( b. Jul 02, 1946 New York, New York, USA - d. Mar 15, 2009 New York, New York, USA ) Male
Ron Silver, an intense, versatile actor who won a Tony Award for his portrayal of an anxious film producer about to close a big deal in the original Broadway run of David Mamet's Hollywood satire, Speed-the-Plow, died March 15. The cause was esophageal cancer, according to the New York Post. He was 62.
Though Mr. Silver never returned to Broadway after winning the Tony, the acting triumph led to the most vital period of Mr. Silver's film career. He was a tortured Jewish-American immigrant trying to decide between three women in Paul Mazursky's "Enemies: A Love Story" in 1989, a psychopath menacing Jamie Lee Curtis' cop in 1990's "Blue Steel," and lawyer Alan Dershowitz, trying to defend the indefensible Claus von Bulow in 1991's "Reversal of Fortune."
Ron Silver was born in New York City on July 2, 1946, the son of a Lower East Side clothing salesman and a schoolteacher. He graduated from New York State in Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Chinese studies. He also took a Master's Degree in Chinese History from St. John's University in New York and the College of Chinese Culture in Taiwan, and attended Columbia University's Graduate School of International Affairs. He put his degrees to work. For several years in the 1960s, he taught Spanish at Roosevelt High School, a Jewish boarding school in Connecticut, and got a job with the U.S. government and traveled to Taiwan in the early 1970s. An early career goal was to be a China expert for the Central Intelligence Agency.
He began his acting career in the early '70s with stage appearances in Kaspar and Public Insult at City Center and El Grande de Coca-Cola at the Mercer Arts Center. At the New York Shakespeare Festival, he acted in Lotta, More Than You Deserve and The Emperor of Late Night Radio. He made his film debut in "Tunnel Vision" in 1976, and, after a move to Los Angeles, took West Coast stage roles in Awake and Sing! and In the Boom Boom Room.
He worked heavily in television, acting in "Rhoda," "Macmillan & Wife," "The Rockford Files" and "The Stockard Channing Show." In the early '80s, films such as "Silkwood," "Best Friends," "Lovesick" and "Oh, God! You Devil" came along.
He returned to New York in 1984 and made his Broadway debut in David Rabe's Hurlyburly, then starred in the short-lived Broadway comedy Social Security, and Hunting Cockroaches at Manhattan Theatre Club Off-Broadway.
He experienced another rush of television activity in the 1990s, by which time he sported a beard and a mane of brown hair. He took long-running roles in the series "Chicago Hope," "Veronica's Closet," "Skin" and "The West Wing." He was nominated for an Emmy Award for his work in the latter, and for the 1987 television movie "Billionaire Boys' Club."
Fittingly, Mr. Silver never lost his interests in politics and international affairs. Well-read and voluble, he made his preference for current affairs over acting abundantly clear in interview after interview. At the 1990 Tony Awards ceremony, he created a small furor by making on-air remarks about the then-threatened NEA and the Chinese democracy movement. From 1991 to 2000, he served as president of the Actors' Equity Association. Mr. Silver traveled to more than 30 countries over the years and in 2000 co-founded the organization One Jerusalem to oppose the Oslo Peace Agreement. Its purpose was to maintain "a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel."
Despite having supported New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a Republican, the actor was a lifelong Democrat, campaigning for Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, however, he shifted to the right, speaking out forcefully in favor on conservative political policies and supporting President George W. Bush. He spoke at the United States 2004 Republican National Convention and was nominated by President Bush in 2005 to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace. In February 2008, he