Much has been made in the various obituaries over his post 9/11 political transformation from liberal activist to Iraq war cheerleader. Like Dennis Miller, he was a Democrat who remained social liberal, but became a national security hawk after the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks in 2001. Whether or not this change cost him jobs over the last eight years I cannot say (I'd argue that he simply fell out of favor, like so many 'oh that guy' actors who worked just enough to not worry about money). If his political beliefs did cost him work, I'd say it's our loss.
He was one of my favorite character actors, a man who excelled at playing ruthlessly intelligent men, who sounded correct even if their logic was faulty. He was, along with Oliver Platt, my favorite reoccurring guest star on The West Wing, the kind of actor who could make Aaron Sorkin's rat-tat-tat dialogue transcend poetry and become musical theater. He made schlock like Time Cop and Blue Steel feel like art, and he made a good genre film like The Arrival feel genuinely great. Speaking of which, Lionsgate is putting The Arrival on Blu Ray in a bare bones, but gorgeous looking disc on April 21st. I heartily recommend a rental for this forgotten gem.
For a deluge of famous entertainers and political activists (Alec Baldwin, Ben Stiller, Paul Begala, Franl Luntz, Laurence O'Donnell, Robert Greenwald) eulogizing one of their own, go to The Huffington Post and scroll down to the bottom. I can think of no better testament than posting this little ditty. It's the trailer and opening credits for an unaired pilot called Heat Vision And Jack. It stars Jack Black, Christine Taylor, and Owen Wilson as a talking motorcycle. It also features Ron Silver as murderous secret government operative Ron Silver.