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Henry Silva appears in this fragment of the poster for 'L'insolent', a 1973 film directed by Jean-Claude Roy.
Henry Silva appears in this fragment of the poster for 'L'insolent,' a 1973 film directed by Jean-Claude Roy.

Henry Silva, eternal Hollywood villain, has died

The actor's death happened on Sept. 14 in Los Angeles, the day before his 96th birthday. He was born in Brooklyn and his parents were Puerto Rican.

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Actor Henry Silva worked in film and television for more than half a century and participated in more than 130 films, in most cases playing villain roles. Among the first films in which he participated were A Hatful of Rain (1957), in which he played the same character on Broadway in 1955, and The Manchurian Candidate (1962), starring Frank Sinatra.

In those early years he worked on Viva Zapata! (1952) with Marlon Brando and Anthony Quinn. He was also part of the cast of The Bravados (1958), alongside actors such as Gregory Peck and Lee Van Cleef.

At the time, according to Argentina's Clarín, Silva acknowledged his admiration for Humphrey Bogart and John Garfield.

In a portrait of the deceased actor, the Argentinean media recalled that he grew up in Spanish Harlem, that his father left the family when he was only six months old and that his mother was illiterate. He left home when he was just a teenager and had to work in various trades to survive and be able to train in an acting school.

In an interview for Tribune, Silva confessed: "I spent six years knocking on doors and listening to 'No' before getting a job as an extra in a TV show for USD 5.″

In the 1960s, he participated in a role as a member of the mafia and grew in critical acclaim for his performance in the TV series The Untouchables. One of the few films he starred in was Jonny Coll (1963), alongside Elizabeth Montgomery, Richard Anderson and Jim Backus, Sammy Davis Jr., and Telly Savalas.

His last film was Ocean's Eleven in 2001, in which he worked with George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Matt Damon, among others. It was a remake of the 1960 film of the same name, in which Silva also starred alongside Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr.

Precisely, Deana Martin, daughter of Dean Martin, mourned Silva's death on her Twitter account: "Our hearts are broken by 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. He was the last surviving star of the original Oceans 11 Movie. We love you Henry, you will be missed."

He was married three times. First, to Mary Ramus and then to actresses Cindy Conroy and Ruth Earl. He had two sons: Michael and Scott Silva.

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