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Ron Silver Biography 1946-2009

was known for his extraordinary stage presence and high-energy portrayals of a variety of offbeat characters in films and on television. A native New Yorker, Silver studied Chinese at State University of New York at Buffalo and drama at the Herbert Berghof Studio and the Actors Studio. After receiving his bachelor’s from S.U.N.Y., Silver earned a master’s degree in Chinese history at the College of Chinese Culture in Taiwan and then returned to New York to study at the aforementioned acting studios. 1976 was a big year for Silver who debuted as a comedian in feature films (Tunnelvision), television (The Mac Davis Show), and theater (El Grande de Coca-Cola). He was also a regular cast member between 1976 and 1978 on the sitcom Rhoda, and then appeared in several made-for-television movies before appearing in Semi-Tough  (1977). His feature film career picked up in the early ’80s, but he did not get his first big break until he starred opposite Anne Bancroft in Sidney Lumet’s Garbo Talks (1984). Silver earned critical acclaim in 1989 for starring in Philip Saville’s Fellow Traveler as a Hollywood screenwriter forced to flee his family and friends to avoid getting blacklisted during the early ’50s. That same year, Silver won a Tony and a Drama Desk Award for starring in David Mamet’s Speed-The-Plow and scored a second film coup in Paul Mazursky’s adaptation of author Isaac Bashevis Singer’s Enemies, A Love Story. In the years to follow,, the busy Silver, who juggled his time between the three entertainment forms, became a respected mid-range star who could be counted on to deliver consistently strong, fine performances. As the ’90s progressed, he moved into more lead roles playing everything from psychopaths (Blue Steel [1990]), senators (Time Cop [1994]), sleazy lawyers (in the TV medical drama Chicago Hope [1994- ]), and scientists (The Arrival [1996]). Silver died of esophageal cancer in 2009 at the age of 62.

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