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.
“Under the unwavering leadership of President Bush, the cause of freedom and democracy is being advanced by the courageous men and women serving in our armed services,” Silver said at the Republican convention. “The president is doing exactly the right thing. That is why we need this president at this time.”
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.”
His switch to a more conservative image threatened to overshadow an esteemed career on stage, television and film, along with his long history of activism, which included co-founding the nonpartisan Creative Coalition, an advocacy group for entertainers.
“He was a talented actor, a scholar and a great believer in participatory democracy,” Bronk said Sunday evening. “He was an activist who became a great artist and his contributions will never be forgotten.”
Ron Silver was one of those Hollywood rarities who finally grew up (albeit after 9/11) and realized that America was not the ogre that the Left had portrayed, that we are just about the only country to stand up against Islamofascism while the rest of the world acquiesces, and that this country, in spite of its nihilist detractors, is the greatest.
Rest in peace, Ron. We’ll miss you.