Monday, March 16, 2009
The man in the arena: Actor Ron Silver was so much more than his scatter-brained profession
In one of his greatest speeches, President Teddy Roosevelt extolled the courage and virtue of the man who ventured into the arena of public life and took a stand on right and wrong.
And so it is with great regret to learn that actor Ron Silver passed away from cancer at the age of 62. He was such a man as Roosevelt invoked, on matters traditionally associated with the left and the right.
Silver was liberal on social policy and headed the actors' union throughout the 1990s. But he was a hawk on defense and supported Reagan on Star Wars and GW Bush on the all out fight on terrorism. He spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention and did a fine job.
Silver was most consistent in a way that most people might consider inconsistent. But he took his position based not on ideology or party but what was right. He was most unlike Hollywood, that made pronouncements on the rest of us and society from high atop their canyoned-mansions.
He did not lobby for the closing of Guantanamo like many of his fellow actors, then back away when the question came as to where in the U.S. these people would be re-located. A canyon near Hollywood sounds like a very secure place to me.
Ron Silver was often brutally honest. For that and more, the arena will dearly miss him.