Ron Silver

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Ron Silver
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Ronald Arthur Silver

(1946-07-02)July 2, 1946
DiedMarch 15, 2009(2009-03-15) (aged 62)
New York City, U.S.
Resting place Westchester Hills Cemetery
Alma mater University at Buffalo
St. John's University
OccupationActor, director, producer, political activist
Years active1974–2009
Lynne Miller
(m. 1975;div. 1997)
12th President of the Actors' Equity Association
In office
Preceded by Colleen Dewhurst
Succeeded by Patrick Quinn

Ronald Arthur Silver (July 2, 1946 – March 15, 2009) was an American actor, director, producer, radio host, and political activist. As an actor, he portrayed Henry Kissinger, Alan M. Dershowitz and Angelo Dundee. He was awarded a Tony in 1988 for Best Actor for Speed-the-Plow, a satirical dissection of the American movie business.

Henry Kissinger 56th United States Secretary of State

Henry Alfred Kissinger is an American politician, diplomat, and geopolitical consultant who served as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the presidential administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. A Jewish refugee who fled Nazi Germany with his family in 1938, he became National Security Advisor in 1969 and U.S. Secretary of State in 1973. For his actions negotiating a ceasefire in Vietnam, Kissinger received the 1973 Nobel Peace Prize under controversial circumstances, with two members of the committee resigning in protest. Kissinger later sought, unsuccessfully, to return the prize after the ceasefire failed.

Angelo Dundee American boxing trainer

Angelo Dundee was a 20th century American boxing trainer and cornerman. Internationally known for his work with Muhammad Ali (1960–1981), he also worked with 15 other world boxing champions, including Sugar Ray Leonard, José Nápoles, George Foreman, George Scott, Jimmy Ellis, Carmen Basilio, Luis Manuel Rodríguez and Willie Pastrano.

Tony Award awards for live Broadway theatre

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Midtown Manhattan. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing. The trophy consists of a medallion, with a face portraying an adaptation of the comedy and tragedy masks, mounted on a black base with a pewter swivel.


Early life

Silver was born on July 2, 1946 in Manhattan, 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 Stuyvesant High School. [3]

Manhattan Borough in New York City and county in New York, United States

Manhattan, , is the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City, coextensive with New York County, one of the original counties of the U.S. state of New York. Manhattan serves as the city's economic and administrative center, cultural identifier, and historical birthplace. The borough consists mostly of Manhattan Island, bounded by the Hudson, East, and Harlem rivers; several small adjacent islands; and Marble Hill, a small neighborhood now on the U.S. mainland, physically connected to the Bronx and separated from the rest of Manhattan by the Harlem River. Manhattan Island is divided into three informally bounded components, each aligned with the borough's long axis: Lower, Midtown, and Upper Manhattan.

Jews Ancient nation and ethnoreligious group from the Levant

Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity, nationhood, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance.

Lower East Side Neighborhood of Manhattan in New York City

The Lower East Side, sometimes abbreviated as LES, is a neighborhood in the southeastern part of the New York City borough of Manhattan, roughly located between the Bowery and the East River, and Canal Street and Houston Street. Traditionally an immigrant, working class neighborhood, it began rapid gentrification in the mid-2000s, prompting the National Trust for Historic Preservation to place the neighborhood on their list of America's Most Endangered Places.

Silver went on to graduate from the State University of New York at Buffalo, [4] 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 Chinese Culture University in Taiwan. He also attended Columbia University's Graduate School of International Affairs (SIPA) and studied acting at the Herbert Berghof Studio, [5] and later at The Actors Studio. [6] [7]

University at Buffalo Public research university in Buffalo, New York

The State University of New York at Buffalo is a public research university with campuses in Buffalo and Amherst, New York, United States. It is commonly referred to as SUNY Buffalo or the University at Buffalo (UB), and was formerly known as the University of Buffalo. It is the de facto flagship campus of the State University of New York (SUNY) system, with the largest enrollment, largest endowment and research funding as a comprehensive university center in the SUNY system. The university was founded in 1846 as a private medical college, but in 1962 merged with the SUNY system.

A Bachelor of Arts is a bachelor's degree awarded for an undergraduate course or program in either the liberal arts, sciences, or both. Bachelor of Arts programs generally take three to four years depending on the country, institution, and specific specializations, majors, or minors. The word baccalaureus should not be confused with baccalaureatus, which refers to the one- to two-year postgraduate Bachelor of Arts with Honors degree in some countries.

A master's degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study demonstrating mastery or a high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice. A master's degree normally requires previous study at the bachelor's level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course. Within the area studied, master's graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge of a specialized body of theoretical and applied topics; high order skills in analysis, critical evaluation, or professional application; and the ability to solve complex problems and think rigorously and independently.


Silver got his big acting break starring in El Grande de Coca-Cola in 1974. Producers Richard Flanzer and Roy Silver (no relation) opened it at the famed Whisky a Go Go on the Sunset Strip in Los Angeles. The production ran for more than a year. Silver and his co-star, actor Jeff Goldblum, were discovered by Hollywood film agents during this show's run.

Whisky a Go Go nightclub in West Hollywood, California

Whisky a Go Go is a nightclub in West Hollywood, California. It is located at 8901 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip, corner North Clark Street, opposite North San Vicente Boulevard, northwest corner. The club has been the launching pad for bands including Iggy And The Stooges, Alice Cooper, The Doors, No Doubt, System of a Down, The Byrds, The Germs, Buffalo Springfield, Steppenwolf, Van Halen, Johnny Rivers, X, Led Zeppelin, KISS, Guns N' Roses, Death, AC/DC, Linkin Park, and Mötley Crüe. In 2006, the venue was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Sunset Strip stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through West Hollywood, California

The Sunset Strip is the 1 12-mile (2.4 km) stretch of Sunset Boulevard that passes through the city of West Hollywood, California, United States. It extends from West Hollywood's eastern border with the city of Los Angeles (Hollywood) at Crescent Heights Boulevard to its western border with Beverly Hills at Sierra Drive. The Sunset Strip is known for its boutiques, restaurants, rock clubs, and nightclubs, as well as its array of huge, colorful billboards.

Los Angeles City in California

Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California; the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City; and the third-most populous city in North America, after Mexico City and New York City. With an estimated population of nearly four million people, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean-like climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood, the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis.

In 1976, he made his film debut in Tunnel Vision , and also played a placekicker in the football comedy film Semi-Tough . From 1976 to 1978, he had a recurring role as Gary Levy in the sitcom Rhoda , a spin-off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show . Additional screen roles include a psychiatrist in the horror story The Entity (1983), 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).

<i>Semi-Tough</i> 1977 film by Michael Ritchie

Semi-Tough is a 1977 American comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie and starring Burt Reynolds, Kris Kristofferson, Jill Clayburgh, Robert Preston, Lotte Lenya, and Bert Convy. It is set in the world of American professional football.

<i>Rhoda</i> American television sitcom

Rhoda is an American television sitcom starring Valerie Harper that originally aired on CBS for five seasons from September 9, 1974 to December 9, 1978.

<i>The Mary Tyler Moore Show</i> Television series

The Mary Tyler Moore Show is an American television sitcom starring the actress of the same name and created by James L. Brooks and Allan Burns; it originally aired on CBS from September 19, 1970 to March 19, 1977. Moore starred as Mary Richards, an unmarried, independent woman focused on her career as associate producer at the fictional WJM news program in Minneapolis. A central female character who was not married or dependent on a man was a rarity in American television in the early 1970s, leading to numerous publications citing The Mary Tyler Moore Show as groundbreaking television in the era of second-wave feminism. Edward Asner co-starred as Mary's boss Lou Grant, alongside Valerie Harper as her friend and neighbor Rhoda Morgenstern and Cloris Leachman as her landlady Phyllis Lindstrom. Other co-stars throughout the series's run included Gavin MacLeod, Ted Knight, Georgia Engel, and Betty White.

He starred as Jerry Lewis's character's son in the multi-episode "Garment District Arc" of the television crime series Wiseguy (1988).

Jerry Lewis American comedian, actor, film producer, writer and film director

Joseph Levitch, better known by his stage name Jerry Lewis, was an American comedian, actor, singer, filmmaker and humanitarian and dubbed as "The King of Comedy" and "The Total Filmmaker". Lewis gained his career breakthrough with fellow singer Dean Martin, billed as Martin & Lewis, in 1946 and would perform together for ten years until an acrimonious break up of the partnership in 1956.

<i>Wiseguy</i> American television series

Wiseguy is an American crime drama series that aired on CBS from September 16, 1987, to December 8, 1990, for a total of 75 episodes over four seasons. The series was produced by Stephen J. Cannell and was filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, to avoid the higher studio costs associated with filming in Los Angeles.

He portrayed two well-known attorneys in films based on actual events, playing defense attorney Alan Dershowitz in the drama Reversal of Fortune (1990), based on the trial of Claus von Bülow. and defense attorney Robert Shapiro in the television film American Tragedy (2000), the story of the O. J. Simpson trial.

From 1991 to 2000, Silver served as president of the Actors' Equity Association. He played a film producer in Best Friends opposite Burt Reynolds and Goldie Hawn (1982), an actor in Lovesick (1983) and a film director in Mr. Saturday Night (1992). Silver portrayed a corrupt, rogue senator in the 1994 Jean-Claude Van Damme sci-fi thriller Timecop .

On television in 1998, he starred opposite Kirstie Alley for season two of her TV comedy series Veronica's Closet .

In other films based on true stories, Silver portrayed tennis player Bobby Riggs in the TV docudrama When Billie Beat Bobby (2001), about Riggs' real-life exhibition tennis match against Billie Jean King, which Riggs lost. He was also featured as Muhammad Ali's boxing trainer and cornerman Angelo Dundee in Michael Mann's 2001 biopic Ali .

From 2001–02 and again from 2005–06, he had a recurring role as presidential campaign adviser Bruno Gianelli on the NBC series The West Wing .

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 .

Silver also narrated a MEMRI documentary film about the Arab and Iranian reactions to the September 11 attacks called The Arab and Iranian Reaction to 911: Five Years Later. [8]

Additionally, Silver narrated the audiobook versions of several Philip Roth novels, including American Pastoral, The Plot Against America, and Portnoy's Complaint .

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. [9]

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 911am ET, on Indie Talk, Sirius 110.

Personal life

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.

In 1975, he married a social worker, later Self magazine editor, Lynne Miller; the marriage lasted until 1997, when they divorced. [10]

In 1989, he co-founded the Creative Coalition, an entertainment industry political advocacy organization that champions for First Amendment rights, public education, and support for the arts. [1]


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 and to maintain "a united Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel". [11] [ better source needed ]

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

After he flipped political affiliations and endorsed President Bush, he claims he was ostracized by friends and colleagues. In Silver's blog on the PJ Media website, he claimed that colleagues on the set of The West Wing referred to him as "Ron, Ron, the Neo-Con". [12]

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. [13]

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. [14]

In one of his last televised interviews, he told Sky News that Senator John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate in the 2008 Presidential election was a "brilliant political choice" but that a part of him wished to "see an African American become president in my lifetime". [15] According to the obituary printed by The New York Times , his brother, Mitchell Silver, noted that "He told me that he did vote for Barack Obama in the end". [1]


Ron Silver's headstone Ron Silver Headstone December 04, 2013.jpg
Ron Silver's headstone

Silver, a long-time smoker, [16] died on March 15, 2009, of esophageal cancer, [1] [17] 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. [18] He was interred at Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.



1976 Tunnel Vision Dr. Manuel Laborfilm debut
1976 Welcome to L.A. MassueseUncredited
1977 Semi-Tough Vlada Kostov
1982 Silent Rage Dr. Tom Halman
1982 The Entity Phil Sneiderman
1982 Best Friends Larry Weisman
1983 Lovesick Ted Caruso
1983 Silkwood Paul Stone
1984 Romancing the Stone Vendor
1984 The Goodbye People Eddie Bergson
1984 Garbo Talks Gilbert Rolfe
1984 Oh, God! You Devil Gary Frantz
1987 Eat and Run Mickey McSorely
1989 Enemies: A Love Story Herman
1990 Blue Steel Eugene Hunt
1990 Reversal of Fortune Alan Dershowitz
1991 Married to It Leo Rothenberg
1991The Good PolicemanIsaac Seidel
1992 Live Wire Frank Traveres
1992 Mr. Saturday Night Larry Meyerson
1994 Timecop McComb
1995 Deadly Outbreak Colonel BaronDirect-to-Video
1996 The Arrival Phil Gordian / Mexican Guard
1996 Girl 6 Director #2 - LA
1996 Danger Zone Maurice Dupont
1998The White RiverTully Windsor
1999Black and WhiteSimon Herzel
2001 Festival in Cannes Rick Yorkin
2001 Ali Angelo Dundee
2001 Exposure Gary WhitfordDirect-to-Video
2002 The Wisher Campbell
2005 Red Mercury Sidney
2006 Find Me Guilty Judge Sidney Finestein
2006Call It FictionChasShort
2007 The Ten Fielding Barnes
2009A Secret PromiseSam Dunbar(final film role)


1974 The Mac Davis Show unknownunknown episode
1975 Big Eddie EnzoEpisode: "Hellow Poppa"
1975 McMillan & Wife ArtEpisode: "Secrets for Sale"
1975 Rhoda Sonny MichaelsEpisode: "Mucho, Macho"
1976 The Rockford Files Ted HallerEpisode: "The Italian Bird Fiasco"
1976 The Return of the World's Greatest Detective Dr. CollinsTelevision Movie
1976–1978 Rhoda Gary Levyseries regular; 33 episodes
1978 Having Babies LamarEpisode: "Careers"
1978Murder at the Mardi GrasLarry CookTelevision Movie
1978 Betrayal Bob CohenTelevision Movie
1979Dear DetectiveDetective Schwartz4 episodes
1980 Here's Boomer KolodnyEpisode: "Private Eye"
1980 The Stockard Channing Show Brad Gabrielseries regular; 13 episodes
1981 World of Honor David LernerTelevision Series
1982 Baker's Dozen Mike Locasale6 episodes; recurring role
1983 Hill Street Blues Sam Weiser2 episodes
1984 American Playhouse GruenwaldEpisode: "The Cafeteria"
1985 Kane & Abel Thaddeus CohenTelevision Miniseries; 2 episodes
1986 Trapped in Silence Dr. Jeff TomlinsonTelevision Movie
1987Trying TimesDriving InstructorEpisode: "Drive, She Said"
1987 Billionaire Boys Club Ron LevinTelevision Movie
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or Special
1988A Father's RevengeMax GreewaldTelevision Movie
1988–1989 Wiseguy David Sternberg5 episodes; recurring role
1990 Screen Two Asa KaufmanEpisode: "Fellow Traveller"
1990Forgotten Prisoners: The Amnesty FilesJordan FordTelevision Movie
1993 Blind Side Doug KainesTelevision Movie
1993 Lifepod TermanTelevision Movie; also Director
1995 A Woman of Independent Means ArthurTelevision Miniseries; 3 episodes
1995Almost Golden: The Jessica Savitch StoryRon KershawTelevision Movie
1995 Kissinger and Nixon Henry A. Kissinger/NarratorTelevision Movie
Nominated - Gemini Award for Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Dramatic Program
1996Shadow Zone: The Undead ExpressValentineTelevision Movie
1996–1997 Chicago Hope Tommy Wilmette11 episodes; recurring role
1997 The Beneficiary Guy GirardTelevision Movie
1997 Skeletons Peter CraneTelevision Movie
1998 Rhapsody in Bloom Mitch BloomTelevision Movie
1998–1999 Veronica's Closet Alec Bilsonseries regular; 23 episodes (season 2)
1999 Love Is Strange Tom AinsworthTelevision Movie
1999 In the Company of Spies Tom LenahanTelevision Movie
1999 Heat Vision and Jack Ron SilverTelevision Short
2000 Ratz Herb SoricTelevision Movie
2000 Cutaway Lieutenant Brian MargateTelevision Movie
2000 American Tragedy Robert ShapiroTelevision Movie
2001 When Billie Beat Bobby Bobby RiggsTelevision Movie
2001 The Practice Attorney John MocklerEpisode: "Killing Time"
2001–2006 The West Wing Bruno Gianelli 19 episodes; recurring role
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
2002 Master Spy: The Robert Hanssen Story Mike FineTelevision Movie
2003–2004 Skin Larry Goldman6 episodes; recurring role
2004 Jack PaulTelevision Movie
Nominated - Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in a Children/Youth/Family Special
2004–2007 Law & Order Bernie Adler2 episodes
2006 Law & Order: Trial by Jury Bernie AlderEpisode: "Eros in the Upper Eighties"
2007 Crossing Jordan Shelly LevineEpisode: "Night of the Living Dead"
2008XenophobiaPresidentTelevision Movie

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