Stephen Boyd

Description   [from Freebase]

Stephen Boyd (4 July 1931 – 2 June 1977) was a British actor from Ballyrobert, Ballyclare, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. He appeared in some 60 films, most notably as "Messala" in Ben-Hur. Boyd was born in 1931, one of nine siblings, as William Millar. He attended Ballyclare High School. He starred in a radio play in Belfast and worked in a cinema in London. He began acting in British films, notably as an edgy Irish spy working for the Germans, in the World War II film The Man Who Never Was (1956). It was his role in a 1957 French film, The Night Heaven Fell opposite Brigitte Bardot which gained him critical and public attention. He went to Hollywood and appeared as leads in a variety of films, including The Bravados (1958) and The Best of Everything (1959). His role as Messala in Ben-Hur (1959) propelled him to international fame. He later played another Roman leader in Samuel Bronston's The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964), in which he co-starred with Sophia Loren. He received a Golden Globe for his performance in Ben-Hur. In 1962 Boyd appeared in the film The Inspector opposite starlet Dolores Hart. The two remained friends until Boyd's death.
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