A forgotten Ulster hero

Hollywood legend Stephen Boyd INNT 27-601con
Hollywood legend Stephen Boyd INNT 27-601con

A FORGOTTEN star but forever a part of Hollywood’s silver screen legend, Carnmony man Stephen Boyd would have celebrated his 80th birthday on July 4 had he been alive.

And author Joe Cushnan has said that one of Ireland’s first superstars should be lauded as the man who helped put our country on the map.

Born Billy Millar in 1931, Boyd played in theatres in Belfast and London before landing a role as an Irish spy in the Hollywood film ‘The Man Who Never Was’.

From there he shot to fame as Messala in the epic ‘Ben Hur’ alongside Charlton Heston in 1959, and went on to become one of Hollywood’s leading men.

Boyd was even romantically linked with screen siren Raquel Welsh after they starred together in the ‘Fantastic Voyage’, but soon his career nose-dived.

Blockbuster offers began to dry up and he went on to feature in ‘B’ movies and Westerns which never reprised the stardom he once enjoyed before his sudden death at the age of just 45.

Joe Cushnan who contributed to a recent BBC documentary on the star has written a book ‘Stephen Boyd: From Belfast to Hollywood’ after gathering and compiling a comprehensive archive on the filmstar over the past 30 years.

Read the full story in this week’s TIMES...