The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on January 31, 1960 · Page 129
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The Pittsburgh Press from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania · Page 129

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Issue Date:
Sunday, January 31, 1960
Page 129
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5, v ; i 'J I i I 4 4 Hollywood's New Cable Stephen Boyd IRISH STAR Stephen Boyd has made half a dozen American movies yet he seldom draws a role forceful enough to fit his personality. He has terrific screen impact and vitality beyond any actor I know but casting him presents a problem to his bosses, who are in much the same predicament as the fellow who grabbed a tiger by the tail. "I don't think they know what to do with me," he told me. "I can't play a straightforward milk and water juvenile because I'm not one. I can do anything that has any type of a test, providing the ft MS A 8M A ' 11 is A LiX tL-iA Vv 1 By Hedda Hopper physical appearance of the role is right. But producers are more inclined to come up with ideas for someone like, say Bob Wagner." To add to casting problems Boyd, a supreme individualist, refuses to be type cast. He agreed to the part of the drunken editor in "The Best of Everything" because it was off beat and got him away from the costume thing he'd done as Messala in "Ben-Hur." I won't work in a brass hat to the end of my days," he said when offers for that type thing poured in after word got around he was superb as the Roman charioteer. The part in "Best" gave him some tender love scenes, some rebellious moments, and the satisfaction of playing a man who had opinions and spoke them forcefully. But he looked a bit too vital, and with perhaps too much character, for a lush. When I told him I thought of him as the Clark Gable of this era, although a far more vital type than Gable, he shook his head, puzzled: "It's difficult to associate myself along those lines," he said. "But I daresay the roles Gable has played are roles I'm suited for. I prefer a two line part with genuine character to an innocuous one such as I had in "Woman Obsessed.' So many actors get hold of a script and go through it counting their lines. Or they'll read only the scenes in which they play. They get only a general idea of their own character and no idea at all of the overall story. This, in my opinion, is the trouble with so many young actors." "How do you go about It?" I asked. Thinks For Moment He thought for a moment: "Well, after 1 read a story I ask myself whom do I remember. That is the part that will be remembered on screen. I'd like to try some of the kinds of roles Arthur Kennedy plays something with guts and vitality.'' After digesting this unusual point of view, I asked if he'd ever had a frank discussion with Buddy Adler, head of his studio, over the sort of parts he thinks he'd like to play. He said he had not. In the four years he's been under contract to Twentieth Century-Fox he has talked with but three producers Jerry Wald, Sydney Boehm, and Walter Wanger. Boyd played the role of Messala in "Ben-Hur" and drove his modern chariot around Rome. "Wanger talked with me about the role of Marc Antony in 'Cleopatra,' " he said. "I told him I thought I was too young to play Antony, who was 48 by the time he got together with Cleopatra. I've played it on stage, though." He has been in Hollywood a year now and I asked him whether he preferred living in the film capital permanently to living in London, New York, or Ireland-He admits he has become pretty Americanized. He's an avid baseball fan, and didn't miss a game at the Los Angeles Coliseum this year, although he'd never seen baseball before coming to America. Needs Theater Of the legitimate theater, he said: "Theater is something I need like I need clothes to wear on the street it's like food and drink with me." I Inquired if he'd ever worked in the theater with Laurence Olivier. He said: "No, I've only said hello to him. Michael Redgrave has been my great friend. He helped me get a start and advised me but I've only worked with him once." (It was Redgrave who spotted Boyd working as a doorman in a London theater and got him a part on stage.) "Speaking of Olivier," he said, "I'd like to do some of the things he's played for live television, notably Wuther-ing Heights' and 'Rebecca. " When he was abroad for "Ben-Hur" he bought his parents a house in Ireland. "It has three bedrooms, a double garage, two and a half baths, central heating, and half an acre of ground in lawns and flower gardens. It cost 2000 pounds far less than it would have In England. I also got them a small English car." He has four brothers, four sisters, and 22 nieces and nephews. I said: "Haven't you had any romances in Hollywood?" "Not romances," he said, "a couple of flirtations. I don't want to get myself entangled, not even with steady dates." I told him I was once warned never to fall in love with an Irishman because, even when he has his arms around you, he's thinking of someone else." He laughed: "I wouldn't say that He means it when he has his arms around you. As Shaw said, The truth of the Irishman is when he's with you watch him when he leaves." The Pittsburgh Press, Sunday, January 31, I960

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