Stephen Boyd

  1. Stuart Whitman, The Story of Ruth, 1959.  Adapted less from the prophet Samuel than by   by the prophet Samuel Bronston, His Cecil B-ish production has little need of Whitman or Ben-Hur’s  Boyd or any other guy as  it proved to be the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi (Peggy Wood).  Variety buried the epic as a “moth-eaten, misleading mishmash of biblical hysterics”..

  2. Yves Montand, Let’s Make Love, 1960.  Among the legions  rejecting Marilyn Monroe because she was past it – and she was trouble. never on time. Stephen Boyd, Yul Brynner, Charlton Heston, William Holden, Rock Hudson and old-timers Cary Cooper, Cary Grant, James Stewart all fled  what was then  called (in their favour) The Billionaire.   Marilyn and Montand took the new title literally.

  3. Sean Connery, Dr No, 1962.

  4. Richard Burton, Cleopatra, 1962.
  5. Stuart Whitman, Rio Conchos, 1964. As web critic Colin McGuigan pointed out, revenge is the real name of this Western  – for Richard  Boone, and Whitman. And  Stu’s   been here before. Only last time it was calledComancheros.  Something wrong with any oater, though, that has a  “Mexican rogue”  – called what else but Rodriguez- is played by… Anthony Franciosa.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Sean Connery, Thunderball1965.
  9. Dean Martin, The Sons of Katie Elder,1965. When the  slow-moving mess of a Western was in turmoil due to Wayne requiring surgery for a cancerous lung,  Robert Mitchum was first reserve, with Boyd as his brother Tom. – Dean Martin in Duke’s version. After four months off, Wayne returned to work, carried on smoking (cigars replacing cigarettas) and doing too many of his own stunts in a Western he was patently too old for. (At  57, he was 36 years older than his youngest screen broher – Michael Anderson, Jr!). This was not Boyd’s best year!

  10. James Coburn, AHigh Wind In Jamaica, 1965. One of several properties James Mason picked up with the power of his new actor-producer-director contract at Fox. This was not Boyd’s best year!

  11. Audie Murphy, Einer spielt falsch (Trunk to Cairo), Israel-West Germany, 1965.   Boyd and Senta Berger churned into Murphy and Marianne Koch for the ham-fiasted thriller about tracking Egypt’s nukes. Director was – oh no ! – Menahem Golan.

  12. 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 Frobe, Anthony Dawson.
  13. 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.
  14. Vince Edwarads,  Hammerhead, 1967.  After Dean Martin quit the Matt Helm franchise, Cubby Broccoli’s former production partner, Irving Allen, tried another copy-Bond – James Mayo’s Charles Hood. And checked who Cubby had rejected for 007- and chose Boyd. Then dropped him, for the all-American Edwards.  It was all so  bad that Allen said: Hold the Mayo…  (Mayo was actually the pen-name of Stephen Coulter, who wrote four other Hoods)
  15. Richard Harris,Cromwell, 1970.   One Irishman is as good as another – the sequel.
  16. 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).
  17. Leonard Nimoy, Catlow, 1971.    Boyd then agreed to help out by playing the villain – and backed off when Nimoy become available. And had great fun, away from Spock for once.
  18. 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!
  19. 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.”


 Birth year: 1928Death year: 1977Other name: Casting Calls:  19