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Henry Silva Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (7) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 15 September 1928Brooklyn, New York, USA
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Henry Silva was born on September 15, 1928 in Brooklyn, New York City. He quit public school to attend drama classes at age 13, supporting himself as a dishwasher in a Manhattan hotel. By 1955, Silva had moved up from dishwasher to waiter, and felt ready to audition for the Actors Studio. He was one of five students chosen out of more than 2500 applicants. When the Actors Studio staged Michael V. Gazzo's play "A Hatful of Rain" as a classroom project, it proved so successful it came to Broadway--with students Ben Gazzara, Shelley Winters, Harry Guardino, Anthony Franciosa and, of course, Silva in key roles. Called to Hollywood, he played a succession of heavies in films, including The Bravados (1958), Green Mansions (1959), Ocean's 11 (1960), The Manchurian Candidate (1962) and Johnny Cool (1963).

An Italian producer made Henry an offer he could not refuse--to star as a hero for a change--and he moved his family overseas. Silva's turning-point picture was a spaghetti western, The Hills Run Red (1966), which made him a hot box office commodity in Spain, Italy, Germany and France. His popularity was enhanced by a gift for languages. He speaks Italian and Spanish fluently and has a flair for the kind of gritty, realistic roles that also catapulted Charles Bronson to European stardom. Returning to the United States, he co-starred with Frank Sinatra in the film Contract on Cherry Street (1977), then signed on as Buck Rogers' evil adversary Kane in Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979) and the television series of the same name. Silva now calls the San Fernando Valley home, but makes continual film forays back to Europe's production centers. A dedicated jogger, he puts in five miles a day "to keep in shape and relieve tension".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: A. Nonymous

Spouse (3)

Ruth Earl (September 1966 - 1987) (2 children)
Cindy Conroy (1959 - ?)
Mary Ramus (? - 1955) (divorced)

Trade Mark (1)

Frequently played villains, for example Sharky's Machine (1981), Code of Silence (1985), Above the Law (1988), Dick Tracy (1990).

Trivia (7)

Provides an audio commentary for the DVD version of The Return of Mr. Moto (1965) (part of the special features in Peter Lorre's Mr. Moto DVD collection). While making minimal comments about that movie itself, he does address the issue of his heritage. Wryly noting he had been assumed to be everything, including Russian, he specifically denied being of Puerto Rican heritage, which is the most commonly reported. He states that his mother was from Northern Spain and that his father was Italian. He was born in Brooklyn but left there when he was only five months old. His father left his mother when Silva was only three months old. Silva says that he was only eight years old when he decided to become an actor, although he didn't do anything about it until his teens. His inspiration was primarily his mother. Apparently, she was a storyteller and, upon returning from shopping, would fill their apartment with vivid characterizations of the grocer, baker etc. Silva concludes by noting that he thinks of his mother every day.
The 1930 census lists him (as "Harry") living with his divorced mother in Manhattan. This census entry gives both his parents' birthplaces as "Porto Rico".
Retired from acting in 2001 after 50 years in the motion picture industry.
Has two sons from his marriage to Ruth Earl: Michael and Scott.
Had played the same character (Bane) on three different series: Batman: The Animated Series (1992), Superman (1996) and The New Batman Adventures (1997).
Is of Sicilian and Spanish ancestry.
Speaks Italian and Spanish fluently.

Personal Quotes (2)

I got typecast as a heavy. There's no reason in the world for me to be a heavy, none. People love to put handles on you. They're not thinking about you, they're thinking about themselves. You have to be creative or else; if you're creative, then they'll go with you, but they want the easy way out.
I'm a very lucky guy in certain aspects. I've enjoyed my life. It's not the end of it -- I'm still enjoying it.

See also

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