Mourning the Death of Ron Silver

I want to offer a post to mourn the death of actor Ron Silver.

Back in 1988, I was asked to join the advocacy group The Creative Coalition, a collection of entertainment industry activists who were committed to issues such as federal funding of the arts, reproductive rights, First Amendment issues, gun control and campaign finance reform, to name a few. The group had been formed by former HBO head Michael Fuchs, Blair Brown, Christopher Reeve, Susan Sarandon and Silver, who served as the group's first president.

On an Amtrak train trip to DC, Silver began to tutor me on the methods that he, and the group, believed were the more effective ways to lobby the Congress on behalf of the issues we were focused on. I learned a lot of what I know today from Ron. Study, learn your opponents' stances, have the cover ready for whatever fact, opinion or response they throw back at you. We had some real successes fighting on behalf of the National Endowment for the Arts back then. Some would say that the work of Ron Silver, along with Bob Lynch at Americans for the Arts and the coordinated efforts of numerous other arts groups from around the country, actually saved the NEA itself when it was in the real jeopardy during the Gingrich years.

Ron Silver was a great actor on stage, film and television. A Tony award winner for the original Broadway production of David Mamet's Speed the Plow, Silver' s intensity and intellectual forcefulness were on display in all of his roles.

In the wake of 9/11, Silver transformed himself from a liberal darling to a libertarian antagonist to many of his former political allies. He supported Giuliani for president and attended the Republican convention as an honored guest. Some shook their heads in wonder. Others knew that Ron's was a mind that was always seeking, no matter what the cost to his career or social status.

Rest in peace, Ron. A great actor, great thinker, great father and great friend.