Film actor Ron Silver, best known for his excellent portrayal of Alan Dershowitz in Reversal of Fortune, died this weekend after a long bout of esophageal cancer. Silver spent the last few years arguing for a focus on national security and campaigning for GOP candidates after 9/11 changed his perspective on politics. He also became a blogger for a while at Pajamas Media:

Silver might be best known for playing legal scholar Alan Dershowitz in “Reversal of Fortune,” about the successful appeal of Claus von Bulow’s conviction for putting his socialite wife into a permanent coma.

Once a self-identified lifelong Democrat, Silver was a founding member of the liberal-leaning Creative Coalition in 1989. But he made a breathtaking political transformation, going from far left to radical right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York, enthusiastically backing a second term for President Bush.

“Twelve years ago I was here for the Democratic convention. I was on the platform committee. Zell Miller was the keynote speaker. A lot’s changed since then, I can tell you,” a chuckling Silver told The Washington Post.

I had the good fortune to interview Ron in December 2007 with Duane Patterson, when he was campaigning for Rudy Giuliani. It took me a while to dig this out of the Blog Talk Radio archives, but it’s certainly worth a listen now. I knew Silver was ill when we did the interview, and even so he gave us quite a bit of time. I was very impressed with Silver’s grasp of history and politics; he was no dabbler, but as committed to that work as he was to his acting.

Silver’s death was not a surprise, but it was a loss in more than one way. Our brief chat showed his intelligence, grace, and passion, and all of those will be missed.

Don’t miss Roger Simon’s remembrance of his good friend.

Update: Turned autostart off; it defaulted to on, and I’d forgotten about that. Wait for the show to buffer all the way, and then slide the bar to about the halfway point to hear Ron’s interview.

Also, during the interview, Silver talks about his 2005 documentary on the United Nations, Broken Promises: The United Nations at 60, which is available from Amazon. It’s well worth buying.