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Stephen Boyd (1928-1977)

  1. Stuart Whitman, The Story of Ruth, 1959.   Surprisingly, instead of cashing in on his Ben-Hur triumph, Fox tested its own contract player as Boaz - with potential Ruths: Diane Baker, Susan Kohner and Millie Perkins. Whitman also had a Fox contract.   And much good it did him.

  2. Yves Montand, Let's Make Love, 1960.   He was among the guys rejecting  Marilyn Monroe:  Yul Brynner, Cary Grant, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson,  Gregory Peck, James Stewart.

  3. Sean Connery, Dr No, 1962.
  4. Richard Burton, Cleopatra, 1962.
  5. Paul Newman, Lady L, 1965.   Sophia Loren's first choice for her anarchist lover  after making The Fall  of the Roman Empire together. But Newman owed MGM  a movie - and this was the less painful on offer.
  6. Richard Harris, The Heroes of Telemark, 1965.    One Irishman is as good as another. Not quite. Boyd was the only one with the Oscar -  and to have worked as a commissionaire outside a London cinema owned by the film's producers: the Rank Organisation.
  7. Sean Connery, Thunderball, 1965.
  8. Dean Martin, The Sons of Katie Elder, 1965.  A slow-moving mess of a Western. John Wayne used an oxygen tank while still recovering from cancer surgery - losing one lung and two ribs -  four months earlier. And his siblings were of ridiculous age-spans. Michael Anderson was the youngest Elder - 36 years Wayne’s junior.  Meaning he was born when Katie Elder was in her late 70s!   This was not Boyd’s best year!
  9. James Coburn, A High Wind In  Jamaica, 1965.   One of several properties James Mason picked up with the power of his new actor-producer-director contract at Fox.

  10. Christopher  Plummer,  Triple Cross, 1966.    An early, '64 choice for bank robber turned war hero Eddie Chapman - made by  Bondsmith Terence  Young,  who had considered Boyd for 007 and whose cast had a Bond chorus line: Claudine Auger, Gert Fröbe, Anthony Dawson.
  11. Sean Connery, Shalako 1968.     When Henry Fonda bowed out, producer  Euan Lloyd wen to Boyd, a friend of leading lady, Brigitte Bardot. He passed on the lead role. “I prefer supporting roles.” That's how he won his Ben-Hur Oscar and why he accepted such a dullard Western.
  12. Vince Edwarads,  Hammerhead, 1967.   Last minute change of the American Bond wannabe, tackling a Bond villain wannabe, Peter Vaughan.
  13. Richard Harris,Cromwell, 1970.   One Irishman is as good as another - the sequel.
  14. Yul Brynner, Catlow, 1971.    Boyd and UK producer Euan Lloyd planned three Louis L’Amour Westerns together.Allegedly, Boyd let this second one go (enter: Brynner as the Irish-born outlaw!) when his pal, Brigitte Bardot, refused to jointhe party. (Well, she’d been here before- a girl’s part that was no part at all - in the first Lloyd-Boyd-L’Amour package, Shalako, 1968).
  15. Leonard Nimoy, Catlow, 1971.    Boyd then agreed to help out by playing the villain - and backed off when Nimoy become available.
  16. Robert Shaw,The Sting,1973.   Richard Boone refused with a fortnight to go and when George Roy Hill favoured Boyd, his producer Michael Phillips (backed by his partners Tony Bill and Julia Phillips) went on his knees to beg Hill “to go for greatness” - and brandished a list of better British names.Forgetting that scenarist David Ward'sprototype had been...Lee Van Cleef!
  17. Jack Watson, The Wild Geese, 1978.   Due to be the third Boyd-Lloyd collaboration.“He wanted to play the sergeant major in his strong Belfast accent - as hard as steel. He gave a perfect reading for [director] Andrew MacLaglen and we agreed. Four weeks later he dropped dead on the golf course.”


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