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Ron Silver Dead at 62

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Actor Ron Silver, 62, Dies

By Roger Friedman


I am terribly saddened to report that the great actor and political activist, Ron Silver, died this morning at his home in New York. Ron was 62 and had been bravely battling esophageal cancer for the last two years. He leaves two children, Adam and Alexandra, his parents and his two brothers, as well as countless friends and admirers.


About ten days ago I wrote in this space about Ron's great acting achievements. Of course, he first came to popularity acting with Valerie Harper and Julie Kavner in "Rhoda," as their menschy neighbor, Gary. But very quickly he took off in movies, with such milestones as his performance in "Enemies: A Love Story", his wonderful portrayal of lawyer Alan Dershowitz in "Reversal of Fortune", and so many other films including "Garbo Talks", "Blue Steel", and "Ali". He was nominated twice for Emmy awards.


Ron was also an accomplished theater actor. His credits included the original Broadway cast of "HurlyBurly" (1984) with William Hurt, Judith Ivey, and Harvey Keitel. In 1986 he co-starred on Broadway with Marlo Thomas in the comedy "Social Security". And in 1988 he, Joe Mantegna and Madonna were the original cast of David Mamet's "Speed the Plow." Ron won a Tony Award for his portrayal of Charlie Fox, the screenwriter with the idea who comes to Bobby Gould (Mantegna) for help. In all three plays, Ron secured his place as the "it" New York actor of his time, consummate, literate, dangerous and smart.The smart was a good thing and a bad thing. In 1989, Ron helped found the Creative Coalition with Alec Baldwin, Ron Silver, Christopher Reeve, Susan Sarandon, Blair Brown and Stephen Collins. It only takes a second to realize this was a group of liberal minded actors, and Ron was part of them. But soon his politics turned conservative. In short order Ron started endorsing candidates like New York Republicans Rudolph Giuiliani and Alfonse D'Amato. This caused no end of headaches, discussions, debates, and fights. But it also made for a lively time.



I didn't always agree with Ron politically, but it didn't matter. He was a great friend, a great family man. He loved his kids. Whether we ran into each other at events or planned on seeing each other, we always had a great time talking Hollywood or chewing over Washington. Last August, Ron insisted on covering the Democratic convention in Denver for Sirius Radio. He was very weak, but he did it with gusto, running around the city getting interviews for his show. He could not be stopped, even though his daughter, Alex, and I, as well as his Sirius assistant, could see the strain.


Last week when I checked in with him, Ron's voice sounded like a distant signal over a radio. Still, he was bouncy and ebullient. We talked about a lot of things including his radio show on Sirius, which was he was still doing once a week. He had an idea. "Why don't we a do a whole show with gossip columnists?" he asked. I said, we'll think about it. But he couldn't stop thinking. He had a million ideas for shows, and I think would have had dozens more great performances in him as an actor. I'm not the only friend who will say this in coming days, but he will truly, always, be sorely missed and greatly remembered.

Edited by archangel
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