Born William Millar in Northern Ireland on July 4, 1931 (some sources suggest he was born in 1927 or 1928), actor Stephen Boyd hailed from a large family. In school, he studied bookkeeping but harbored a desire to become an actor. Using his mother's maiden name, beginning in his teens Boyd acted on stage and in radio, and in his 20s he made his way to London, where he was discovered by Sir Michael Redgrave while appearing in a stage production. Boyd's first film role was a bit part in the British romantic comedy Lilacs in the Spring (1954; with Errol Flynn and Anna Neagle). The size of his film roles grew quickly in such British films as The Man Who Never Was (1956; with Clifton Webb and Gloria Grahame), A Hill in Korea (1956; with George Baker and Robert Shaw), and Seven Waves Away (1957; with Tyrone Power, Mai Zetterling, and Lloyd Nolan). In 1956, Boyd signed with 20th Century Fox. His first U.S. film for the studio was the romance Island in the Sun (1957; with James Mason, Joan Fontaine, and Dorothy Dandridge).

Stephen BoydStephen BoydStephen Boyd

Various shots of Stephen Boyd from the late 1950s and early 1960s

The zenith of Boyd's career was winning a Golden Globe as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Ben-Hur (1959; with Charlton Heston and Martha Scott). Although he starred in several other big-budget pictures, such as Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962; with Doris Day and Jimmy Durante) and The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964; with Sophia Loren and Alec Guinness), nearly all proved to be box-office failures and did nothing for Boyd's career. By the late 1960s, Boyd had moved on to lower-budgeted European films and made-for-television movies.

the films of stephen boyd

The Man Who Never Was (1956)

Josephine Griffin and Stephen Boyd

With Josephine Griffin in the 20th Century Fox war drama The Man Who Never Was

Seven Waves Away (1957)

John Stratton, Mai Zetterling, and Stephen Boyd

With John Stratton and Mai Zetterling in the Columbia drama Seven Waves Away

Island in the Sun (1957)

Joan Collins and Stephen Boyd

With Joan Collins in the 20th Century Fox romance Island in the Sun

The Bravados (1958)

Gregory Peck, Stephen Boyd, Lee Van Cleef, and Henry Silva

With Gregory Peck, Lee Van Cleef, and Henry Silva in the 20th Century Fox western The Bravados

The Night Heaven Fell (1958)

Stephen Boyd and Brigitte Bardot

With Brigitte Bardot in the crime thriller The Night Heaven Fell, directed by Roger Vadim

Woman Obsessed (1959)

Susan Hayward and Stephen Boyd

With Susan Hayward in the 20th Century Fox drama Woman Obsessed

Ben-Hur (1959)

Stephen Boyd and Charlton Heston

Boyd portrayed Messala, whose boyhood friendship with Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) becomes adversarial in adulthood, in William Wyler's MGM spectacle Ben-Hur

The Best of Everything (1959)

Hope Lange and Stephen Boyd

From Jean Negulesco's drama The Best of Everything, released by 20th Century Fox. Pictured are Hope Lange and Stephen Boyd

Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962)

Stephen Boyd and Doris Day

From the MGM musical Billy Rose's Jumbo with Doris Day. The box office failure of this film was the final nail in the coffin for MGM musicals

Lisa (1962)

Stephen Boyd

As Peter Jongman in the 20th Century Fox thriller Lisa

The Third Secret (1964)

Stephen Boyd and Pamela Franklin

From the British-made 20th Century Fox mystery The Third Secret with Pamela Franklin

The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

Sophia Loren and Stephen Boyd

With Sophia Loren in the Paramount historical drama The Fall of the Roman Empire. This expensive production ran for more than three hours and failed at the box office

Fantastic Voyage (1966)

Raquel Welch and Stephen BoydRaquel Welch, Donald Pleasence, and Stephen Boyd

From the 20th Century Fox science fiction flick Fantastic Voyage. LEFT: With Raquel Welch. RIGHT: With Raquel Welch and Donald Pleasence

The Oscar (1966)

Stephen Boyd, Hedda Hopper, and Jean HaleEleanor Parker and Stephen Boyd

LEFT: With Hedda Hopper and Jean Hale in the campy drama The Oscar, one of Boyd's last big budget films. RIGHT: With Eleanor Parker

The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967)

Yvette Mimieux and Stephen Boyd

With Yvette Mimieux in the comedy The Caper of the Golden Bulls

Assignment K (1968)

Camilla Sparv and Stephen Boyd

With Camilla Sparv in the British-made spy thriller Assignment K, released by Columbia

Kill! (1971)

Jean Seberg and Stephen Boyd

With Jean Seberg in the Euro crime thriller Kill!

A Man Called Noon (1973)

Stephen BoydRichard Crenna and Stephen Boyd

From the Spanish-made western A Man Called Noon. LEFT: Boyd as Rimes. RIGHT: With Richard Crenna, who portrayed the title character

later years

Much of Stephen Boyd's personal life remains a mystery. Wedded twice, each of Boyd's marriages were short-lived. His first marriage to actress Mariella di Sarzana in 1958 ended after a few weeks. Boyd remarried in 1977, this time to his personal assistant. Sadly, Stephen Boyd died suddenly of a massive heart attack while playing golf at a Country Club in Northridge, California, on June 2, 1977, at age 45. He was survived by his wife, Elizabeth. In a February 2012 interview, Raquel Welch, Boyd's costar in Fantastic Voyage, stated that the actor was gay.

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stephen boyd trailers

Watch the trailers for Boyd's films The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) and The Bible (1966)


Lady Dracula (1978) with Brad Harris
The Squeeze (1977) with Stacy Keach and David Hemmings
Casa Manchada (1977)
Women in Hospital (1977) with Horst Buchholz and Karin Dor
Montana Trap (1976) with Hardy Kruger and Anton Diffring
The Lives of Jenny Dolan (1975) with Shirley Jones, James Darren, Farley Granger, George Grizzard, David Hedison, Ian McShane, Pernell Roberts, Dana Wynter, and Charles Drake
Treasure of Jamaica Reef (1975) with David Ladd, Chuck Woolery, Rosey Grier, Darby Hinton, and Cheryl Ladd
The Left Hand of the Law (1975) with James Mason
One Man Against the Organization (1975) with Alberto Dalbes
Key West (1973) with Woody Strode, Tiffany Bolling, Simon Oakland, Ford Rainey, and Sheree North
The Man Called Noon (1973) with Richard Crenna and Farley Granger
Of Men and Women (1973) with George Maharis, John David Carson, Jack Cassidy, Jackie Cooper, Farrah Fawcett, Barbara Feldon, and Joyce Jameson
Those Dirty Dogs (1973) with Daniele Vargas and Helga Line
The Hands of Cormac Joyce (1972) with Colleen Dewhurst
Control Factor (1972) with France Nuyen, Ray Milland, and Cameron Mitchell
One Billion for a Blonde (1972) with Jean Sorel
Kill! (1971) with James Mason, Curd Jurgens, and Jean Seberg
The Devil Has Seven Faces (1971) with Carroll Baker and Daniele Vargas
African Story (1971) with Sylva Koscina
Marta (1971) with Marisa Mell and Isa Miranda
The Great Swindle (1971) with Marisa Mell, Fernando Rey, and Sylva Koscina
Black Brigade (1970) with Robert Hooks, Rosey Grier, Moses Gunn, Richard Pryor, and Billy Dee Williams
Slaves (1969) with Dionne Warwick, Ossie Davis, Julius Harris, David Huddleston, Gale Sondergaard, and Shepperd Strudwick
Shalako (1968) with Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot, Honor Blackman, Woody Strode, and Don 'Red' Barry
Assignment K (1968) with Camilla Sparv and Michael Redgrave
The Caper of the Golden Bulls (1967) with Yvette Mimieux, Vito Scotti, Walter Slezak, and Leon Askin
The Bible (1966) with Michael Parks, Richard Harris, John Huston, George C. Scott, Ava Gardner, and Peter O'Toole
Fantastic Voyage (1966) with Raquel Welch, Edmond O'Brien, Donald Pleasence, Arthur O'Connell, and Barry Coe
Poppies Are Also Flowers (1966) with Senta Berger, Yul Brynner, Angie Dickinson, Rita Hayworth, Trevor Howard, E.G. Marshall, Marcello Mastroianni, Gilbert Roland, Harold Sakata, Omar Sharif, Barry Sullivan, Eli Wallach, and Jocelyn Lane
The Oscar (1966) with Elke Sommer, Milton Berle, Eleanor Parker, Joseph Cotten, Jill St. John, Tony Bennett, Edie Adams, Ernest Borgnine, Ed Begley, Walter Brennan, and Broderick Crawford
Genghis Khan (1965) with Omar Sharif, James Mason, Eli Wallach, Telly Savalas, Robert Morley, Yvonne Mitchell, and Woody Strode
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) with Sophia Loren, Alec Guinness, James Mason, Christopher Plummer, John Ireland, Omar Sharif, and Mel Ferrer
The Third Secret (1964) with Richard Attenborough, Diane Cilento, Pamela Franklin, and Judi Dench
Imperial Venus (1963) with Gina Lollobrigida
Billy Rose's Jumbo (1962) with Doris Day, Jimmy Durante, Martha Raye, Dean Jagger, and Grady Sutton
Lisa (1962) with Dolores Hart, Hugh Griffith, and Donald Pleasence
The Big Gamble (1961) with Juliette Greco, David Wayne, Sybil Thorndike, and Jess Hahn
Ben-Hur (1959) with Charlton Heston, Hugh Griffith, Martha Scott, Cathy O'Donnell, and Sam Jaffe
The Best of Everything (1959) with Hope Lange, Suzy Parker, Martha Hyer, Diane Baker, Brian Aherne, Robert Evans, Brett Halsey, Louis Jourdan, and Joan Crawford
Woman Obsessed (1959) with Susan Hayward, Barbara Nichols, and Theodore Bikel
The Bravados (1958) with Gregory Peck, Joan Collins, Albert Salmi, Henry Silva, Barry Coe, Lee Van Cleef, and Andrew Duggan
The Night Heaven Fell (1958) with Brigitte Bardot and Fernando Rey
The Beasts of Marseilles (1957) with Anton Diffring
Island in the Sun (1957) with James Mason, Joan Fontaine, Dorothy Dandridge, Joan Collins, Michael Rennie, Harry Belafonte, John Williams, and Patricia Owens
Abandon Ship! (1957) with Tyrone Power, Mai Zetterling, and Lloyd Nolan
Hell in Korea (1956) with George Baker and Robert Shaw
The Man Who Never Was (1956) with Clifton Webb, Gloria Grahame, Laurence Naismith, and Cyril Cusack
An Alligator Named Daisy (1955) with Jeannie Carson and Diana Dors
Born for Trouble (1955)

Hawaii Five-O, episode Up the Rebels, originally aired September 15, 1977
Hunter, episode The Costa Rican Connection, originally aired March 18, 1977
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, episode War of Nerves, originally aired January 3, 1964
General Electric Theater, episode The Wall Between, originally aired January 7, 1962
Playhouse 90, episode To the Sound of Trumpets, originally aired February 10, 1960
Lilli Palmer Theatre, episode The Stolen Pearl, January 8, 1956
London Playhouse, Fighting Chance, originally aired December 15, 1955

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