Posted March 16, 2009 | 10:57 AM (EST) Ron Silver, Remembered - by Ben Stiller Ron Silver got me drunk when I was 12 years old.
My 16 year old sister and I were hanging at his West Hollywood pad with our parents, Jerry and Anne, and Ron's wife at the time, Lynn. Ron and my mom were both semi-regulars on the sitcom Rhoda. Ron played Gary Levy, Rhoda's swinging single neighbor, and my mom was Sally Gallagher, her swinging stewardess friend.
Ron knew we were bored and asked if I wanted a little vodka in my Coke. Amy had some too. She also had a huge crush on Ron... because he was cool. We had a great time. Nothing too crazy. I didn't end up an alky, and things worked out ok... and I always loved Ron for that. He treated us like people, even though we weren't yet.
Through the years I looked up to him as an actor, his cool Jewish intensity and humor were able to take him from sitcoms to action movie heavies.... and his intelligence and charisma from David Rabe to Aaron Sorkin dialog...and he was so good at all of it.
10 years ago two writers from Milwaukee named Rob Schrab and Dan Harmon wrote a TV pilot called Heat Vision and Jack. It was a Six Million Dollar Man/Knight Rider inspired series about an astronaut played by Jack Black who flew too close to the sun on a mission, so when it was daylight he was the smartest man in the world, and when the sun set he was normal again. Owen Wilson was the voice of his talking motorcycle.
And the villain of the piece was Ron Silver as himself -- Ron Silver the actor, bad guy from Time Cop, but that was just his cover -- in actuality he was the head of NASA, which in this reality was an evil organization trying to take over the world. Weirdly, it didn't get picked up. But Ron was genius in it, playing it as straight as could be. I hope some people YouTube it, because it showed what a great sense of humor he had. I never got caught up in his politics. I just always loved him as a person and a talent. I know he struggled over the last couple of years, and I can only believe he is in a better place now. He will truly be missed. Ben Stiller: Ron Silver, Remembered