Ron Silver, RIP

posted at 7:59 am on March 16, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

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.


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I am so sad to hear of this loss. He was not afraid to fight for what he believed in.

4shoes on March 16, 2009 at 8:07 AM

It is very sad. I loved him best for his appearances on The West Wing. Well, and that convention speech in 2004.

myrenovations on March 16, 2009 at 8:08 AM

Heartfelt prayers for Ron and his friends and family. I remember that he always seemed to play the villian in most of his movies—–and he was damn good at it.

Rovin on March 16, 2009 at 8:09 AM

Ron Silver, RIP

btw, the linked Blog Talk Radio goes on and on…gave up waiting for Ron’s interview.

maverick muse on March 16, 2009 at 8:11 AM

I remember listening to Rush Limbaugh,and its was during Bill Clinton’s inaugration,signing in ceremony,and the Un
ited States Airforce had a fly-by,and the microphones were still on,and Rush played the soundbite where as Ron Silva
remarked “What are they doing here’,and some Liberal remaked
“Their our planes now”,I always remembered that!

And,i think,if my facts are right,Ron Silva joined the
Republican Party a while back,and he also supported both
Iraq and Afghanistan theatres of operation!

Prayers to Ron Silver and family.

canopfor on March 16, 2009 at 8:12 AM

Ron’s interview comes up about halfway through. You can slide the bar around once the file completely buffers.

Ed Morrissey on March 16, 2009 at 8:14 AM

RIP, Ron.

JammieWearingFool on March 16, 2009 at 8:18 AM

I was shocked to hear of Ron’s passing. I can identify totally with Ron’s political journey from being a liberal to Republican. The precious few artists in the entertainment industry must be praised and encouraged to take the career risks Ron did by supporting Republicans in Hollywood.

RobCon on March 16, 2009 at 8:19 AM

I am so sad.

ctmom on March 16, 2009 at 8:25 AM

I am so sad to hear of this loss. He was not afraid to fight for what he believed in.

4shoes on March 16, 2009 at 8:07 AM

No, he wasn’t. He talked about how he was ostracized by others in show business, but he didn’t care. He felt he was right.

RIP, Ron.

ladyingray on March 16, 2009 at 8:25 AM

I saw video of him at the RNC a few months ago and could not believe he was the Ron Silver I came to know a few years ago. God bless him. He was only one of the very few in Hollywood to defend President Bush and the republican party. May he rest in peace. Prayers for Silver and his family.

jencab on March 16, 2009 at 8:30 AM

Silver had real courage in Hollywood as opposed to the false courage that people like Sean Penn claim to have.

Hilts on March 16, 2009 at 8:33 AM

As an unplugged (only had talk radio) until 2007, I was late to finding people and ideas sometimes. After getting Fahrenheit 9/11 from the library(to see Moore’s lies without enriching him) in 2006, I immedately had to rent and then buy FahrenHYPE 9/11 to get the bad taste out of my mouth. It was Dick Morris’s film, but it was narrated by and featured none other than our Ron Silver. I saw his deep conviction to our security and his love for America. His voice is another lion’s roar quieted. God bless.

thebrokenrattle on March 16, 2009 at 8:36 AM

Ron Silver will be missed…

Few realize that Silver was no vacuous “let’s play politics” kind of guy. He had smarts…graduated from SUNY-Buffalo, B.A. in Spanish and Chinese, obtained an M.A. in Chinese History from St. John’s University, and the College of Chinese Culture in Taiwan. He also attended Columbia University’s Graduate School of International Affairs. Compare that to the average political voice from Tinseltown.

His epiphany from September 10th America to September 11th America was striking. But, it wasn’t just a reflex. It had been brewing for a while, but 9-11 was the catalyst.

He reasoned, and used logic and reason to get his points across, an ability to be emulated.

Rest well, Mr. Silver.

coldwarrior on March 16, 2009 at 8:39 AM

Very sad.

One of the good guys. Prayers to you and your family.

tru2tx on March 16, 2009 at 8:56 AM

Whoever said “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged” probably never thought that Ron Silver would be proof-positive of that.

Rest in peace, dude. And thank you.

newton on March 16, 2009 at 8:56 AM

I loved Ron Silver as a truly great actor. He was one of those “Hey! It’s that guy!” actors – in all manner of movies/tv shows and always did a great job.
RIP.

mjk on March 16, 2009 at 9:05 AM

Tremedous actor, passionate human being. I loved his work.

Bless his family.

God bless him.

katy on March 16, 2009 at 9:14 AM

RIP My prayers to his family.

becki51758 on March 16, 2009 at 9:24 AM

Ron Silver went out with dignity, and on his own terms. A man can ask no more of himself than that. He didn’t have a ‘farewell tour’ or any of that ‘mining his condition for sympathy’ crap. He stood up for what he believed, but not in a dilettantish way; he actually had studied some things in his life, as opposed to politically active celebrity high school grads like Barbara Streisand or Sean Penn. He even suffered financially in ultra-liberal Hollywood for his pro-Bush support. That’s not just talking the talk, that’s walking the walk, speaking to truth to power, if you will, and being blacklisted for his troubles.

Can’t wait to see the Ron Silver career retrospective at next year’s Academy Awards. /heavy sarcasm

RickZ on March 16, 2009 at 9:33 AM

If Ron had been still been hard core left, Harry Smith and all the other morning show hosts would have tears in their eyes this morning.
The MSM is a joke, still !!

Hummer53 on March 16, 2009 at 9:34 AM

I was a fan of Ron Silver ever since he appeared in some Goldie Hawn/Burt Reynolds movie…I think it was called “Best Friends.”
Terrific actor, terrific man.
God bless him. He will be missed.

CarolynM on March 16, 2009 at 9:36 AM

I had no idea how ill he was. What a courageous man, not just to face cancer, but to have the courage to change his mind after 9/11 and stand by his convictions.

Tony Snow will have even better company.

the_souse on March 16, 2009 at 9:37 AM

But he made a breathtaking political transformation, going from far left to radical right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

This sort of nonsense always bothers me. Loving your country and recognizing that one party doesn’t seem capable of placing its best interests above the party’s we-are-the-world Utopianism does not make one part of the “radical right” (whatever that is supposed to entail). I loved Mr. Silver as an actor, and greatly appreciated his courageous stands for Israel and America, but he certainly didn’t change all his liberal views when he decided the GOP represented him more accurately in matters that were important to him. He was a solid American who loved his country, and with whom I disagreed on many issues. God grant him joyous peace.

DrMagnolias on March 16, 2009 at 9:42 AM

Prayers to all of Mr. Silver’s family, for now they will be watched over by him for the greatest vantage point, so heed any warnings he may have in the future.

His story is a prime example of the divide that separate libs from the rest of society. Libs do need a life changing occurrence before they start thinking right. Mr. Silver claims 9/11 was his. Mine was in Vietnam coming face-to-face with a 12 year old boy with an AK-47 who was going to kill me to protect his family and country, but he missed.

MSGTAS on March 16, 2009 at 9:45 AM

He was a really good guy, God rest you Mr. Silver.

Maxx on March 16, 2009 at 9:47 AM

Cancer takes down another one. RIP Ron Silver, a man of courage and conviction.

Why can’t we pour a couple hundred billion into research for finding a cancer cure? The cost of treating this relentless disease has a high price tag, often ending in a long drawn out death postponed only by chemo and/or radiation treatments. Both treatments amount to little more than poisoning the human body, with hopes of doing more harm to the cancer cells and less to our vital organs.

The treatment of cancer, and it’s victims, is an art not a science. So who benefits if there isn’t a cure? The medical profession, that’s who. Too bad we can’t have the AIG’s executives return their $65 million in bonuses and redirect those funds into cancer research, along with another $100 billion or so that has been spent on wasteful and unnecessary pork projects.

I’d like to see that “Yes We Can” mentality applied to finding a cancer cure.

fogw on March 16, 2009 at 9:55 AM

I read this on the New York Post last night:

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.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03152009/news/regionalnews/ron_silver_dies_159710.htm

Excuse me but, “radical right”??????????? Huh?

By DAVID K. LI

You suck Dave.

toliver on March 16, 2009 at 9:57 AM

Farewell, Mr. Silver. He will be missed, for his courage and eloquence, and of course as anyone who watched the 2003 baseball playoffs will remember, for the oh-so-overplayed line from the commericial for some show called Skin when Silver says “HIS FATHER’S THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY!!!!”

das411 on March 16, 2009 at 10:03 AM

God bless you, Ron.

We’re going to miss you.

AZCoyote on March 16, 2009 at 10:07 AM

Heck of an actor and an even better advocate for that in which he believed. The world is a lesser place without him.

trubble on March 16, 2009 at 10:15 AM

Great actor and good man…..Lord, watch for this fine man, he’s on his way….

norm1111 on March 16, 2009 at 10:46 AM

I had no idea he was sick. What a terrible loss. I had tremendous respect for the man, not because he supported Bush and his foreign policy. But because he held true to his beliefs and didn’t give in to pressure from the left-wing Hollywood crowd, even when his career suffered as a result. If only more in that community had the same kind of courage.

R.I.P. Ron Silver. You will be missed greatly.

Doughboy on March 16, 2009 at 10:50 AM

RIP Ron. You were a brilliant and courageous man. An actor who was not afraid to take on the Hollywood left at your own expense. You are an inspiration to us all. You’ll be truly missed. My prayers for your family.

Smooth Rooster on March 16, 2009 at 10:56 AM

A great man and a great actor. The conscience of Hollywood in the past decade. He will be missed. RIP.

Norwegian on March 16, 2009 at 11:10 AM

This actor is still one of the most original and courageous to ever come out of tinsel town. Good bye, Ron, my condolences to the family. We’re really going to miss him.

RepubChica on March 16, 2009 at 11:12 AM

RIP to a good man

Defector01 on March 16, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Prayers go out to his family and children.

moonsbreath on March 16, 2009 at 11:32 AM

I and a lot of people I know have grown up over the years and opened our eyes to other viewpoints and perspectives.

When it happens in Hollywood, though, it’s so rare it’s apparently a “breathtaking transformation.”

saint kansas on March 16, 2009 at 11:40 AM

I cant believe the interview was over a year ago already, I told Mrs. OP about it last night.

He was one of our best actors, whether it was a starring role or a character part. I remember him from the movie THE ENTITY with Barbara Hershey…over 30 years ago now.

originalpechanga on March 16, 2009 at 11:43 AM

Agree or disagree with him, he was a courageous and talented man.

aigle on March 16, 2009 at 12:02 PM

A great actor, and by all accounts a truely decent and passionate man.

Rest in peace, my prayers to your family.

DrAllecon on March 16, 2009 at 12:10 PM

he made a breathtaking political transformation, going from far left to radical right after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks

In the media “far left” is never “radical” is it?

Dollayo on March 16, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Go with god, Mr. Silver.

Claypigeon on March 16, 2009 at 12:43 PM

Rest in peace Ron, you will be missed.
Very sad, he was on Fox less then a month ago, not looking well at all.
My prayers go out to his family.

christene on March 16, 2009 at 1:32 PM

Silver had real courage in Hollywood as opposed to the false courage that people like Sean Penn claim to have.

Hilts on March 16, 2009 at 8:33 AM

Mega Dittos.

RIP Ron Silver RIP

Texyank on March 16, 2009 at 2:05 PM

If there’s a heaven, you’re already there, Ron.

jay12 on March 16, 2009 at 2:30 PM

I watched CNN early this AM and they mentioned he did some movies and, oh yea, he co-founded the Creative Coalition.
That was it.

silverfox on March 16, 2009 at 2:32 PM

Condolences to his family and friends, may he rest peacefully. Ron was a man of honor and integrity, as well as a wonderful actor. He will be missed.

KendraWilder on March 16, 2009 at 3:08 PM

“That’s our Conservative Angel now!”

Maquis on March 16, 2009 at 5:09 PM

…and he was an obama voter

sesquipedalian on March 16, 2009 at 5:59 PM

…and he was an obama voter

Argh.

Maquis on March 16, 2009 at 6:13 PM