Biography

Yale drama school graduate Eliot Silverstein briefly taught theater courses before launching a prolific career as a TV director. Silverstein's first "theatrical feature," Belle Sommers (1962), was in fact a TV pilot film starring Anne Francis. His actual big-screen directorial debut was The Happening (1967), a muddled caper film that did little to advance the art of the cinema, though it did serve to introduce Faye Dunaway. It was Silverstein's second feature, the rollicking comedy Western Cat Ballou (1965), which established the director as a bankable commodity. His subsequent films have not been as successful, with the conspicuous exception of A Man Called Horse. A tireless behind-the-scenes battler on behalf of the artistic integrity of himself and his fellow filmmakers, Eliot Silverstein helped establish a Directors' Guild ruling that protected directors against unsolicited "improvements" in the editing room, and in the 1980s spearheaded a movement opposing Ted Turner's computer colorizing of old Hollywood films. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi