Ron Silver

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  • Trivia

    • Ron joined the advisory committee to the Lewis Libby Legal Defense Trust in 2006.

    • Ron who was an outspoken Democrat for many years, became an outspoken supporter for President George W. Bush, naming the September 11, 2001 attacks and the Democrats' policies regarding terrorism as his reasons for becoming an independent.

    • Ron has taught high school and has done social work for the Department of Social Services.

    • In February 1998 Ron wrote an editorial titled Let Israel Defend Itself Against Saddam in which he supports Israel's right to defend itself if attacked by Iraq in relaliation for U.S. bombings.

    • Ron is a member of the Executive Committee of The Committee for a Secure Peace and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

    • Ron escaped the Vietnam War Draft on a student deferment.

    • Ron and his X-wfe were especially noted for their Passover Seders. Over the years the following performaers spent the Passover Seder at their home: Joe Mantegna, Jill Clayburgh, Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon, agent Sam Cohn and Madonna.

    • Ron studied politics and languages in the State University of New York in 1963. He graduated with a degree in Spanish and Chinese and went on to graduate studies in Spain and Taiwan.

    • Ron serves on the advisory board of The Israel Project which is a non-profit advocacy group.

    • Ron won Broadway's 1988 Tony Award for Best Actor (Play) for David Mamet's Speed the Plow.

    • Ron graduated from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

  • Quotes

    • Ron: The twentieth century has exhibited a barbarism and lack of respect for human life on a massive scale just about unknown before.

    • Ron: (on supporting President Bush) On many social issues, if this president wins, and I hope he does and I will try to help him, on November 3 I'll be on the other side of the barricades when it comes to stem cell research, gay rights and other social issues.

    • Ron: (on supporting President Bush) Twelve years ago I was here for the Democratic convention. I was on the platform committee. Zell Miller was the keynote speaker. A lot's changed since then, I can tell you. If you asked me on September 10, 2001, would I consider going to the Republican National Convention and speaking, I would have thought you were from another planet and didn't know who I was.

    • Rom: (when asked if he ever thought of running for a political office) And lose whatever influence I now have? Nobody would ever listen to me again.

    • Ron: (on founding the Creative Coalition) It came out of the [Michael] Dukakis campaign actually. There was a group of celebrities coming back from Queens after a Dukakis rally and on the bus we were talking Christine Lahti, Susan Sarandon and all sorts of other people. I was receiving literature from two groups on the West Coast the Hollywood Women's Political Committee and Show Coalition and I asked why there wasn't an industrywide network for political education in New York as well. There seemed to be a general frustration that celebrities are just used ornamentally, to raise funds and to put their names on invitations or attract crowds. We had a power whether we deserve to have that power or not was a very arguable proposition, but we did. So how could we use it responsibly? We just felt that adding our voices together and having an organization behind us would give us access to information and people and we could educate ourselves about the political process.

    • Ron: (when asked if his activism influences his choice of roles on stage) There are only so many good scripts and so many movies and there are so many people ahead of me that it's not a matter of my choosing. I wish it were. But it's not. It's interesting to me when a journalist asks an actor, "but why did you do that?" If you're Jack Nicholson or Tom Cruise, that question makes sense. But for 75% of the actors who are doing well, you kind of know why you did it because it was offered to you or it was the best thing available to you. I'm an actor by calling, and I'm an activist by inclination but I try not to confuse the two. Maybe if I had more integrity I would confuse the two more and integrate them more. I don't make judgments based on that.

    • Ron: (explaining why he likes Clinton and Giuliani) What I liked about Clinton is what I like about Rudy, strange as that may sound: their approach to crime and family responsibility. They're both very effective at countering arguments about ethnic balkanization and group identity politics being destructive of the unum in America, and too much emphasis on the pluribus perhaps, whatever.

    • Ron: (on politics) I'm not an expert in any field, I can't talk about foreign policy like anyone who's spent their life reading and learning foreign policy. But as a citizen in a democracy, it's very important that I participate in that. Nobody has a franchise on what is good. Isn't the rationale, fundamentally, for democracy, that we're going to get people of unequal abilities to ultimately make very important decisions? So what I decry is that the participation of these people is mocked. What do you want us to do? Have affairs? Become drug addicts? We have a certain visibility, and power in the society. We're a celebrity-ridden society. Why not use that to try to do a little good?

    • Ron :(when asked if actors need formal training) A qualified "yes", not because I'm ambivalent about the question or reluctant to give you an answer, but because I honestly believe, having done this now almost 20 years, that every individual has a different approach. I've seen people with a tremendous amount of educational background in the field not turn out to be terribly good actors, and I've seen people with no education in the field turn out to be people that I admire quite a bit. There doesn't seem to be any systematic pattern, and there's certainly no data indicating that people turn out to be better actors with or without it. I can only speak for myself. From my own experience, training was invaluable. I had not grown up in a family that exposed me to a great deal of theatrical entertainment, mostly musical theatre. I didn't see any straight plays, or legit, as we called it. I had no desire from an early age to be on the stage. I'm very fond of adapting a Congreve quote: "He kind of dwindled into marriage." I kind of dwindled into acting. It was a process that evolved over time, and I was coming from academia. It made perfect sense that if you wanted to learn about acting, you read books, you went to the theatre, you got involved with people in the process, and you went to class. It was natural for me to go.

    • Ron: By inclination I am more of a politician than I am an actor. I care more about public policy. I care more about pro-choice, the environment, homelessness, and nuclear issues than I do about any part.

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