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Howard Da Silva

 

Real name: Silverblatt, Howard
Birthdate: 4 May 1909, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
Date of death: 16 February 1986, Ossing, New York, USA. (lymphoma)

Biography

Howard da Silva was one of over 324 actors, writers and directors who fell victim to the Hollywood blacklisting of the early 1950's, and had his career effectively ruined. He originally was a steelworker before making his debut, at the age of 20 in New York, on stage, and made a name for himself on Broadway before going to Hollywood, but kept up his stage work after making the move to films. His most memorable performance came in the 1943 Broadway production of Oklahoma!. In Hollywood he became a well liked character actor appearing in many films, 'Sgt. York'(1941), 'The Big Shot'(1942), and 'Lost Weekend'(1945). In 1947 his career became threatened when the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) began its investigation into possible Communist control of Hollywood. Actor Robert Taylor called as a 'friendly witness' implicated many of his fellow actors and writers as either being Communists or having Communist sympathies. When questioned about Howard da Silva, Taylor said "I can name a few who seem to sort of disrupt things once in a while. Whether or not they are Communists I don't know. One chap we have currently, I think is Howard da Silva. He always seems to have something to say at the wrong time." On November 25th, 1947 a meeting of Hollywood executives held in New York released a statement, 'The Waldorf Statement', that announced they were imposing a blacklist aimed at anyone named or suspected as a Communist. "We will forthwith discharge or suspend without compensation those in our employ and we will not re-employ any of the 10 until such time as he is acquitted or has purged himself of contempt and declares under oath that he is not a Communist." Howard appeared in a few more films, before he was called before HUAC and there refused to answer any of the Committees' questions, and was blacklisted by the studios. He kept working in the theatre, and once the blacklist was lifted in the early 1960's made a minor return to film and television, and passed away two years after making his last movie.
Author: Keith Burnage

Filmography

1776 (1972) [Dr. Benjamin Franklin (PA)] <2>
Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940) [Jack Armstrong] <8>
At the Stroke of Twelve (1941) [Gangster] <4>
Bad Men of Missouri (1941) (as Howard da Silva) [Greg Bilson] <8>
Big Shot, The (1942) [Sandor] <9>
Blaze of Noon (1947) [Mike Gafferty] <6>
Blue Dahlia, The (1946) [Eddie Harwood] <4>
Blues in the Night (1941) [Sam Paryas] <12>
Border Incident (1949) [Owen Parkson] <3>
Bullet Scars (1942) [Frank Dillon] <3>
Cafeteria, The (1984) (TV)David and Lisa (1962) [Dr. Swinford] <3>
Dog in the Orchard, The (1940) <1>
Duffy's Tavern (1945) [Heavy]
Five Were Chosen (1942) <2>
Fourteen Hours (1951) [Deputy Chief Moskar] <7>
Garbo Talks (1984) [Angelo Dokakis] <6>
Golden Boy (1939) (uncredited) [Man in audience with Siggie]
Great Gatsby, The (1949) [Wilson] <6>
Great Gatsby, The (1974) [Meyer Wolfsheim] <8>
Greatest Man in World, The (1980) (TV)Hamlet (1964/IV) [Claudius]
Hollywood on Trial (1976) [Himself]
I'm a Stranger Here Myself (1974) (voice) [Narrator]
I'm Still Alive (1940) [Red Garvey]
Juke Girl (1942) [Cully] <8>
Keeper of the Flame (1942) [Jason Richards, Forrest's Gatekeeper] <12>
Lost Weekend, The (1945) [Nat the Bartender] <4>
M (1951) [Carney] <2>
Masquerade (1983) (TV) [General Breznin]
Missiles of October, The (1974) (TV) [Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev] <3>
Mommie Dearest (1981) [Louis B. Mayer] <4>
Native Land (1942) [Jim, informant] <12>
Navy Blues (1941) (uncredited) [Last Shore Patrolman]
Nevada Smith (1966) [Warden of Work Camp] <9>
Nine Lives Are Not Enough (1941) [J.B. Murray, City Editor] <4>
Omaha Trail, The (1942) [Ben Santley] <7>
Once in a Blue Moon (1935) (uncredited)Outrage, The (1964) [Prospector] <6>
Power (1980) (TV) [Eisenstadt]
Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover, The (1977) [Franklin D. Roosevelt] <12>
Reunion in France (1942) [Anton Stregel, Gestapo Agent] <11>
Sea Wolf, The (1941) [Harrison] <10>
Sergeant York (1941) [Lem] <12>
Smile, Jenny, You're Dead (1974) (TV) [Lieutenant Humphrey Kenner] <5>
Steel Against the Sky (1941) [Bugs] <7>
Strange Alibi (1941) [Monson] <9>
They Live by Night (1949) [Chicamaw Mobley] <3>
Three Husbands (1950) [Dan McCabe] <4>
Tonight We Raid Calais (1943) [Sergeant Block] <6>
Tripoli (1950) [Captain Demetrios] <3>
Two Years Before the Mast (1946) [Capt. Francis A. Thompson] <5>
Unconquered (1947) [Martin Garth] <3>
Underworld Story, The (1950) [Carl Durham] <4>
Variety Girl (1947) [Himself] <34>
Verna: USO Girl (1978) (TV) [Eddie] <2>
Wild Bill Hickok Rides (1941) [Ringo, the Prosecutor] <7>
Wyoming Mail (1950) [Jeff Cavanaugh] <3>
"For the People" (1965) [Anthony Celese] <2>

Guest apperance(s)

  • '"Archie Bunker's Place" (1979)' , as Abe Rabinowitz (episode 4.7 'Promotion, The (1/9/1983)')
  • '"Harry O" (1974)' , as Lt. Kenney (episode 0.2 'Smile, Jenny, You're Dead (2/3/1974)')
  • '"Kung Fu" (1972)' , as Otto Schultz (episode 2.10 'Hoots, The (12/13/1973)')
  • '"Fugitive, The" (1963)' , as Pete Dawes (episode 4.2 'Death is the Door Prize (9/20/1966)')
  • '"Loner, The" (1965)' , as [unknown] (episode 1.26 'To Hang a Dead Man (3/12/1966)')
  • '"Man from U.N.C.L.E., The" (1964)' , as Capt. Basil Calhoun (episode 2.22 'Foreign Legion Affair, The (2/18/1966)')
  • '"Outer Limits, The" (1963)' , as Thurman Cutler (episode 2.8 'I, Robot (11/14/1964)')
  • '"Nurses, The" (1962)' , as [unknown] (episode 2.11 'Disaster Call (12/5/1963)')
  • '"Defenders, The" (1961)' , as [unknown] (episode 3.4 'Bagman, The (10/19/1963)')
  • '"Silver Theater, The" (1949)' , as [unknown] (episode 1.39 'My Heart's in the Highlands (6/26/1950)')

    Trivia

  • Fingered by Robert Taylor before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and blacklisted from Hollywood for more than a decade during the 1950's and early 1960's.
  • Did voice over links for serial episodes of the British cult Science Fiction series "Dr. Who" which were edited for American television (circa 1973).
  • Played Jud Fry in the original 1943 stage production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's "Oklahoma!"
  • Was the star of the historIC Unit 891 production of Marc Blitztien's, "The Cradle Will Rock".

    Other work(s)

  • 4th Scholar in "Faust"
  • Ben in "Fiorillo"
  • Duke Senior in "As You Like It"
  • Franklin in "1776"
  • Jud in "Oklahoma"
  • Larry Foreman in "The Cradle Willl Rock"