I sometimes wonder how Stephen’s career – and the 1960’s – would have turned out had he waited just a few months longer to start filming “Cleopatra.” He would have been a part of one of the biggest cultural movies of the 1960’s. The problem was, however, he would have spent literally two years filming (or waiting to film) this project! Stephen arrived on set in London in the later summer of 1960 to start filming “Cleopatra” (he was going to be Marc Anthony, of course). By late spring of 1961 he was still waiting. Stephen opted out “Cleopatra” in June of 1961 to start work on “Lisa” with Dolores Hart. When Richard Burton replaced Boyd in July and production on “Cleopatra” finally crawled to a start in late 1961 in Rome. “Cleopatra” was still filming in the summer of 1962 when Boyd was on hand in Rome filming “Imperial Venus” with Gina Lollobrigida! Below is a fascinating glimpse at this production from Stephen’s point of view while he was filming “Jumbo” in Hollywood.
Harold Hefferman, Philadelphia Daily News, March 8, 1962
HOLLWOOD. – Behind movie headlines:
“Runaway production” is a terrifying term striking hard at every layer of the Hollywood foundation. As to its personal impact, no actor in town has greater reason for despising it than Stephen Boyd.
Boyd came back from two years movie making in Europe with little more than wasted time and the unhappy feeling both his career and personal life had been adversely affected by his absence.
The blond actor, who spent an earlier two year period villainizing Charlton Heston in “Ben-Hur,” went back to Europe in 1960 to make “The Big Gamble” with Juliette Greco. While there 20th-Fox notified him he was to play “Anthony” to Elizabeth Taylor’s “Cleopatra,” so he remained on- and on.
“The whole two years – minus a few weeks I spent back here in Hollywood – added up to nothing short of a fiasco,” growled Steve, on the set of “Billy Rose’s Jumbo” at MGM. “While waiting for ‘Cleo’ to get started, I went to Cairo for the big lighting of the Sphinx. That was when they were planning to shoot the picture in Egypt – but, of course, that fell through.
“I’d say that about the personal high points of those 24 months was my trip to Cairo and Lebanon. The countries are beautiful, and it’s too bad so many things came up to prevent shooting ‘Cleopatra’ there.”
A few weeks after Steve reported for the big Queen of the Nile spectacle, Miss Taylor was stricken with her first and near fatal illness, followed by innumerable script and change-of-producer- director delays. Meanwhile, he was assigned by the studio to do “The Inspector” opposite Dolores Hart in Holland. This is a film he has yet to see.
“I can only say I hope it came out better than ‘The Big Gamble,’” Steve chided candidly, “because that one, I’m sure, won’t do a thing for my career. But that did save me from doing ‘Cleopatra,’ for which I am undyingly grateful.”
Steve doesn’t put much stock in the “Roman holiday” rumors of a romance between Liz Taylor and Richard (Antony) Burton. He attributes the notoriety to “a dream creation” by the over-imaginative Italian press.
“Why, the fan magazines and even a couple of Italian newspaper columns had me linked romantically with Elizabeth- a month before I’d even met her!” he laughed. “One headline read: ‘Will Steve divide Liz and Eddie?’ And I’d never even seen the lady, except in a couple of her movies. She and Eddie and I joked about it when we finally did meet on the set – but sometimes rumor and gossip can get way beyond the amusing stage.”
Steve blasts “runaway” for two other personal reasons. It cut into his burning romance with Hope Lange – she didn’t wait, and took up with others – and financially he took a shellacking.
I didn’t get anything resembling tax breaks,” he explained, “and, in fact, I paid both British and U.S. taxes all the time I was away. (Steve is a British citizen, of Irish descent.) I’m not dead set against pictures being made in foreign countries—sometimes they really turn out better – but in far too many cases, such as ‘Cleopatra,’ if they don’t film them on the McCoy locations, they’d do better to stay right in Hollywood and let everyone relax, including the actor.”
Stephen Boyd is one actor who is satisfied to play rough and tough characters rather than romantic leads. “Give me a part with guts in it, and I’ll be happy no matter how big an SOB the character is,” he explains.
The actor gets his wish in spades in the role of “Bosky Fulton,” villainous guide to a group of stranded European aristocrats in “Shalako,” the multi-million dollar western recently shot in Almeria, Spain. The Cinerama release, set in the America Southwest, also stars Brigitte Bardot and Sean Connery, which makes it an odd sort of western.
The fact is, Boyd has played the “bad guy” during the greater part of his career, which means that he usually is playing second fiddle to the “good guy,” the star of the film.
He essayed the role of the charming but deadly Nazi counter espionage agent in “The Man Who Never Was.” Clifton Webb starred. Boyd was prominent in the casts, but not quite starred in , “The Fall of the Roman Empire,” “Genghis Khan,” and “The Bible,” as well as “Island in the Sun,” “The Bravados,” “A Woman Possessed,” and “The Best of Everything.” He did star as the greatest heel of all time in “The Oscar,” a film that didn’t quite reach the expectations of the critics.
Then, of course, there was “Ben Hur.” Boyd’s performance was great. You may also remember, however, that Charlton Heston won the Academy Award for this work in title role.
“Shalako,” a Dimitri de Grunwald production directed by Edward Dmytryk, is Boyd’s first western. The actor, who was born in Ireland but who became an American citizen in 1963, has been eager to do a western since he began in films 15 years ago. “I know it’s strange for an Irishman to want to play in a western, but so I always did.”
The ruggedly built Boyd is delighted with learning the tricks of the cowboy acting profession. For the film he had to learn to ride horses bareback and western style.
He underwent intensive training in how to wield a trusty six-shooter. Gun coach Rod Redwing notes, “Boyd is close to the fastest pupil I’ve ever coached.”
“Shalako” also provides Boyd with the opportunity to practice his Judo and Karate techniques in several sequences. “I studied Judo and Karate several years ago because I know they would come in handy. It’s really why I worked at it. I always know I’d use the training for a part in a western if I ever got to play in one and so I am,” he says with apparent pride.
As for his personal life, Boyd has had a rough- and- tumble difficult life. He had had to push ahead with sheer will power. He had nine older brothers and sisters and that alone was enough to give him determination.
Actually, the wildly gregarious actor is half Irish and half Canadian. Interestingly enough, he was born on July 4, and now that he is am America citizen, he is quite happy about this coincidence.
Boyd, known as a swinging bachelor, had been linked romantically with a number of celebrated beauties. Indeed, the life of one great international star might have been quite different if one film had not been postponed. Because it was, Boyd was required to withdraw from the commitment “due to a conflict in schedules.”
The film was “Cleopatra.” Boyd was originally set to essay the role of Mark Anthony opposite Elizabeth Taylor, but because of her protracted illness the picture was halted for six weeks of shooting. Boyd was forced to exit the film, and was, as you remember, replaced by Richard Burton. The rest is history.
Does Stephen Boyd have any second thoughts? Hardly. “I’m an Irishman. I could hardly get my Irish up over a situation like that.”
Boyd credits Sir Michael Redgrave with his biggest boost as an actor. Steve was a doorman at a theatre in London when he was asked to assist in helping stars onto the stage at the British Film Academy Awards. Sir Michael, who was presenting the awards, noticed the professional bearing and dignity of the young doorman.
Sir Michael says,”It was just intuition. After inquiring about Stephen’s acting background, I merely gave him a letter of introduction to the Windsor Rep. He carried his success from there.”
At one time Boyd was under a long term contract to Twentieth Century Fox which gave him his first ‘starring’ role in “The Man Who Never Was.” Now older and more experienced, Stephen considers actors unwise to sign themselves to companies for long periods. “It’s a bloody bore! You lose all control of your own career and become a ‘Property.’ You can have no free will about the parts you play and this way you run the danger of becoming typed.”
Ten years after he met Brigitte Bardot for the first time, Stephen Boyd and the world’s foremost sex kitten were reunited at the same site where they made their first picture together.
But what a difference a decade made.
When B&B first traded kissed in Almeria, Spain, Steve was just two years into an acting career, barely getting underway, and Miss Bardot, at that time, was already one of the most famous screen females in the world.
The movie filmed in 1957 was called “The Night Heaven Fell.” Almost exactly ten years later, in an Almeria transformed from a sleepy vacation spa on Spain’s southern Costa Del Sol to the most popular movie location site in the world, B&B became a team again- this time in a multi-million dollar western, “Shalako.” The picture, the setting, a lot of things had changed. But some qualities remain always the same. Bardot – and Boyd.
Stephen Boyd used to joke that he should have been invited to Elizabeth Taylor’s wedding with Richard Burton. If it wasn’t for Stephen, the biggest celebrity couple of the 1960’s might never have met! Boyd, as many of his fans know, was chosen to be the original Marc Anthony in the Twentieth Century Fox mega-production of “Cleopatra”. Boyd had spoken to a Fox producer as early as late 1959 about the role, which Boyd seemed predestined to play.
Boyd was signed as Anthony in early 1960. “She (Taylor) had the approval of all the stars who were going to work with her, ” Boyd said proudly in a Film Show Annual interview in 1964, ” She approved of Peter Finch and myself…” (Sunday Express London Interview, August 11, 1963)
In late June, Taylor was struggling with acute bronchitis which left her unable to attend a lavish New York ‘Roman orgy’ party held by the studio. The worst was yet to come. When the movie began filming in October of 1960 with director Rouben Mamoulian, the film work was taking place at Pinewood Studios in London under cold, damp conditions. Almost immediately, the bronchitis Taylor had in June flared up again in and she was confined to bed with pneumonia. By November, she was rushed to the hospital because of an infected tooth which had caused a viral infection of the tissue at the base of her brain (‘meningism‘). The movie was postponed in December of 1960. But Taylor had more drama to come. On March 4 of 1961, with heavy lung congestion and double pneumonia, she was again rushed to the hospital in grave condition for an emergency tracheotomy.
Stephen Boyd : “I was outside the hospital door that day with Eddie (Miss Taylor’s fourth husband, singer Eddie Fisher) when the doctors came out and told us her had one hour to live. It was one of the saddest, most pathetic moments I can recall. But somehow she pulled through – nothing ever stops her when she wants something.” (Detroit Free Press, “Screen Star Stephen Boyd Since That Chariot Race”, August 1, 1969)
The Pinewood Studio Production of “Cleopatra”, 1960, directed by Rouben Mamoulian, Costumes by Oliver Messel, starring Peter Finch as Caesar, Stephen Boyd as Marc Anthony and Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra
Stephen’s one regret about missing out on “Cleopatra” was not getting to work with Elizabeth Taylor.
“I think she’s marvelous. I remember one day when several of us were reading for the part, and Elizabeth was ill, and we went around to her house when she was just, as it were, getting up. And God! She’s the most beautiful thing. You know what you look like getting up? …Not Elizabeth. This vision came out of the bedroom.” (Sunday Express London Interview, August 11, 1963)
“I think she’s a dream.” (Asbury Park Press, July 3, 1964)
“The only thing I didn’t like about Elizabeth Taylor in ‘Cleopatra’ was her make-up – all that heavy eye-shadow and stuff.” (Sunday Express London Interview, August 11, 1963)
“She’s more sensational in her beauty, her lavender eyes, without make-up, just being her natural self.” (Valley Morning Star, Sep 18, 1966)
“While waiting for ‘Cleo’ to get started, I went to Cairo for the big lighting of the Sphinx. That was when they were planning to shoot the picture in Egypt – but, of course, that fell through.
“I’d say that about the personal high point of those 24 months was my trip to Cairo and Lebanon. The countries are beautiful, and it’s too bad so many things came up to prevent shooting ‘Cleopatra’ there.” (Philadelphia Daily News, March 8, 1962)
“Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait around until they decided to shoot. The script was being rewritten, there was a new director, the whole Shaw and Shakespeare concept of a personal drama was being thrown out in favor or spectacle. So I left. They gave my part to a fellow named Richard Burton. They even gave him my costume, and to this day every time he sees me, he says ‘Jesus, you’ve got big feet!” (Detroit Free Press, “Screen Star Stephen Boyd Since That Chariot Race”, August 1, 1969)
Boyd and Burton- sharing Roman costumes, other than footwear!
Burton and Boyd were no strangers to epics: Burton in Alexander the Great (1956) and Boyd in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
Boyd was also apparently mistaken for Burton occasionally in Hollywood, which caused Boyd to explain himself once : “He’s Welsh, I’m Irish. He sings Welsh songs, I sing Irish songs. He drinks, I don’t drink.” (Tintypes, Stephen Boyd, by Sidney Skolski)
Boyd also gave his opinion at the time about the most infamous love affair in the world between Taylor and Burton, and about his own lost chance with Taylor.
“Why, you know, they were starting rumors about Liz and me before we’d even met! I think Burton is a fine actor and I like Elizabeth as an actress – during the time I spent on the picture, she was marvelous – but I think Burton would be foolish to leave Sybil. I was amused by his reply when asked if he was going to divorce her and marry Liz; ‘It’s not bloody likely.'” (Hedda Hopper Interview, June 16, 1962)
“She’s not my type, and I don’t think I’m hers…I’m sure the reason she fell in love with him (Burton) is because he has the strength of mind and body of Mike Todd….True, Richard Burton became a big star in Rome, because of all the gossip and slander. He’s one of the finest actors, but he was not important until his love affair with Elizabeth. I find that shocking. “ (Courier Journal Dec 30, 1962, ‘ Stephen Boyd is Glad he Escaped Cleopatra Role with Liz Taylor)
Stephen Boyd: “My only regret is not getting a chance to be on screen with Elizabeth Taylor…the fact the I dropped out allowed them to meet, and Richard makes a great Anthony” (The ABC of Stephen Boyd interview, 1965)
For more about Cleopatra the Historical Person, I have found that there is almost too much information out there about her and it is hard to find the right book. For an excellent historical novel about Cleopatra, I highly recommend Margaret George’s “The Memoirs of Cleopatra” . Having just started reading it recently, I find that it really brings her personality, as well as Caesar and Antony, to life.
An iconic romantic duo for more than two millenia! Gorgeous Antony and Cleopatra in modern pop culture artwork…on a slot machine!
Horace’s Ode to Cleopatra
Now drink we deep, now featly tread
A measure; now before each shrine
With Salian feasts the table spread;
The time invites us, comrades mine.
‘Twas shame to broach, before today,
The Caecuban, while Egypt‘s dame
Threaten’d our power in dust to lay
And wrap the Capitol in flame,
Girt with her foul emasculate throng,
By Fortune’s sweet new wine befool’d,
In hope’s ungovern’d weakness strong
To hope for all; but soon she cool’d,
To see one ship from burning ‘scape;
Great Caesar taught her dizzy brain,
Made mad by Mareotic grape,
To feel the sobering truth of pain,
And gave her chase from Italy,
As after doves fierce falcons speed,
As hunters ‘neath Haemonia’s sky
Chase the tired hare, so might he lead
The fiend enchain’d; she sought to die
More nobly, nor with woman’s dread
Quail’d at the steel, nor timorously
In her fleet ships to covert fled.
Amid her ruin’d halls she stood
Unblench’d, and fearless to the end
Grasp’d the fell snakes, that all her blood
Might with the cold black venom blend,
Death’s purpose flushing in her face;
Nor to our ships the glory gave,
That she, no vulgar dame, should grace
A triumph, crownless, and a slave.
It’s so interesting to read some of Stephen’s interviews back in the day. Sometimes he could be too honest when speaking to the likes of journalists Hedda Hooper, Erskine Johnson, Sheilah Graham, Joe Hyams and Louella Parsons. Occasionally Stephen would completely knock down one his own current releases, like in the article below. Stephen had already disappointed Paramount executives by failing to appear at the premiere of “The Fall of the Roman Empire.” In the same summer he told Sheilah Graham that the best movie he had ever done up until then was “Ben-Hur.” This was probably an honest statement, but maybe not the safest path to steer in a sensitive town like Hollywood! Yes, despite his overtly honest comments, Stephen still continued to thrive with a solid career there for several years, even until the early 1970’s when he truly had to seek projects abroad.
Roles Disappoint Stephen Boyd
London- July 3, 1964 (Asbury Park Press) by Sheilah Graham
“The only really good film I’ve made in the past eight years, said Stephen Boyd, complete with heard and ginger mustache, “is Ben Hur.”
Stephen is in London being fitted for his Genghis Khan costumes for “The Golden Horde” which he will film in Yugoslavia for the next three months.
“I’m under contact to 20th Century Fox,” continued the likable actor, “but I haven’t made a film for them (in Hollywood) since 1959 – ‘The Best of Everything’ with Joan Crawford and Suzy Parker. The last picture I made in Hollywood was ‘Jumbo’ in 1961, with Doris Day. It was a poor picture.”
Boyd has the usual Hollywood problem of the past decade. In 1961, he bought a house in the Valley, a charming place, with the idea of living in it, of course.
“Ever since, I have made pictures abroad and spent only a few months in the house. Now I am thinking of selling it for something smaller. With being away so much it would be more practical. The day after I moved in, I left for Egypt, to play Mark Anthony in ‘Cleopatra.’ Every time I see Richard Burton I say, ‘There but for the grace of God, go I.” (On a side note, Boyd is exaggerating here – He was actually sent to Egypt in April of 1961 on a publicity tour for ‘Cleopatra’ to attend the Pyramid Light Inauguration, not for filming ‘Cleopatra’, which was already on the skids since late 1960.)
He sounded somewhat regretful. He likes Elizabeth Taylor.
“I think she’s a dream.”
Stephen also likes Dolores Hart, with whom he made some films when she was a movie star and under contract to Fox. Dolores is in a convent in Connecticut.
“She wrote to me very frequently and I wrote to her. But this stopped on June 29, when she went into complete seclusion – no visitors, no phone calls,no letters for a year. After that she will decide if her future is in a convent, or she can return to the world. She seems very happy in her life. But at the beginning it was not easy for her. She was frank in her letters to me. She was climbing the movie ladder and she wrote to me that she missed the applause, and her life as an actress. But now she had made the adjustment. The chief thing, I imagine, is that you must find love within yourself before you can live with yourself.”
We returned to Stephen’s career, and why he has not cared for most of his films. He’s attractive and a good actor.
“But they won’t let me be myself. I’m always having to play some character. The secret to Gary Cooper’s and Clark Gable’s success is that they always played themselves.”
“I was terribly disappointed,” he laughed, “when they didn’t let me play ‘Jack the Ripper!’”
I was surprised to have caught up with the Irish-born actor earlier this year in Europe. He flew over to star in “The Unknown Battle” in Norway with Elke Sommer.
“But I sat on my rear end in London, waiting for it to start. A major studio was supposed to provide 50 percent of the finance. Two weeks before production, they backed out. Tony Mann, the director, had promised me we will make the picture later this year, then the snows come again to Norway.”
Stephen is sure that pictures are coming back to Hollywood.
“There is a definite upturn, but we won’t see the results until next year. Then maybe I can get to live in Hollywood, as I did when I first went here in 1958. But most of my movies have been abroad, as I told you. I made “The Night Heaven Fell” with Brigitte Bardot in Paris. She was very big then because this was her first movie after her hit in ‘And God Created Woman.’”
“Is it true,” I asked, “that you will never make another movie in Rome?”
“What I said was,” he replied, ”that I would never make a picture in Rome under those circumstances. In the first place this picture will not be shown in America. They can’t get it past the censors. And more important, they didn’t pay me my full salary. They still owe me money. If I make another picture in Rome, the money will have to be in the bank first. Also, what I did receive was taxed in Italy as well as in America. It just isn’t practical to work there.”
One picture Stephen would like to make in Hollywood is the Mildred Crem story, “Forever.” Metro bought it years and years ago with the idea of starring Janet Gaynor.
“I’d like to do it with Audrey Hepburn,” said Boyd.
Another film he wants to make is “Clive of India.”
“Terence Young had written this treatment, and of course this one would have to be made mostly in India.”
This is a happy weekend for Stephen in London. The actor who became an American citizen last December 23 has a birthday on July 4.
“I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy, and I’m looking forward to the day I can work, as well as live, in America.”
In April of 1961, Stephen Boyd had just moved into his newly purchased house in Tarzana, California, a ranch-style home which was built in 1949. Stephen would own this home until his death in 1977. Stephen had been lingering on for quite some time waiting for the call back to the set of “Cleopatra” in London, which he had left in December of 1960. The full cast and crew had been waiting forever for an ailing Elizabeth Taylor to get better. Eventually the project would be revamped with a new cast, director and location. But during this time, the Twentieth Century Fox moguls were talking to the government of Egypt for the possibility of filming some scenes there (obviously – this is “Cleopatra”!). The Egyptian government was under the sway of strongman President Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein, who had overthrown the Egyptian monarchy in 1952. Interestingly, because Elizabeth Taylor had recently married singer Eddie Fisher and converted to Judaism, Egypt did not want her coming to their country because she was now Jewish. Nasser also banned all Elizabeth Taylor movies in the country! This made the possibility of filming some of “Cleopatra” in Egypt rather awkward for Fox Studios. (Los Angeles Times, July 29, 1960)
The filming of Cleopatra in London, September of 1960. Stephen can be seen on the right in full Mark Anthony costume. Elizabeth Taylor on the horse? It’s hard to say.
Fox Chairman Spyros Skouras was still trying other ways to flatter the ego of the Egyptian President. At this time, Egypt itself was prepping for an exciting new tourist gimmick – a sound and light show at the Great Pyramids of Giza. The light show (which I have seen myself in person when I was in Egypt in 2009), is an impressive display of multi-colored lights highlighting both the Great Sphinx and the Pyramids, and the sound show (at least in 2009) was narrated by actor Omar Sharif telling the tale of the ancient Pyramids and Sphinx. The inauguration of the sound and light show was set for the end of April and, along with other dignitaries and celebrities, Twentieth Century Fox decided to round up a few of its own (since Nasser was demanding glitch and glamour) and shuffled a few actors off to Egypt to attend the ceremony. Because Stephen had been part of the original cast of “Cleopatra” (he was still technically scheduled to be Mark Anthony, as he had not yet dropped out of the role), he was an ideal choice for this publicity tour. He was joined by svelte, blonde beauty Barbara Eden, soon to be of “Bewitched” fame, and TV star Julie Newmar, who would be better known later on as Catwoman from the 1960’s “Batman” TV series.
Julie Newmar, Barbara Eden, Stephen Boyd
Stephen got the call from Fox executives almost immediately after he was moving into his home. His reaction was – not pleased, according to Hedda Hopper.
Steve Boyd was just moving into his Encino home when he was ordered on a plane to Egypt where he’ll attend ceremonies inaugurating light and sound on the Sphinx and Pyramids outside of Cairo. He’ll be gone ten days, said: “I’m leaving my home in utter and abysmal confusion.” (Los Angeles Times, April 13, 1961)
Stephen was dutiful, however, and traveled to Egypt as the handsome, male film celebrity. It was on this first trip to Egypt where he first met Omar Sharif and his wife, who were also attending the celebration. Stephen recalled their meeting during the filming of “The Fall of the Roman Empire.”
“Omar Shairf and I met two years ago in Egypt on a publicity tour for 20th Century Fox. Omar and his wife Fatem Hamama are the biggest stars in Egyptian films today. With Omar working on ‘Fall of the Roman Empire’ now, its like old home week between us.
“Lo and behold,” says Stephen, “Omar and I are working out a deal to costar in a picture to be made late this year. Naturally his lovely wife would have an important role. It would be a join project between my company and his. So far we have the temporary title of ‘The Secret’ and it’s a mystery comedy with romance.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, Feb 22, 1963)
Now that would have been interesting! Anyhow, Stephen also seems to have enjoyed himself and the sound and light show as well, telling Hedda Hopper the details after he returned from his adventure abroad.
Steve tells me he had a wonderful time in Cairo. He said: “The new sound and light is turned on at night and the Pyramids are the most beautiful sight I’e ever seen. Barbara Eden and her husband, Michael Ansara, and Julie Newmar got a terrific reception there. Nasser attended the opening of their movie, but Spyros Skouras, our host, left before we arrived…” (Chicago Daily Tribune, May 11, 1961)
Stephen was finally freed up from his “Cleopatra” obligation in June of 1961, and was off to London to begin filming “The Inspector” with Dolores Hart. By late June, Richard Burton to stepped into the role of Mark Anthony to replace Boyd. Stephen Boyd could finally leave this role behind.
Even though he never got to star in “Cleopatra,” at least Stephen Boyd, the original Mark Anthony, has the small consolation of visiting Egypt, the Great Sphinx and the Pyramids before he moved on to other projects. The only thing he was missing was Elizabeth Taylor as “Cleopatra” on her purple barge floating down the Nile!
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.
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.
The movie “Lisa” (The Inspector) was filmed in London, The Netherlands and Wales in the summer of 1961. Stephen Boyd has been languishing for months waiting to film “Cleopatra”, so by the summer of 1961 he was more than ready to start the filming of a post Nazi- era drama with Dolores Hart. In Stephen’s unauthorized biography by Joe Cushnan, Cushnan quotes the author of “The Inspector”, writer Jan De Hertog. In the novel, the Inspector, Peter Jongman, is an older man, and there is no romance between himself and the girl he is rescuing, Lisa Held. The author had envisioned an actor like Spencer Tracey in the role. Obviously, 20th Century Fox wanted to add some level of romance between the characters, so they cast the much younger Stephen Boyd in the role of Jongman. Apparently Natalie Wood was the top choice for Lisa Held, but casting eventually led to actress Dolores Hart as the concentration camp survivor and heroine in search of Palestine. As Dolores Hart described it to journalist Sheilah Graham, “Now I’ve got Anthony, and Cleo has King Arthur” – meaning Richard Burton. Boyd and Hart had both already met and acted together about a year and a half earlier on the Playhouse 90 WWI drama, “To The Sound of Trumpets”. This movie was directed by Philip Dunne and included a host of top notch character actors; Finley Currie, Leo McKern, Donald Pleasance, Harry Andrews, Hugh Griffith and Robert Stevens. Much of the filming took place in damp weather in the Amsterdam and the Netherlands as the film crew searched for idyllic Dutch scenery. The filming then moved onto London, which is where most of the later Tangier scenes were filmed on a soundstage. The dramatic desert exterior shots of what is supposedly Palestine actually took place in Wales at Three Cliffs Bay. The crew and cast had to be rescued by a local lifeboat at one point when the converted trawler they were using was stranded in mud. The skipper feared the craft might roll over, so Boyd, Hart and director Dunne, and 32 other people had to be evacuated. Boyd and Hart also became close friends during the filming of this movie, to such an extent that Hart became quite enamoured with her co-star. At the time, Hart would deny any romance, but later in her autobiography “From the Ear To The Heart” she would confess that she on the verge was falling in love with Boyd, and was heartbroken when he rejected her overtures. The two would remain friends for many years after the filming of the picture, even after Hart made a life-long commitment as a Catholic nun in 1963.
The Courier Journal (Louisville Kentucky) featured an extensive look at the making of “Lisa” in January 7, 1962.