Remembering Stephen Boyd on June 2nd and his last performance on Hawaii Five-0

Above, Stephen Boyd with Jack Lord and co-star Elayne Heilveil in “Up The Rebels”, the 10th season premiere of the original Hawaii Five-0 TV show which aired on September 15, 1977.

This will make 41 years since Stephen Boyd passed away on June 2nd, 1977. Stephen was enjoying a round of golf (his favorite pastime) with his wife Elizabeth Mills at the Porter Valley Country Club in Northridge, California when he suffered a heart attack between the 5th and 6th holes in his golf cart. By the time he received emergency aid, he was gone. Tragically he was only 45 years old.

Only three weeks prior to his death Stephen was completing the film work for an episode of Hawaii Five-0, a show which he had initially been offered to star in during the late 1960’s, but which he obviously declined. The show would air posthumously in September of that same year. Playing the villain again, Boyd gets to show off his Ulster brogue and play a ruthless Catholic rebel priest smuggling arms to Ireland (via Hawaii!). Boyd gives an excellent performance but sadly his last. In his final on-screen dialogue Boyd speaks something in Gaelic, and then says “Up The Rebels” in English with an Irish wink. It’s an eerie farewell.

Stephen did know some Gaelic and even pulled a practical trick on director John Houston once on the set of “The Bible” using it. As Boyd tells it :

“The one rib he tried to pull on my backfired…He introduced me to a chap, saying: “Steve, I want you to know this man who’ll help you more than anyone has helped you before.” He didn’t know I’d met the same fellow while making ‘Ben-Hur’ in Rome several years ago. He gives forth with the double talk so fast you think you’re an ignoramus.

“So I coached this guy in some Gaelic and told him to go back and do the double-talk in that tongue, with an occasional English word thrown in. He had Huston going for a while but he’s very hep and a good sport, too, getting a hearty laugh at me for turning the tables.” (Philadelphia Daily News, Jan 19, 1965)

Below are some nice pictures of Stephen from Hawaii-Five 0 and a short summary of events from 1977.

What Happened in 1977 Important News and Events, Key Technology and Popular Culture

Star Wars opens in cinemas, first Apple II computers go on sale, TV Mini Series “Roots” is aired, First commercial flight Concord, Elvis Presley Dies at the age of 42, NASA space shuttle first test flight, UK Jubilee celebrations, Roman Polanski is arrested and Charged, Alaskan Oil Pipeline completed, New York City Blackout lasts for 25 hours Quebec adopts French as the official language. Jimmy Carter is elected as the President of United States . The precursor to the GPS system in use today is started by US Department of defense. Elvis Presley Dies from a heart attack aged 42.

Issue date Song Artist(s) Reference
January 1 Tonight’s the Night (Gonna Be Alright) Rod Stewart [1]
January 8 You Don’t Have to Be a Star (To Be in My Show) Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. [2]
January 15 You Make Me Feel Like Dancing Leo Sayer [3]
January 22 I Wish Stevie Wonder [4]
January 29 Car Wash Rose Royce [5]
February 5 Torn Between Two Lovers Mary MacGregor [6]
February 12 [7]
February 19 Blinded by the Light Manfred Mann’s Earth Band [8]
February 26 New Kid in Town Eagles [9]
March 5 “Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born)” Barbra Streisand [10]
March 12 [11]
March 19 [12]
March 26 Rich Girl Daryl Hall and John Oates [13]
April 2 [14]
April 9 Dancing Queen ABBA [15]
April 16 Don’t Give Up on Us David Soul [16]
April 23 Don’t Leave Me This Way Thelma Houston [17]
April 30 Southern Nights Glen Campbell [18]
May 7 Hotel California Eagles [19]
May 14 When I Need You Leo Sayer [20]
May 21 Sir Duke Stevie Wonder [21]
May 28 [22]
June 4 [23]
June 11 I’m Your Boogie Man KC and the Sunshine Band [24]

Watch Stephen Boyd and Linda Evans in Hunter (TV show series, 1977)

This was a rare find! Who knew that this TV show was available? I uploaded it to YouTube (unlisted) for you, my Blog Readers, to watch.

Per Wikipedia :

James Hunter worked for an unnamed United States government intelligence agency – referred to merely as “the Agency” – until 1969, when he resigned because he disapproved of the Agencys methods. He retired from the espionage business to run a rare books store in Santa Barbara, California. In 1977, General Baker is ordered to recruit six counterespionage agents to form a new covert agency – also unnamed – charged with protecting the United States from a variety of threats whether they arise domestically or abroad. Bakers first choice for the new agency is Hunter. In Bakers new agency, Hunter either works alone or is assigned someone to assist him, all the while continuing to pose as a rare books dealer.[1][2][3]

In all but two episodes, Baker assigns another of his agents, Marty Shaw, to assist Hunter. Marty lives in a different part of the United States and is also undercover – as a famous model. She also has her own assignments separate from Hunters. Marty is Hunters lover, and the two share a bed when traveling together on their assignments.[1][2][3]

As undercover couterespionage agents, they battle in locales across the United States with a wide variety of international foes, ranging from communists to organized crime to rogue American agents.[1][2]

The two “K Group” episodes differ from the rest in being flashbacks to the time when Hunter was still with “the Agency” as its chief of operations in West Berlin.[3]

After the cancellation of the series Executive Suite and its last broadcast on February 11, 1977, CBS needed a replacement to fill the void in its schedule. It had bought Hunter for just such a contingency. Hunter premiered a week later, on February 18, 1977, and aired on Fridays at 10:00 p.m. through April 22, 1977.[1] After a five-week hiatus, its last original episode was broadcast on Friday, May 27, 1977, also at 10:00 p.m.[1][2] Four additional episodes never aired.

Stephen Boyd appears in an episode called “The Costa Rican Connection”. The show aired on March 18, 1977, so it is one of the very last television or movies in which Stephen appeared, as he would pass away only 3 months later on June 2, 1977. In this episode, Stephen plays a slippery businessman names Garth Roberts who also ends up being the main villain in the episode (of course!). If he was sporting his Ulster accent Boyd would be straight out of “The Squeeze” in this. Despite being older and a little thinner, Stephen still looks very handsome sporting his immutable 1970’s mustache and flashing that devilish Irish grin.

The episode also features “2001: A Space Odyssey” veteran Gary Lockwood and model Susan Anton. The main television actors for this series were Linda Evans (soon to be of “Dynasty” fame), and James Franciscus, who took Charlton Heston’s place as the main character in the popular sequel to “The Planet of The Apes”, “Beneath The Planet of the Apes” (1970).

Stephen Boyd Rarity: “Born for Trouble”, 1955

A lost TV show!  I would love to find Stephen’s appearance on it!!

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_Aggie

Born for Trouble,  or The Adventures of Aggie is a black-and-white sitcom starring Joan Shawlee in 1956 that was made by ME Films and broadcast on ITV.[1][2]

It lasted for one series of twenty-six episodes. Also being aimed at the American market, it was broadcast in the US from December 1957 under the name Aggie. It was written by Martin Stern and Ernest Borneman.

Aggie Anderson was an American working in London as a fashion buyer for an international company. Her job required her to travel often, and when abroad she often got into various troubles and accidents. These situations were often dangerous, and would involve spies and criminals.

Many of the actors who made guest appearances in episodes would later gain a higher profile, these include Patrick AllenStephen Boyd, Dick Emery, Edward Mulhare,Christopher Lee, Patrick McGoohan, John Schlesinger and Anthony Valentine.

Stephen Boyd Televised Biopics

As far as I know there have been two televised biopic’s about Stephen Boyd. The first one aired when Stephen was still alive in 1971. This was called “Stephen Boyd Portrait”, and featured interviews and film clips about Stephen and his career. “Ralph Nelson talks to Stephen Boyd about his acting career. Guest appearances are made by Elke Sommer, Tony Bennett, Ernest Borgnine, Camilla Sparv, Broderick Crawford and director William Wyler. Extracts inc. The Night Heaven Fell, Assignment K.”(The Age, Melbourne Australia, February 4, 1971)

This is another long lost item – but if anyone happens to have a copy, of course, please let me know! I would love to see this- it sounds  awesome.

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The second biopic aired in 2011 called “Stephen Boyd: The Man Who Never Was”. It aired only in the UK, but luckily it has been posted on Daily Motion to view. Despite the somewhat irritating title, this is a good biopic. However, I regret to say, it contains very little as far as Stephen Boyd interviews. You see a few snippets here and there (Which I compiled for You Tube and they last 2 minutes). You would think if you had rare interviews to share,  you could just play the full interview! It also leaves out quite a bit of Stephen’s actual story and life. It focuses mostly on portraying Stephen as the good Irish son – but it neglects to mention even his first wife, Marisa Mell, Brigitte Bardot, Stephen’s worldly travels and even his interest in Scientology. We are left with a very limited look at the man himself. Nevertheless, it is a Stephen Boyd Biopic, so I shouldn’t complain. There are also some interesting stories told by his family and other actors about Stephen and Liz Mills, his last wife.  See for yourselves!

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Stephen Boyd and Gloria Talbott in “The Wall Between”, January 1962

At the height of his career in the 1960’s, Stephen Boyd took part in three separate Television Show drama which aired on network T.V. The first was “To the Sound of Trumpets” in early 1960 with Dolores Hart. The second was this one, for General Electric TV,  which aired on Sunday January 7,  1962. The third television program for Stephen was Bob Hope Theater presentation of  “A War of Nerves” in 1964 with Louis Jourdan.

This show is particularly hard to find. Most likely the only copy is available at the Library of Congress – one visit I have yet to make! From the photos I have seen of this production, Stephen looks moody, husky and handsome with the lovely Gloria Talbott.

This sounds like a very interesting plot. First off, Stephen plays a father  – something he rarely did on screen, especially this early in his career. Gloria Talbott stars opposite Boyd as his young wife. The drama comes in the form of their baby son, who is a mentally retarded child. Other co-stars included General Electric’s own Ronald Reagan (yes, that Ronald Reagan!) as well as Everett Sloane who portrays the family doctor.

“Boyd, as one-time gridiron great ‘Bud Austin’, tries to keep secret the fact that his child is less than perfect. His personal feelings are intensified when a gift for the baby turns out to be a miniature of Bud’s famous football jersey.” (Beckley Post Herald Raleigh (August 4, 1962) “The shock of the disclosure that his son is ‘less than perfect’ so disturbs Bud that he orders his wife ‘Janet’ (Gloria Talbott) to keep the child’s condition a secret until they can put the boy away. Near hysteria from Bud’s irrational demands, Janet tearfully reveals the truth to friends during a visit, then seeks advise from Dr. Gordon. He sends her with the child to the home of ‘Sam Miller’ (Ronald Reagan) where an angry Bud follows and learns from Miller, a fellow unfortunate parent of a retarded child, what he must do in facing the reality of life.” (The Montgomery Advertiser, Jan 5 1962)

Reviews of the program were overall positive, especially for taking on such a difficult subject matter.

“Stephen Boyd played a former athlete who fathered a retarded baby and rejected him in a fit of emotional instability. Ronald Reagan co-starred as another father in a similar situation who gave Boyd the emotional backbone to face the problem.” (Asbury Park Press, Jan 8, 1962)

“Stephen Boyd debuts on TV as a father who refuses to accept the fact that is six-month old son is mentally retarded- hopelessly so. It’s grim, but powerful drama…” (Asbury Park Press, Jan 7, 1962)

“The Wall Between Us” is not entertainment in the usual sense of the word. There is not a single laugh in it. Indeed, it is a four handkerchief film from start to finish, beautifully written and beautifully played. It also carries a wallop. (Pottstown Mercury, Jan 6, 1962)

This was filmed just before or around the same time Stephen was filming “Billy Rose’s Jumbo” with Doris Day on the MGM back lot. It was a great chance for audiences to see Stephen doing something more than race Roman chariots.

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TV Guide Advertisement, Jan 6-12, 1962

Stephen Boyd Sings on the Dinah Shore Chevy Show, March 13, 1960

Having just viewed this show myself for the first time ever ( yes, my heart is still pounding!), I must also agree with Hedda Hopper. Stephen oozes charm in this show, and he has radiant chemistry with the always lovely Dinah Shore. He gets to flirtatiously hold a flustered Dinah in his arms, ride a 1960’s ‘Chev-iot’ (chariot) with Dinah, and most fun of all, he gets to sing and dance! Boyd’s voice is deep and melodious – he sings like a dream. He gets to sing a beautiful version of “The Leprechaun Song” and a duet of “Molly Malone” with Dinah. Dinah also sings a verse of  Stephen’s favorite Irish love song, “I Know My Love.” Then, to top it off, Stephen and Dinah get to step dance – Irish- Riverdance style. It’s a wonderful tribute to Stephen’s talent. Click below YouTube links to view Stephen’s segments, or the full show is on DailyMotion.com, which aired recently on JLTV.com.  Thanks to one of my best blog followers for the tip which helped me track this awesome TV show down!

Leprechaun Song Lyrics

In a shady nook, one moonlit night, a leprechaun I spied
With a scarlet cap and coat of green, a cruisc'n by his side
'Twas "tic, tac tic" his hammer went, upon a tiny shoe
I laughed to think of a purse of gold, but the fairy was laughing too.

With tiptoe step and beating heart, softly I drew nigh
There was mischief in his merry face, a twinkle in his eye
He hammered and sang with his tiny voice, and drank his mountain dew
I laughed to think he was caught at last, but the fairy was laughing too.

As quick as thought I seized the elf, "Your fairy purse!" I cried
"The purse," he said, "is in the hand of the lady by your side"
I turned to look, the elf was gone, then what was I to do?
I laughed to think what a fool I'd been, but the fairy was laughing too

Stephen Boyd in”The Hands of Cormac Joyce” – Hallmark Special, 1972

I will preface this blog post with a plea – IF YOU HAVE A COPY OF THIS MOVIE ON VIDEO OR DVD PLEASE LET ME KNOW!.

This 100th telecast of the Hallmark TV movie special, which aired on NBC in November of 1972, is one of my all time favorite Stephen Boyd performances for several reasons. But unfortunately it is very hard to track down. You would think an intrepid Boyd fan or Hallmark movie collector would have taped this on TV back in 1972, and may have a copy lurking for sale somewhere???  Luckily it is preserved and you can view it in two locations- one being the Paley Center for Media in New York City, or at the UCLA media center in Los Angeles.

What makes this such a great part for Stephen is it truly epitomizes his love for the ‘character’ role. He also gets to speak in his full Ulster accent throughout the movie, and it is also based on the location of the Aran Islands in Ireland. The movie itself was filmed on Phillip Island off the coast Australia, probably in early 1972.  It pairs him with some other excellent actors including Cyril Cusack (who also shared a scene with Stephen early on in “The Man Who Never Was”) and the inimitable Colleen Dewhurst. It was based on a brief novel by Leonard Wibberley.

“He always felt that he would never have hands like his father- strong, tough, purposeful hands that didn’t flinch from the shock of the ocean water or weary with toil of oars or scythe or spade. Sometimes at night he prayed to Saint Brendan to ask God to give him big hands and big shoulders so he could be a man.”

Stephen plays the father, Cormac Joyce, who is the apple of his son’s eye. A storm is brewing off the coast, and as the islanders flee for the mainland, Cormac is determined to stay. When he injures his hand while trying to pull his curragh ashore, his son decides to stay with his father to protect their home from the storm. The wife also stays and the weather the huge waves of the Atlantic storm together. Stephen seems to relish this role as the rough Irish fisherman. It’s great to see him playing a father on-screen – something he rarely ever did. Cormac is both tender and stern with his young son, played by the 15 year old Dominic Guard.  Boyd’s chemistry with Colleen Dewhurst is also incredible. They have a couple of intense quarrels, and when Cormac is injured, Dewhurst’s worry is palpable as she mends his hand. The filmmakers were also keen enough to let Stephen sing a quiet Irish folk tune throughout the movie – “The Star of the County Down.”  The way Stephen sings this melancholy tune is haunting.

Stephen himself said in 1974 interview that “The Hands of Cormac Joyce” was “the favorite performance and favorite show I’ve ever done.”

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