Henry Silva, who has been high on Hollywood’s casting directors’ calling lists for particularly menacing villains for decades, died Wednesday in Woodland Hills, Calif. he was 95 years old.
His son Scott Silva confirmed the death at the film and television country house and hospital.
Mr. Silva has appeared in more than 130 movies and TV shows, many of which he has grimaced as a thug, hitman, or other nefarious person. He was an assassin sent by a mob boss in his 1963 film Johnny Cool. He was a drug addict with a penchant for shooting people in his 1981 Burt Reynolds film Sharky’s His Machine. He was his corrupt CIA operative in the 1998 Steven Segal film Above the Row. He has even been denounced as a cartoon. He voiced the supervillain Bane in an animated television show involving both Batman and Superman.
Still, Silva was a full-fledged actor, trained at New York’s Actors Studio and starred in critically acclaimed films such as Broadway and The Manchurian Candidate (1962). He took pride in the fact that typecasting did not make him lazy.
“You see a lot of actors playing executive roles, and they always play the same executive roles,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 2000. . You don’t always go to the same place.
Henry Silva was born in Brooklyn on September 23, 1926 and was raised by his mother in Spanish Harlem after his father left when he was very young.
“It was that kind of place,” he said. told night rider In 1985, he said, “If you lived in one block and wanted to go a few blocks away, you had to bring two guys. So that’s the only way to say it.” You can’t say ‘I’ll beat you’.
“So you were always nervous and always off guard,” he continued. “You were never relaxed.” He said he often tapped into those memories when playing jerky, angry characters.
By the time he was eight, he decided he wanted to be an actor. He said Mickey Rooney’s Andy Hardy films were a kind of inspiration, with life in an idyllic small town so different from his own. At 13, he dropped out of school and got an odd job. Years later, he was occasionally complimented by real gangsters.
“They say, ‘Oh my god, where did you learn how to play with us? I grew up with ‘us’ in New York.’ I once knew guys who ran an entire area that was a prostitution ring. I polished their shoes. “
His mother wanted him to become a mailman, but instead he tried an acting career. played bit parts, including on Broadway in
In 1955, Mr. Silva was one of hundreds auditioning for the Actors Studio, then run by Lee Strasberg. He was one of five members selected. When the group staged ‘A Hatful of Rain’, he quickly became part of the cast. This is a play by Michael V. Gazzo (played by Ben Gazzara) about a morphine addict named Johnny Pope. The play ran on Broadway and was released in his November of that year with a cast also starring Shelly Winters and Anthony Franciosa.
Mr. Silva gained attention for his portrayal in the production of Yes, the Bad Guy, the drug trafficker known as Mother. He reprized the role in the 1957 film version.
“A Hatful of Rain” was Silva’s last Broadway appearance, but television and film offers were beginning to pile up. In the late 1950s, he starred in television with his series such as “Allegations” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”, as well as “Tall T” (1957) with Randolph Scott and “Law and Jake Wade” (1958). I appeared in the movie of Robert Taylor.
The role was big enough to attract the attention of particularly influential figures.
“One day many years ago,” he recalls in 2000. I stopped at a traffic light and heard someone say, ‘Henry, I like you in the movies. “
It was Frank Sinatra who invited Mr. Silva to visit him on the set of “Some Came Running.” When Mr. Silva showed up, Sinatra invited him to appear in a movie with him — the original “Ocean’s Eleven” (1960). Mr. Silva played one of the gang assembled by Danny Ocean (Sinatra) for an epic multi-casino heist scheme.41 years later, Mr. Silva played Steven Soderbergh’s “Ocean’s Eleven”. He scored his final film credits by appearing in a small part of the remake.
Mr. Silva became a secondary member of the Rat Pack, a circle of Sinatra peers that included Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., and Joey Bishop, and in 1962 starred in two more films with Sinatra. I performed. ” and “Manchurian Candidates”. Both displayed qualities that had served Mr. Silva for many years. At least by the standards of the time, he could pass as a variety of races and nationalities.
He described himself as of Italian (father) and Hispanic (mother) descent, but in “The Manchurian Candidate” Memorable karate battles Sinatra character. In “Sergeants 3” he was an American Indian, but not the last. He played many Indians. A 1965 episode of the TV series Daniel Boone. In the 1982 comedy Wrong Is Right, he was a Middle Eastern fanatic.
Some roles, however, reflected his real-life legacy. He played many Hispanic characters of different nationalities. In one of his few lead roles, “Johnny Cool” (where he played the title his character), he was Sicilian.
He also went to Italy for a while to make crime films in the 1970s when the genre was all the rage among Italian directors.
“I don’t care if they don’t pay me, because it made me so happy,” says Mike Malloy in his 2012 documentary Eurocrime! .
Silva’s marriage to Ruth Earle in 1966 ended in divorce in 1987. Cindy’s previous marriages to Conroy and Mary’s Rams also ended in divorce. Besides his son Scott, his survivor has another son, Michael.
Mr. Silva had described his ability to play sinister characters over the decades.
“The reason I’m not disappearing is because all the Heavy’s I play are leaders. is.”
Vimal Patel contributed to the report.