He Roamed With Gypsies
Detroit Free Press, March 11, 1960
Stephen Boyd, a rugged, good-looking actor with dark wavy hair and blue eyes, will try anything once – even to joining a group of Romany Gypsies with whom he traveled, ate and slept for three months when he was 17. Born in Belfast, Ireland in 1928—Stephen’s mother was Irish and his father Canadian and from early childhood he cherished the ambition to act.
He began his career with the Ulster Theatre Group under Joseph Tomelty and remained with them two years until he went to Canada at the age of 18, where he joined the summer stock companies and did a lot of broadcasting, before moving to the United States. Once in this country he joined the Clair Tree Major Co. and made a coast to coast tour in1950, playing the lead in ‘Streetcar Named Desire.’ He returned to Ireland at the end of 1950, and remained there doing theater work for two years. He moved on to Britain, and experienced a very bleak period. He took on a variety of jobs, including being a cafeteria attendant. This last job was sufficient to try even Boyd’s sense of humor, and he now says ruefully, “I NEVER want to pour another cup of coffee.”
He even resorted to playing his guitar in London’s Leicester Square. Stephen says this endeavor bought him a pound and six-pence for a matter of two hours. He then blew his whole ‘bundle’ on a meal, and even now he claims that meal lives in his memory as the most memorable one in his life.
Later he found job in another part of Leicester Square as a cinema commissionaire. Michael Redgrave happened to speak to Boyd one day, and with that intuition typical of the profession, guessed that he was an out-of-luck actor, and on Redgrave’s introduction, Boyd joined the well-known Windsor Repertory Co. and within a fortnight was rehearsing the lead in a play,
Through this experience and some London TV work he was given a seven year contract by London Films and made his first important screen appearance as the Irish agent in ‘The Man Who Never Was.” The very impressive list of screen credits followed that with his memorable performance as Messala in ‘Ben Hur ‘topping them all. Six feet two inches tall and well-built with a strong face that can switch from an engaging smile to sinister menace, Boyd is an actor with a future rich in promise.
Birthplace- Belfast, Ireland
Birth-date – 1928
Hair- Dark Brown
Eyes – Blue
Height – 6 feet 2 inches
Motion Pictures – ‘The Man Who Never Was’; ‘Island in the Sun’; ‘The Bravados’; ‘Woman Obsessed’; ‘The Night Heaven Fell’; ‘The Best of Everything’ and ‘Ben Hur’
Photo below may have been taken during Stephen’s performance in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire.”