William Stephen Millar was born on July 4, 1931 in Glengormley, Northern Ireland. One of nine children from a Protestant family in County Antrim. He began as a radio actor in Belfast and then took part in British films as Stephen Boyd, most notably in "The Man That Never Was" (1955) but it was his role opposite Brigitte Bardot in "The Night Heaven Fell" that got him noticed. He then went to Hollywood and became a supporting actor in such films as "The Bravados" (1958), "The Best of Everything" (1959). His role as Messala in "Ben-Hur made him an international star. He would go on to appear in big budget films with international stars such as "Jumbo" and "The Inspector" (both 1962), "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964), "Genghis Kahn" (1965), "The Bible" "Fantastic Voyage" (both 1966), "Assignment K" (1969). His career fell into decline in the 1970s until he made a comeback with "The Squeeze" (1977). Boyd appeared in five Euro-westerns: "Shalako" (1968), "Hannie Caulder" (1971), "Those Dirty Dogs", "The Man Called Noon" (both 1973) and "Montana Trap" (aka "Potato Fritz") (1976). Boyd was only 45 when he died of a heart attack while playing golf in Northridge, California. Boyd had been married to Mariella di Sarzana an Italian executive at MCA and his long time girlfriend Elizabeth Mills, a secretary for the British Arts Council. The two had been married less then a year. Today we remember Stephen Boyd on what would have been his 80th birthday.