In hundreds of movies, including “Ocean’s Eleven” and “The Manchurian Candidate,” actor Henry Silva was known for portraying gangsters, thugs, and henchmen. He passed away on Wednesday. He was 95.
Twenty years after ending a legendary career that lasted five decades, Silva passed away in Woodland Hills, California of natural causes, his son revealed to Variety on Friday.
The talented actor frequently appeared alongside Frank Sinatra; he portrayed a Communist agent who engaged in conflict with the singer in “Candidate” and one of the 11 criminals in the iconic 1960 casino robbery movie.
The daughter of Dean Martin, who co-starred with him in the renowned Rat Pack escapade, reportedly made the initial announcement of the Spanish Harlem native’s passing.
Deana Martin tweeted Friday afternoon, “Our hearts are broken at the loss of our beloved friend Henry Silva, one of the nicest, kindest, and most accomplished guys I’ve had the pleasure of calling my friend.
He was the final surviving member of the cast of the first Ocean’s 11 films. Henry, you are loved and will be missed.
Before playing the main roles in the Westerns “Johnny Cool” (1963) and “The Return of Mr. Moto” (1965), Silva began his career as a heavy in films like “The Tall T” and “The Law and Jake Wade.”
Silva made appearances in films including “Sharky’s Machine,” “Beyond the Law,” “Dick Tracy,” and “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai” later in his career. In the remake of “Ocean’s Eleven” from 2001, he made one final, fleeting cameo on screen.
Silva, who is of Italian and Puerto Rican descent, was frequently chosen to play characters of many racial backgrounds; some of his most well-known roles included Korean, Venezuelan, Native American, and Japanese men.
Silva reportedly quit school at the age of 13 and began taking theatre classes while working as a waiter and dishwasher to support himself. In 1955, out of 2,500 applicants, he was one of five pupils accepted into the Actors Studio, according to a report in Variety that cited the 2000 book
“Hispanics in Hollywood.” Silva reportedly revealed to Knight-Ridder journalist Diane Haithman in 1985 that his background in Manhattan contributed to his well-known tough-guy character.
“In Harlem, I saw a lot of stuff. That was the kind of area where you needed a group of people to accompany you if you wanted to travel more than a few blocks away from where you resided, he recalled, according to Variety.
“I believe that the fact that all of the heavy characters I play are leaders is the reason I haven’t vanished. I never play anything ambiguous. They’re interesting roles because you remember these kinds of individuals after you leave the theatre.
According to reports, the late actor’s two kids Michael and Scott are still alive. He was divorced three times.