Actor. Born Howard Silverblatt, the son of Russian immigrants Benjamin and Bertha Silverblatt in Cleveland, Ohio. He attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh. He made his Broadway debut in a revival of ‘Romeo and Juliet' in 1930, and proceeded to an uncredited film bow in ‘Once in a Blue Moon' in 1935. He then bounced between roles in Hollywood and on Broadway where in 1943, he originated the role of Jud Fry in the first Broadway outing of Rodgers and Hammerstein's ‘Oklahoma!' In Hollywood he made a mark as a character actor in such films as ‘The Lost Weekend' in 1945, ‘They Live by Night' in 1948, and ‘The Great Gatsby' in 1949. Named by a so called friendly witness before the House of Un-American Activities Committee, Da Silva was called before the HUAC. When he refused to answer any questions he was blacklisted. Unable to find film work, Da Silva found employment on the stage. He appeared in four Broadway shows between 1950 and 1960, earning a Tony Award nomination for Best Featured Actor in a Musical for his role in ‘Fiorello.' Da Silva was nominated for the BAFTA Film Award for Best Foreign Actor for his performance as Dr. Swinford in ‘David and Lisa' in 1962, shortly after the blacklist was abandoned. Back on Broadway he won his signature role of Ben Franklin in the musical ‘1776.' Although he suffered a heart attack during the Broadway run of the show, he reprised his role in the 1972 film version. Between 1974 and 1977, he appeared regularly on the ‘CBS Radio Mystery Theater.' He earned an Emmy Award as Supporting Actor for ‘Verna: USO Girl' in 1977. Much of his later work consisted of guest spots on television series like ‘The Outer Limits,' ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,' ‘The Fugitive,' and ‘Mannix.' In 1981 he portrayed Louis B. Mayer in ‘Mommie Dearest' and his last role was in 1984's ‘Garbo Talks.' Da Silva died of lymphoma at the age of 76 at home in Ossining, New York.
Bio by: Iola