Actor Ron Silver Dead At 62

Silver best known for roles in 'The West Wing,' 'Ali.'

From Muhammad Ali’s cornerman to lawyer Alan Dershowitz to his long career as a political activist, actor [movieperson id="98738"]Ron Silver[/movieperson] had many different faces.

The 62-year-old Tony Award-winning actor died on Sunday after a two-year battle with esophageal cancer, according to a Reuters report.

Over more than 30 years in Hollywood, the Manhattan-born actor became as well-known for his studied political activism and interest in world affairs as he was for his signature roles, such as that of legendary lawyer Alan Dershowitz in 1990′s “Reversal of Fortune” and Holocaust survivor Herman Broder in the Oscar-nominated 1989 film “Enemies: A Love Story.”

In 1989, Silver founded the New York-based Creative Coalition, a nonprofit that helped raise awareness on issues including public education, First Amendment rights and advocation of the arts.

Though he was a longtime supporter of liberal causes and was a booster of former President Bill Clinton, following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, he announced his support for George W. Bush and was a featured speaker at the 2004 Republican National Convention, switching his party affiliation from Democrat to Independent.

The character actor, who was fluent in Chinese, also served on the Council of Foreign Relations, was the president of Actors’ Equity and launched a public-interest talk show called “P.O.T.U.S.” on Sirius satellite radio last year.

He won a Tony Award in 1988 for his work in David Mamet’s Hollywood takedown “Speed-the-Plow,” but began his career with small parts in such 1970s TV shows as “Rhoda” and The Rockford Files,” graduating to supporting parts in films including “Silkwood,” “Oh, God! You Devil” and “Timecop.”

While continuing to act in films, including a well-received turn as cornerman Angelo Dundee in 2001′s “Ali,” Silver remained busy on the small screen as well, earning praise for his run as White House strategist Bruno Gianelli on “The West Wing,” and appearing on “Chicago Hope” and “Veronica’s Closet.”

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