Stephen Boyd had three marriages in his life. Two of those marriages were official, and one marriage (a gypsy wedding with actress Marisa Mell) that was not legally recognized. Stephen never had any children and once said. “There are certain things lacking in me–I’d hate to run the risk of transferring any of my shortcomings to any children of mine.” Stephen truly enjoyed the freedom of bachelor life for most of his years. “I definitely prefer the freedom of bachelorhood, even though it may look like trying to escape from responsibilities.” (From The ABC of Stephen Boyd article).
Mariella Di Sarzana 1958-1959
Marcella was an MCA executive who met Stephen as soon as he arrived in Rome to start filming Ben Hur. According to Stephen he knew he wanted to marry her the first moment he saw her. She was a very petite Italian who was highly educated; she spoke eight languages. They married in London in August of 1958 during a short break from the filming of “Ben Hur”. Unfortunately many circumstances made this engagement very short lived. Stephen blamed himself for not being ready for marriage. After a short month, they separated. The divorce was final in March 1959 after Mariella made a brief visit to Hollywood. After this experience, Stephen became very leery of marital attachments and remained a very happy bachelor for most of the rest of his life.
Article concerning Boyd’s divorce, Austin Daily Herald, March 21,1959
Marisa Mell 1970-1971
Stephen Boyd made 2 films with Austrian actress Marisa Mell from 1970-1971 – Marta and The Great Swindle. During the first film, Boyd dodged Mell’s amorous advances, but by the time the second film was made a few months later, Boyd was pursuing Mell. For Boyd, Mell represented his ideal femme fatale. He once admitted that dark, exotic brunettes were his biggest trap. The pair became inseparable lovers for a few short months. Boyd whisked Mell off to become his wife by Gypsy law in a gypsy camp just outside of Madrid. The ceremony included a wrist cutting exchange of blood to seal their bond. It seems this unofficial marriage was about as hasty as his previous marriage to Sarzana. However, this attachment was overwrought with mystical and physical potency that was felt by both Boyd and Mell. The couple felt ‘possessed’ by their passion- so much so that they literally tried to exorcise it at a sanctuary in northern Italy! Boyd abruptly broke off the affair when he literally became sick. For her part, Mell would fondly remember Boyd years later in her autobiography ‘Cover Love’ – dedicating a whole chapter to their affair.
See more about Marisa Mell here – https://wordpress.com/page/stephenboydblog.wordpress.com/567
Elizabeth Mills 1974-1977
Elizabeth M Mills knew Stephen from the early days in London, where she worked for a theater company. In 1960 she came to Hollywood to work as Stephen’s personal secretary, as he was getting overwhelmed with fan mail. Elizabeth lived with Stephen at his Tarzana home for many years. From my research, the address was most likely 5520 Donna Road in Tarzana (http://www.britmovie.co.uk/forums/british-films-chat/83185-british-film-star-s-home-addresses-circa-1933-a-6.html). Liz was Boyd’s close confidante and they also shared the same personal friends from England. She would frequently stay at his home when he was filming overseas to take care of his property. Later in life, in the mid-seventies, they wed in a quiet ceremony in London. Elizabeth was born October 3, 1912, which would make her 16 years older than Stephen (He was born in 1928). She was with Stephen when he had a heart attack golfing at Porter Valley Golf Course in Northridge, California. She stayed in Tarzana the rest of her life, but moved to a different address. She passed away January 30, 2007. She was laid to rest with Stephen at Oakwood Memorial Park Cemetery in Chatsworth, California. (see https://stephenboydblog.wordpress.com/oakwood-memorial-park-stephen-boyds-gravesite) Elizabeth had been Stephen’s lifelong companion and confidante.
Stephen was the youngest of 9 children (4 sisters, 4 brothers) from a poor Protestant family in Glengormley, a town just outside of Belfast . He was very close to his mother Martha; he even took her maiden name ‘Boyd’ as his stage name. She was a descendant of the Bally-castle Boyd’s of Northern Ireland, who most likely hailed from Scotland. His father William was of Canadian descent. He worked as a truck driver and was also a recovered alcoholic. Stephen was also very close to his brothers James (20 years his elder) and Alex Millar. Needless to say, Stephen had a very large extended family. During his Hollywood years he would visit Belfast at least once a year. After the Troubles began in Ireland in the early 1970’s, sadly, Stephen would not visit again. Once Stephen had earned enough money from Ben-Hur he bought his mother and father a nice home in Belfast on Swanston Road which they promptly nicknamed ‘Messala.’
Below, pictures of Stephen with his father William and his mother Martha.
Personal Documents Concerning Stephen Boyd
Birth Certificate- obtained from Wikipedia
Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate- found on Ebay- Showing also Stephen’s London Address from 1956