Actor, director, producer, and political activist. Born Ronald Arthur Silver, the son of May Zimelman Silver, a teacher, and Irving Roy Silver, a clothing sales executive, he was raised in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, graduating from Stuyvesant High School. He then went to the State University of New York at Buffalo, where he graduated with a BA in Spanish and Chinese. He would later obtain a Master's Degree in Chinese History from St. John's University, and attend the College of Chinese Culture in Taiwan. Speaking fluent Chinese and Spanish, he would travel to more than 30 countries during his life. Silver began his acting career with a small role in "Tunnel Vision" (1976). For the next two years, he played the role of Gary Levy, Rhoda's downstairs neighbor, in the television sitcom, "Rhoda". For his role of sabotaged Hollywood producer Charlie Fox in the Broadway play "Speed the Plow" (1988) he won a Tony award. Other roles followed, but his lead role in "Enemies: A Love Story" (1989) got him noticed. He would portray defense attorney Alan Dershowitz in "Reversal of Fortune" (1990) about the Claus von Bulow trial, but it was his role of Presidential campaign advisor Bruno Gianelli on the television drama "The West Wing" for which he is best remembered by American audiences. In February 2008, he hosted "The Ron Silver Show" on Sirius Satellite Radio, a politics and current affairs talk show, in which he came into his own. Politically, he began as a liberal, and generally supported the Democratic Party, and remained a registered Democrat, even as some of his views became more conservative. In the 1990s, he was President of the Actors Equity (a labor union for actors), and in 1989, he was a founder of the Creative Coalition, along with noted liberal actors Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon, and Christopher Reeve, which strongly advocated First Amendment rights (freedom of speech) for the arts. In the late 1990s, New York Mayor Rudi Giuliani appointed him as the Chairman of the Millennium Committee, and they became lifelong friends. In 2000, he was a founder of "One Jerusalem," a group that organized to oppose the Oslo Peace Agreement, supporting the ideal of keeping Jerusalem as the undivided capital of Israel. After the 9-11 attacks he became a supporter of President George Bush on the issue of national defense and counter-terrorism, and in 2004, he spoke to the Republican National Convention. His liberal friends believed that he had betrayed his earlier liberal beliefs and become a "neo-con," which he disputed, but it did not change his beliefs in defending against the dangers of terrorism. He harbored both liberal beliefs, supporting the pro-environment, sensible gun control, and anti-nuclear issues, as well as conservative beliefs, supporting the Global War Against Terrorism, arguing that it was important to be thoughtful about all of the issues, and not to just blindly follow one extreme or the other. As a result, Silver was able to talk with all sorts of people from across the political spectrum. In October 2005, President Bush nominated him to be a member of the Board of Directors for the United States Institute of Peace. In 2007, Silver was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, which eventually killed him. He was married to his college sweetheart, who became a contributing editor of "Self" magazine, Lynn Miller, and they had two children: a son, Adam, and a daughter, Alexandra.
Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson
Devoted Father, Son, Brother