Henry Silva, classic 80s action movie villain, dies aged 95

Henry Silva, who delivered memorable turns during a 40+ year career as a distinct presence on the big screen, has died. He was 95.

A truly commanding and intimidating presence, Henry Silva’s extensive career cast him in numerous roles in action films, thrillers and exploitation films. An early trip in The tall T marked him as a face to look at – and be afraid of. A series of westerns and adventurers led to him being cast as one of them Danny Ocean’s 11. In a fitting close to his career, Henry Silva made a cameo in Steven Soderbergh’s remake.

Other key roles in Henry Silva’s career include those in The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Johnny Cool (1963), Buck Rogers in the 25th century (1979), Sharky’s machine (1981), and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (2000), which is easily one of his finest performances.

There was also the flurry of Italian crime films that gave him an expanded audience and made him a cult film favourite, with Il Boss and Escape from the Bronx have a strong following. He once noticed, “Funny thing… here they see me as a bad guy; in Europe they see me as a hero.” He also appeared Dick Tracyalthough we’re not sure he actually needed the makeup.

Henry Silva’s distinct cheekbones and slender nose not only made him look like a Guess Who? character, but helped him stand out in a large pool of character actors. He was more than just a “Hey, it’s that guy!” kind of guy. If you knew the face, you probably knew the name.

Henry Silva got his start at the famous Actors Studio before a brief stint on Broadway and on his way to Hollywood.

What was your favorite movie and show with Henry Silva? Pay tribute to the amazing actor in the comments below!

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