NEW YORK — Henry Silva, a prolific actor best known for playing villains and badass in ‘The Manchurian Candidate’, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ and other movies, has died at 95.
Silva’s son, Scott Silva, told Variety that his father died Wednesday of natural causes at the Motion Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif.
Silva was a New York native who dropped out of school as a teenager in the 1940s. He was accepted into the Actors Studio the following decade, where his classmates included Shelley Winters and Ben Gazzara. He went on to a long and busy career in film and television, earning hundreds of credits before retiring from acting in 2001.
He had breakthrough roles on stage and screen in the 1950s as a drug dealer in “A Hatful of Rain” and supporting roles in two of Frank Sinatra’s best-known films, both from the early 1950s. 1960s: “Ocean’s Eleven”, the Las Vegas heist. film that was a showcase for Sinatra, Dean Martin and other “Rat Pack” members; and “The Manchurian Candidate,” the Cold War thriller about the brainwashing and attempted assassination of a presidential candidate starring Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh. (In his last film appearance, Silva starred in the 2000 “Ocean’s Eleven” remake starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt).
“Our hearts are broken by the loss of our dear friend Henry Silva, one of the kindest, kindest and most talented men I have ever had the pleasure of calling my friend,” tweeted the daughter of Dean Martin, Deana Martin. “He was the last surviving star of the original Oceans 11 movie.”
Silva has also been seen in television series such as “Wagon Train” and “The FBI”, and in films such as “Dick Tracy” by Warren Beatty, “Cinderfella” by Jerry Lewis and “Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai”, in which he played a gangster in the 1999 release directed by one of his admirers, Jim Jarmusch.
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