Actor Ron Silver dies of cancer at 62

ACTOR and political activist Ron Silver, who won a Tony Award as a take-no-prisoners Hollywood producer in David Mamet’s Speed-the-Plow, died on 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, 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.”

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: “He was an activist who became a great artist and his contributions will never be forgotten.”

His big-screen credits included Ali, Reversal of Fortune, Enemies: A Love Story, Silkwood and Semi-Tough.Silver and ex-wife Lynne Miller had a son, Adam, and daughter, Alexandra.

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