About this actor
Stephen Boyd (4 July 1931 – 2 June 1977), born William Millar, was an British actor from Glengormley, Northern Ireland, who appeared in 60 films, most notably in the role of Messala in the 1959 film Ben-Hur. One of nine siblings from a Protestant family from County Antrim, Boyd was originally named William Millar. He starred in a radio play in Belfast and worked as a commissionare at a cinema in London. Some sources state that he was discovered by actor Michael Redgrave while working as a hotel doorman. He began acting in British films, notably as an edgy Irish spy in the 1955 World War II film The Man Who Never Was. It was his role in a 1957 French film, The Night Heaven Fell opposite Brigitte Bardot that got him noticed. He went to Hollywood and appeared as second 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...