Search billions of records on Ancestry.com

 
Please go to our new site at:
      http://clanboyd.info
 
 
 
 

Clan Boyd Society, International

William Lawrence Boyd aka Hopalong Cassidy
         5 June 1895 - 12 Sept 1972


 

William L. Boyd was born in Cambridge, Belmont County, Ohio
5 June 1895.  He was one of five children of Charles William
Boyd and Lyda Wilkins.  The Boyd family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma
in 1902.  Charles W. Boyd, a laborer, was killed in an accident
while trying to rescue other workers who had been trapped by an
explosion in 1908.

William L. Boyd held various jobs such as a tool dresser, surveyor
and auto salesman until he moved to California when he was 20.
Because of his good looks and winning manner he was soon noticed
by the film industry,

His first acting job was as an extra in Why change Your Wife?
in 1919. Cecil B. De Mille who was the director in this film noticed
him and Boyd was placed by Famouis Players-Lasky under a seven
year contract at a weekly salary of $25 for the first year.

In 1922, Boyd left Famous Players and started to appear in Westerns
on the Fox lot.  His big opportunity though came when De Mille cast
him as the lead in The Volga Boatman, (1926).  This was followed by
King of Kings (1927), Two Abrabian Knights (1928) and Beyond Victory
(1929).

William Boyd had a very good speaking voice.  This was fortunate for
him because of the advent of the "talkies".  In 1932 Pathe Studios gave
him a contract for $2500 weekly and a star ranking.  He appeared in
Skyscraper, The Leatherneck, Officer O'Brien and The Painted Desert.

In 1934 William Boyd discovered Hopalong Cassidy. This is a character
originated in books written by Clarence E. Mulford.   Boyd won the con-
tract for a series of six Hopalong movies at a blanket salary of $30, 000.

Hopalong Cassidy was a success and there were six films made a year.
Hopalong was a Western cowboy Robin Hood who never had a love
interest in the stories.  He wore a black cowboy outfit which contrasted
perfectly with his white horse Topper.

Because of managerial disputes started because Boyd was adament that
the Hopalong stories were based on solid writing.  The original six
stories by Mulford had been exhausted years earlier.  Mulford eventually
wrote 28 stories.

In 1943 Boyd gained a 10 year lease on a sub-royalty basis for the motion
picture rights to the character.  Quality increased and was maintained even
though each film was budgeted at $10,000 and had a 90 hour shooting
schedule.

Variety wrote that the budget and schedule "in no way reflect on the first
rate photography, excellant locations and unusually good musical backgrounds."

In 1948, William Boyd bought the film and all other rights from Mulford on
the character.  William Boyd became Hopalong Cassidy.  By 1949 there were
54 films and these became eligible to be shown on television.  In the 1950's
there was a weekly series, "Hopalong Cassidy".

William Boyd was married five times.  He married Laura Maynard, Ruth Yeager
Miller, Elinor Fair,  Dorothy Sebastion, and lastly to Grace Bradley which
marriage lasted for 35 years.  They lived on a California ranch called  "Boyd's
Nest".  His one son died in infancy,

William L. Boyd died 13 Sept 1972 in Laguna Beach, CA.   He is buried in Forest
Lawn Memorial Park.

His genealogy:   (from the 1900 Belmont County, Ohio  census and Wadene Bennett)

1. John Boyd Sr. b. 1756 in Cecil Co, MD  died March 16, 1833 in Belmont Co., Ohio.

His sons:
2. John Boyd, Jr. b. 1791 in Md. married August 24, 1816, Belmont Co, to Rosannah Haney.
2. Robert Boyd  b. bet. 1800-1810 in Belmont Co, to Matilda Buggs on March 16, 1831/

Robert's son:
3. John Boyd b. 1833 in Belmont Co, married Mary J. Thompson, October 5, 1854  in
    Hendrysburg, Belmont Co, Ohio.  died July 27, 1895 in Belmont Co, Ohio.

4. Charles William Boyd  born 4 July 1870 in Kirkwood Twp,  Belmont County, Ohio
and died in 1908 in Oklahoma married Lyda/Leida A. Wilkins born  May, 1875.
Their children:

5. Clarence Boyd, b. March 1892 in Belmont Co. and died in Tulsa, Tulsa Co, Oklahoma in 1980's.
5. William Lawrence Boyd (Hopalong) born June 3, 1895 in Belmont Co, Ohio
5. John C. Boyd born December 1898
5. Walter E. Boyd.  born Ohio, died in Arizona

Charles and Leida Boyd left Ohio before 1910  as they were on the Tulsa County Census in 1910.
His children attended Lincoln Elementary School in Tulsa, Okla. They were also on the 1920 Tulsa
County Census and Charles was killed on his job sometime after this and William Boyd had to leave
school and go to work.  He worked odd jobs in Tulsa, before heading West.  His brother Clarence
lived in Tulsa until his death.

For a more complete lineage see  John Boyd Sr

Hopalong Cassidy Fan Club:

Hoppy Talk
c/o Laura Bates
6310 Friendship Drive
New Concord, Ohio 43762-9708

Hopalong Cassidy/William Boyd Web Site

The Official Hopalong Cassidy Web Site

Return to Main Boyd Site