Stephen Boyd made many different films with many different women. Stephen was very congenial and a gentleman, and he usually made friends with his female co-stars and remained friends with them for many years – Bardot, Dolores Hart, Joan Collins to name a few. When he filmed the Fantastic Voyage with a very young Raquel Welch in 1965, he treated her very kindly and almost like a mentor. According to Welch, “I was terribly unsure of myself, “ she says, “I remember, when I was doing ‘Fantastic Voyage.’ Every day for five months I’d sit in the commissary at lunch with Stephen Boyd and Edmond O’Brien and Donald Pleasance and I’d hardly know what they were talking about. It wasn’t only things about acting, but words I didn’t know and restaurants and foods I’d never heard of. And I’d try to act sophisticated and knowing, but I wasn’t.” (The Times Standard, Oct 8, 1972)
In Welch’s book ‘Beyond the Cleavage’ she describes Boyd a couple of times. “I’m not the kiss-and-tell kind, but to save you racking your brain over which of the leading men I spent personal time with, I’ll narrow it down for you. Let’s see if you can guess which ones made me weak in the knees. Was is Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Elvis or Stephen Boyd? (she goes on to list several other co-stars….) Stephen Boyd had that soft Irish brogue and that cleft in the chin. He had an ironic way of looking at things and a witty charm about him.” In the photo section of her book, she features Boyd twice- referring to him as hunky and in another quote she says, “Both of us upstaged by the cleft in his chin.” It’s pretty clear that she was smitten.
Stephen did take Welch out on the town at least once in 1965. “Handsome movie star Stephen Boyd, in town from Hollywood, forgot his wallet when he took beautiful brunette star Raquel Welch from the St. Regis Hotel to see the comedy, “Luv”. Miss Welch, starring with him in ‘Fantastic Voyage’, had no money either, not even enough to take care of the 75-cent fare. But cabbie Bruce Mullins cashed Miss Welch’s $10 check – in the theater rush hour, yet.” (Detroit Free Press, Feb 15, 1965)”
At a film retrospective in New York in 2011, Raquel blasted Boyd for rejecting her advances.
“He was so hot with his cleft chin and he was so not interested in me. I tried to seduce him one time. I was so smitten with him and I was so excited every time I would come on the set I would see Stephen, and think, ‘Oh God, he’s so cute.’ He had what sounded like a Welsh brogue (whoops Raquel! It was Irish, not Welsh!) that was so charming. For my first trip to New York, when we opened the movie, we were both staying at the Plaza Hotel, so I thought, ‘Here’s my chance!’ So Darryl Zanuck took us all out to dinner at 21 and on the way back to the hotel we shared a cab. I said to him as we were going up in the lift, ‘So Stephen, would you like to come in for a drink?’
“We got out of the lift and he walked me to my room and he said, ‘I’d like to tell you a little story that was told to me by John Gielgud when I was working with the National Theater. You’ll have to think about it for a moment but I hope you get my drift: An actress is a little bit more than a woman, but an actor is a little bit less than a man.’
I thought, ‘Oh! He’s not interested in me; I am the wrong sex!’
“Honestly, he was such a love and he’s not here anymore. Of course I’m sure a lot of people in the National Theater knew!”
In all the research I have done about Stephen Boyd there is zero evidence that he was gay. Now, he was a gentleman, a bit shy, and very, very cautious. The fact that Raquel Welch would take his rejection and cryptic excuse as evidence of homosexuality seems extremely narcissistic on her part. Stephen Boyd was described as a loner, an independent bachelor during the mid-60’s, but he was also somewhat devoted to Elizabeth Mills, his secretary and confidante, the woman he lived with most of his life and who was his wife in everything but name (until 1974), although he did dally with other women on occasion, like Marisa Mell in the early 1970’s. The fact that Raquel had her 2 young children with her at the Fantastic Voyage premiere, even though she was divorced, may have had something to do with his decision to steer clear. Also, for a man who worried what his mother in Ireland thought about every romance rumor that the press stirred up, and who had fought his way into the Hollywood elite from true abject poverty in Ireland- would Stephen really put his whole career at risk in any way? Never! His choice to forsake any physical interaction with Welch burned her for 46 years – otherwise, why mention it at all? Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned is all I can think of. Unfortunately when you Google Boyd’s personal life online, the first thing that pops up is ‘Stephen Boyd is gay according to Raquel Welch’ via a Pink news website. It is unfortunate as this simply isn’t true. Boyd loved the ladies.
On his part, this is what Boyd had to say about Welch; “Absolutely beautiful. When I was making Fantastic Voyage it was one of her first major films and she didn’t want to be exploited too much so she stood up for herself. And I like it when people stand up for themselves. She’s one of the most beautiful women in the world and because of that much of her talent will forever go unnoticed.” ( Photo Play, October 1976- http://leglatin.pagesperso-orange.fr/boyd/sbarte12.htm)
Welch mentioned Boyd again in a recent interview with Los Angeles Times in August of 2016 (the 50th Anniversary of ‘Fantastic Voyage’).She vividly recalls her crush on Boyd (“I was too frightened to even flirt with him.”)…(http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-ca-mn-classic-hollywood-raquel-welchd20160815-snap-story.html)
Ironically, this wasn’t the only movie Boyd made with Raquel Welch. He also appeared in her excellent revenge western ‘Hannie Caulder’. The movie was made in Almeria, Spain in March of 1971. During this time Stephen Boyd was busy making lots of movies in Spain, including ‘Kill’ and ‘The Great Swindle.’ He had just completed filming ‘Marta’ with Marisa Mell in late 1970, and he took some time to film ‘Hannie Caulder’- where he appears uncredited as a silent guardian angel in black who looks over Welch during her struggles to bring down the men who brutally raped her. It’s great to see Welch and Boyd again in another movie, even though no dialogue passes between them- they merely exchange glances, which makes one wonder what the two of them were thinking- and if that night in New York a few years earlier was in their thoughts!
Boyd and Welch in Fantastic Voyage 1966
Boyd and Welch in ‘Hannie Caulder’ 1971