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Ron Silver Dies In NYC At 62 Of Cancer

From the Associated Press:

Actor Ron Silver dies in NYC at age 62 of cancer

By David Germain, AP Movie Writer – Sun Mar 15

Actor Ron Silver, who won a Tony Award as a take-no-prisoners Hollywood producer in David Mamet’s "Speed-the-Plow" and did a political about-face from loyal Democrat to Republican activist after the Sept. 11 attacks, died Sunday at the age of 62.

"Ron Silver died peacefully in his sleep with his family around him early Sunday morning" in New York City, said Robin Bronk, executive director of the Creative Coalition, which Silver helped found. "He had been fighting esophageal cancer for two years."

Silver, an Emmy nominee for a recurring role as a slick strategist for liberal President Jed Bartlet on "The West Wing," had a long history of balancing acting with left-leaning social and political causes.

But after the 2001 terrorist attacks, longtime Democrat Silver turned heads in Hollywood with outspoken support of President George W. Bush over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Silver spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention, began referring to himself as a "9/11 Republican" and reregistered as an independent.

In an interview with The Associated Press a month later, Silver said his support for the war on terror was costing him work in liberal-minded Hollywood.

"It’s affected me very badly. I can’t point to a person or a job I’ve lost, but this community is not very pluralistic," Silver told the AP. "I haven’t worked for 10 months." …

Silver still found work despite his conservative shift, appearing in episodes of "Law & Order" and "Crossing Jordan" and such movies as "Find Me Guilty" and the Ten Commandments comedy "The Ten."

He continued his recurring role on "The West Wing," joking that he faced some taunting over his views from co-workers on the show which took place in a fiercely liberal White House administration.

"Often when I walked onto the set of ‘The West Wing’ some of my colleagues would greet me with a chanting of ‘Ron, Ron, the neo-con.’ It was all done in fun but it had an edge," Silver wrote in a Nov. 15, 2007, entry of his blog on the Pajamas Media Web site.

Silver’s on-screen work rankled liberals, too. He narrated 2004’s "Fahrenhype 9/11," a deconstruction of Michael Moore’s Bush-bashing hit documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11."

"Michael Moore and that faction of the party was one of the factors that did not let me support the Democratic nominee this year," Silver told the AP in 2004. "He is a charlatan in a clown suit."

I worked on a couple of different film projects with Mr. Silver more than 25 years ago. He struck me then as a smart and engaging gentleman. So it was a little disheartening when he became known as a vociferous Democrat and Clinton supporter.

But then again it was wonderfully encouraging to hear his change of heart after the attacks on 9/11. And it was especially gratifying to be in the audience when Mr. Silver spoke so eloquently at the 2004 Republican convention.

Since then I have been lucky enough to be included in some dinners with Ron and some mutual friends a few times – most recently, just a couple of months ago. I got to see that I was not mistaken in my first impressions of him from years before.

Ron Silver was a widely read, well educated man. He had a true compassion for his fellow human beings.

And, not unlike another famous actor many years ago, he had the courage to sacrifice much of his career and some of his friends and family to follow his political convictions.

His death is a terrible loss for all of us.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, March 16th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “Ron Silver Dies In NYC At 62 Of Cancer”

  1. proreason says:

    “Defenseless under the night
    Our world in stupor lies;
    Yet, dotted everywhere,
    Ironic points of light
    Flash out wherever the Just
    Exchange their messages:

    May I, composed like them
    Of Eros and of dust,
    Beleaguered by the same
    Negation and despair,
    Show an affirming flame.”

    W. H. Auden

    from “September 1, 1939”

  2. jrmcdonald says:

    RIP man. I’ve enjoyed Ron Silver’s work over the years, and found his love of our country inspiring. Go with God.

  3. artboyusa says:

    Thank you, Ron.

  4. wardmama4 says:

    A man of his convictions – almost extinct in Hollywood today. RIP Mr. Silver

  5. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    Now that he has passed on, will the ranks of Hollywood offer kind, respectful remarks? Or will they utter spiteful, contemptible words to the man they viewed as a traitor to their warped beliefs? In that atmosphere it takes a lot of courage to do a 180 and vocally express that you’ve become a conservative. Anybody can jump on the liberal bandwagon. Rest in peace.

  6. catie says:

    I also enjoyed his work through the years, he was unbelievable in “Reversal of Fortune”. I remember reading where he had mentioned that he wasn’t getting invited to Hollywood parties anymore and that life was suddenly very interesting and enlightening to him. May he RIP.

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