Henry Silva, a character actor known for playing bad guys and gangsters in movies like “The Manchurian Candidate” and “Ocean’s 11,” has died.
Silva died Wednesday of natural causes at the Motion Picture Picture and Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California, his son Scott Silva confirmed to Variety. He was 95.
The stage and screen actor, whose career spanned 50 years and 140 TV and film credits, was also an honorary member of The Rat Pack. He starred alongside Frank Sinatra in both “Ocean’s 11” (1960) and “The Manchurian Candidate,” (1962) in which he played one of the 11 casino robbers in the classic caper film. Also in 1962, they both appeared in “Sergeants 3” and would go on to collaborate on the TV movie “Contract on Cherry Street” (1977) and “Cannonball Run II” (1984) with Dean Martin.
In the wake of the news, Martin’s daughter Deana Martin shared a tribute on Twitter.
“Our hearts are broken at the loss of our dear friend Henry Silva, one of the nicest, kindest and most talented men I’ve had the pleasure of calling my friend,” Martin wrote on Friday. “He was the last surviving star of the original ‘Oceans 11’ Movie. We love you Henry, you will be missed.”
Born in Brooklyn on Sept. 15, 1926, Silva trained at the Actors’ Studio before landing his first roles in the early 50s, including a small role in the Elia Kazan-Marlon Brando film “Viva Zapata!” (1952). He gained traction with parts in Western “The Tall T” (1956) “The Bravados” (1958) with Gregory Peck and Joan Collins, “The Law and Jake Wade,” (1958), “Ride a Crooked Tail” (1958), “Green Mansions” (1959) with Anthony Perkins and Audrey Hepburn, and “The Jayhawkers!” (1959).
Simultaneously, he acted in the Broadway production of “A Hatful of Rain,” in which he played a drug dealer named Mother. A year later, he reprised the role in the 1957 film of the same name, starring Don Murray and Eva Marie Saint.
The following decade, he played Roger Corneal in “Ocean’s 11” and the villainous Chunjin in “The Manchurian Candidate” before landing the titular roles in crime dramas “Johnny Cool” (1963) and “The Return of Mr. Moto” (1965).
The late ’60s saw Silva take on roles in a number of European films, starting with Carlo Lizzani’s “The Hills Run Red” (1966). Over the course of the next two decades, he acted in movies like “The Italian Connection” (1972), “Cry of a Prostitute” (1974), “Almost Human” (1974), “The Manhunt” (1975), “Poliziotti violenti” (1976), “Weapons of Death” (1977) and “Escape From the Bronx” (1983).
For his final film, Silva returned to the “Ocean’s 11” franchise, playing a boxing spectator in Steven Soderbergh’s 2001 reboot. He is survived by sons Michael and Scott.
“#HenrySilva was American movie villain royalty,” wrote writer-producer Jonathan Sothcott in a tweet. “Such a striking look, so much screen presence. RIP.”
See below for more tributes to Henry Silva.
#HenrySilva was American movie villain royalty from The Manchurian Candidate & the original Ocean’s Eleven to Dick Tracy & Code of Silence… and my personal favourite role as Zagon in Steven Seagal’s first film Above The Law. Such a striking look, so much screen presence. RIP pic.twitter.com/u694wdC5EM
— Jonathan Sothcott (@sothcott) September 16, 2022
I’m really going to miss Henry Silva. RIP to an all-time That Guy. https://t.co/tqkMRVjUsH
— Simon Abrams (@simonsaybrams) September 16, 2022
Years ago I was in the steam room at the Vegas Hilton when through the steam walked actor Henry Silva … he looked scary like he played in so many westerns and gangster movies! I nodded to him … he said nothing … just sat across from me looking menacing #RIPHenrySilva pic.twitter.com/wkB49A0iPj
— Joe Bonsall (@joebonsall) September 16, 2022
Henry Silva is so funny in ALLIGATOR. a great character actor. pic.twitter.com/R34AhyDQMf
Ms. Marya E. Gates @ #TIFF22
(@oldfilmsflicker) September 16, 2022