Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Ron Silver - 1946-2009 (RIP)

Because of my heavy workload this week, I neglected to comment on the passing of actor/activist Ron Silver. He had been battling esophageal cancer for two years, and the disease had crippled his vocals before it claimed his life. I remember driving home several months ago and listening to him speak on the Larry King show on the radio. As I heard his once precise and articulate voice now sound raspy, hoarse, and fragile, I immediately knew he was sick.

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.

Scott Mendelson

1 comment:

USpace said...

God bless Ron Silver, he was a 'Liberal' who came to his senses about Jihadis and brutal Dictators. He knew they would destroy America, and Hollywood if they could. He realized that if America goes down the tubes, then the whole planet is doomed.

You were great Ron! Time Cop, Arrival, Wiseguy, and The West Wing among many were particularly good. Thank you for everything, especially your courage, RIP.
here's an absurd thought -
our God of the Universe
hates ALL Liberals

who admit their errors
and move Right on defense

absurd thought -
God of the Universe hates
the principles of FREEDOM

fascism comes from the Right
that is a lie of the Left

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says

because you hate dictators
and don't blame America
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