mood for anything of a romantic nature–right now, that is. She is putting together the bits and pieces of her life which were disrupted with the death of her husband David Selznick. (Sheilah Graham, The Pittsburgh Press, Nov 5, 1965)
“Jennifer Jones, filming in Joe Levine’s “The Idol,” in England, is being column-linked with actor Stephen Boyd. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jennifer, whose husband David O. Selznick, died recently, is being consoled by a handsome young hairdresser she brought with her from Hollywood. Boyd, wisely figuring that the publicity can’t hurt him, isn’t bothering to deny the rumors, but his romantic interests lie in a different direction. (Alex Freeman, Hartford Courant, Nov 8, 1965)
“It’s costing Stephen Boyd a small fortune for all those calls from Hollywood to Jennifer Jones in Spain…” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Nov 29, 1965)
Jennifer Jones and Robert Walker
Actress Jennifer Jones became a Hollywood star after her first starring role in The Song of Bernadette in 1944 which also won her an Oscar for Best Actress. At the time she came to Hollywood she was an aspiring Broadway actress named Phyllis Walker and she was married to actor Robert Walker who was a star on New York radio programs. They had two sons.
Unfortunately for Robert Walker, Phyllis Walker caught the eye of producer David O. Selznick when she auditioned for the role of Bernadette at 630 Fifth Ave. in New York City in July of 1941. From this day forward, David O. Selznick set his sights on making the newly named Jennifer Jones a star and his wife, destroying Robert Walker in the process.
Star-Crossed by Beverly Linet goes into the details of this tragic Hollywood romance. Selznick even had the nerve to cast Walker opposite Jones in the film Since You Went Away (1944) after their marriage had crumbled which was a heartbreaking experience for both Robert and Jennifer.
Jennifer Jones went onto star in Duel in the Sun with Joseph Cotten and Gregory Peck, Ruby Gentry with Charlton Heston and The Barretts of Wimpole Street with John Gielgud, The Idol with Michael Parks and her final film the 1970’s The Towering Inferno with an all-star cast. Robert Walker played innocent boyish types in almost all of his films including The Clock with Judy Garland, The Sailor Takes a Wife with June Allyson, One Touch of Venus with Ava Gardner and Her Highness and the Bellboy with Hedy Lamarr. Alfred Hitchcock turned Robert’s boyish charm on its head in his most memorable role as the psychotic killer Bruno Antony in Hitchcock’s masterpiece Strangers on a Train.
Robert Walker would die at the young age of 31 as the result of depression and alcohol, Jennifer Jones remained married to David O. Selznick until his death in the 1964. Jennifer attempted suicide three times. In an interesting side note, in 1967 when Jennifer Jones checked into a Malibu motel and attempted suicide with pills she had checked in under her previous married name – Phyllis Walker.
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