I love this set of pictures! They are taken just about 10 years apart.
I love this set of pictures! They are taken just about 10 years apart.
It’s hard to believe that 1968 was 50 years ago, but yes, it’s true. During the early part of 1968 Stephen Boyd was busy filming “Shalako” with Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, Honor Blackman and Peter Van Eyck near Almeria, Spain. According to a newspaper article at the time, Stephen was most excited to get to work with both Brigitte and Connery. Steve and Sean were acting buddies at the very beginning of their careers in Ireland while Steve co-starred with Brigitte at the outset of her career in “The Night Heaven Fell.” (Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Nov 23, 1967)
I would very much like to thank mega-Stephen Boyd fan Emmanuel in France for kindly emailing me these amazing behind the scenes photos of Boyd and BB on one of their evenings out during the filming of “Shalako”. This was when the rumors were flying about a possible romance between the two actors. You can see why!
I wonder what Brigitte Bardot is going to give Stephen Boyd when they finish work on the flicker they’re currently shooting. Last time the twosome co-starred in a movie Brigitte surprised Stephen with a unique and special version of the film. She gathered together all the film censors had deleted as being too sizzling and spliced it together to form her own private version of a stag movie starring Brigitte and Steve. (Hartford Courant, Jan 17, 1968)
Bardot: “As for Stephen, he and I are just old friends. The whole company usually dines together at night. I may have kissed Stephen, but I kiss everybody I like.” (News Castle News, Pennsylvania, Feb 28, 1968)
Bardot: “But I am very upset he (husband Gunther Sachs) will read this report about Stephen Boyd and think maybe there is something to it. Then we will have a row and the stupid people who started this will have achieved their purpose, anyway…Some nights Steve sits at my table, some nights he doesn’t. ” (El Paso Herald Post, March 2, 1968)
Boyd: “I have no relationship with Miss Bardot–only in the professional sense. I am a professional actor, she is a professional actress…I know why they (rumors) started. Recently I have taken Miss Bardot out to dine on a couple of occasions in Almeria. But we were not alone- always with a bunch of friends. (El Paso Herald Post, March 2, 1968)
50 years ago today!
“Publicists on the Sean Connery-Brigitte Bardot film Shalako described its chemical formula as 007+BB=TNT. But there was a side-effect that sent SB+BB=HEADLINES. An American news agency report from Almeria, Southern Spain, where they were filming, told the world Brigitte had found “a new love interest” in Stephen Boyd.
Both Bardot and Boyd crisply denied the report and then refused to discuss it further. How did the report come about? Was there, despite the denials, any truth in it? These were the sort of questions I set out to answer.
I can now report that I am convinced there was a romance afoot, that Brigitte and Boyd openly displayed their affection for each other, but that publication of the report on their romance cooled it. ” Raymond Palmer from Photoplay in Almeria Spain, 1968.
LOOKING AT HOLLYWOOD
By Florabel Muir
Boyd Likes Rough and Tumble Roles
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.
(Copyright, 1968. By News Syndicate Co, INC.)
I thought that might grab your attention! This didn’t come as complete surprise to me when I came across this Stephen quote which is in a book called “Holy Matrimony! Better Halves and Bitter Halves: Actors, Athletes, Comedians, Directors, Divas, Philosophers, Poets, Politicians and other Celebs Talk About Marriage” by Boze Hadleigh.
Here’s the quote:
“Brigitte Bardot asked me to marry her. I don’t know if she was joking, but I said no. I did not explain that I couldn’t marry an actress who could never be faithful to me. Or at least try. Like I would at least try. for the first year or two. ” – STEPHEN BOYD (Ben-Hur)
This sounds like something Stephen would say, and from other information I have read and researched about Bardot and Boyd during 1968, their closeness was the real deal. But so was Boyd’s distrust of the marital institution and Bardot’s abysmal lack of fidelity. Still, I like to imagine that Stephen could have possibly been a Mr. Bardot!
To read more about Stephen and Brigitte, see https://stephenboydblog.com/stephen-boyd-and-brigitte-bardot/
Above, photos of Boyd and Bardot at the “Shalako” Munich premiere, October 1968
In early 1968, Stephen Boyd and Brigitte Bardot were quite enamored with each other during the making of “Shalako”. The pair had become good friends back in 1957 while filming “The Night Heaven Fell”, and had meet at least twice since, once in 1960 in Paris and also in London during 1961. In 1969, a journalist teased Stephen that he never met up with BB between husbands!
Steve Boyd is one of the nicest leading men in the industry. I’ve never known him to be anything but gentlemanly (darn it!) Recently, I asked him if his romance with Brigutte Bardot was real. “She is a lovely woman, but she is married. I’ve known her for many years, and she has always been married, not to the same man, however.” Steve, how come you play it safe and never meet up with her between marriages, hmmmm? (Detroit Free Press, July 27, 1969)
Nevertheless, now that the two actors were older, somehow the chemistry mix between them was just right. The vulnerable and emotional Bardot, on the brink of another divorce, this time with German millionaire Günther Sachs, was in need of a protective, friendly, warm, gentle shoulder to lean on and Stephen, of course, stepped into that role perfectly. Around the set of Shalako they became virtually inseparable. The photos below show a glimpse of their special personal chemistry and what Shalako producer Euan Lloyd called a “great friendship”.
For more about Brigitte and Stephen, see https://stephenboydblog.com/stephen-boyd-and-brigitte-bardot/