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Ron Silver
Born Ronald Arthur Silver
July 2, 1946(1946-07-02)
New York City, New York,
United States
Died March 15, 2009 (aged 62)
New York City, New York,
United States
Occupation Actor, director, producer, political activist
Years active 1974–2008
Spouse(s) Lynne Miller (1975–1997) (divorced)

Ronald Arthur "Ron" Silver[1] (July 2, 1946 – March 15, 2009) was an American actor, director, producer, radio host and political activist.


Early life

Silver was born in New York City, New York, the son of May (née Zimelman), a substitute teacher, and Irving Roy Silver, a clothing sales executive.[1][2] Silver was raised Jewish on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and attended The East Side Hebrew Institute ("ESHI") and then Stuyvesant High School.[3] He went on to graduate from SUNY at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Chinese, and received a Master's Degree in Chinese History from St. John's University in New York and the College of Chinese Culture in Taiwan. He also attended Columbia University's Graduate School of International Affairs and studied acting at the Herbert Berghof Studio.


Silver made his film debut in Tunnel Vision in 1976. He played downstairs neighbor Gary Levy from 1976-78 in the series Rhoda, a spinoff from The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

Additional screen roles include a performance as the devoted son of Anne Bancroft in Garbo Talks (1984), an incompetent detective in Eat and Run (1986), the pistol-wielding psychopath stalking Jamie Lee Curtis in 1989's Blue Steel, and the lead in Paul Mazursky's Oscar-nominated Enemies: A Love Story (1989).

Silver starred opposite Jerry Lewis in the critically acclaimed "Garment District Arc" of the crime show Wiseguy (1988). He often said in interviews that growing up the son of a man working in the garment industry was a great help in preparing for the role.

He portrayed defense attorney Alan Dershowitz in the true story Reversal of Fortune (1990), based on the trial of Claus von Bülow. He played a film producer in Best Friends opposite Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn and a famous film director in a 1992 movie that Billy Crystal starred in and directed, Mr. Saturday Night.

Silver was featured as Muhammad Ali's boxing trainer and cornerman Angelo Dundee in the biopic Ali (2001), directed by Michael Mann.

From 2001-02 and again from 2005-06, Silver appeared as presidential campaign advisor Bruno Gianelli on The West Wing. In 1998, he starred opposite Kirstie Alley for season two of her TV comedy series Veronica's Closet.

Silver provided the narration for the 2004 political documentary film FahrenHYPE 9/11 that was produced as a conservative political response to the award-winning and controversial Michael Moore documentary film, Fahrenheit 9/11.

He portrayed tennis player Bobby Riggs in the TV docudrama "When Billie Beat Bobby," the story of Riggs' exhibition match against Billie Jean King.

Silver portrayed Robert Shapiro in one of the most watched television shows of all time, American Tragedy, the story of the O.J. Simpson trial.

One of his final film performances was as a judge in another true story, 2006's Find Me Guilty, directed by Sidney Lumet and starring Vin Diesel.

From 1991 to 2000, Silver served as president of the Actors' Equity Association.

In February 2008, Silver began hosting The Ron Silver Show on Sirius Satellite Radio, which focused on politics and public affairs. The show aired live from 9–11am ET, during morning drive time, on Indie Talk, Sirius 110.

Personal life and politics

Silver traveled to more than 30 countries and spoke fluent Mandarin Chinese and Spanish. He taught at the high school level and was a social worker for the Department of Social Services.

He was a co-founder in 1989 of the entertainment industry political advocacy organization the Creative Coalition.

Silver was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2000, he co-founded the organization One Jerusalem to oppose the Oslo Peace Agreement. Its purpose is to maintain "a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel."[4]

Silver, a Democrat for many years, left the party and became an Independent, and a supporter of President George W. Bush after the September 11, 2001 attacks, citing those attacks and Democratic policies regarding terrorism as reasons. He spoke at the United States 2004 Republican National Convention, continued to support President Bush, and was appointed Chairman for the Millennium Committee by New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Silver and some of his friends said that following his endorsement of President Bush he was ostracized by erstwhile friends and onetime colleagues. In Silver's blog on the Pajamas Media website, he also remarked that his colleagues on the set of The West Wing referred to him as "Ron, Ron, the Neo-Con."[5]

On October 7, 2005, Silver was nominated by President Bush to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace. On September 8, 2006, it was announced that Silver had joined an advisory committee to the Lewis Libby Legal Defense Trust.[6]

President George W. Bush appointed Silver to serve on the Honorary Delegation to accompany him to Jerusalem for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the State of Israel in May 2008.[7]

Despite Silver's affiliation with Republican Party politics, he still thought of himself as a liberal, albeit a "hawkish" one. In one of his last televised interviews, he told Sky News that Senator John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his Vice-Presidential candidate in the 2008 Presidential Election had been a "deal breaker" for him.[8] According to the obituary printed by the New York Times, Silver's brother asserted that "Ron ended up voting for Obama in the end".[9]


Silver died on March 15, 2009 of esophageal cancer, [10] which had been diagnosed two years earlier. He was 62 years old. Silver is survived by both parents, brothers Mitchell and Keith, son Adam, and daughter Alexandra.[11]






External links

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