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Henry Silva (born September 15, 1928) is an American actor who has played a wide variety of movie roles.

Silva was born in Brooklynmarker, New Yorkmarker of Sicilian and Spanish descent. He grew up in Harlemmarker and quit school when he was 13 years old to attend drama classes, supporting himself as a dishwasher and waiter in a Manhattanmarker hotel.

By 1955, Silva felt ready to audition for the Actors Studiomarker. He was one of five students chosen out of more than 2,500 applicants. When the Studio staged Michael V. Gazzo's play, A Hatful of Rain as a classroom project, it proved so successful that it was presented in Broadwaymarker, with students Ben Gazzara, Shelley Winters, Harry Guardino, Tony Franciosa, and Silva in key roles. Silva also appeared in the play's film version.

In Hollywoodmarker, he played a succession of villains in films including The Tall T, The Bravados, Green Mansions, Johnny Cool, and the original The Manchurian Candidate, in which his character was Asian. He was one of the 11 casino robbers in the 1960 Rat Pack caper film Ocean's Eleven.

Silva had a comic role as one of the stepbrothers in the 1960 Jerry Lewis film Cinderfella, a parody of Cinderella with Lewis in the title role, and appeared in starring roles in several filmed episodes of The Outer Limits, a science-fiction anthology television series in the United States.

He sometimes played heavies on TV. For example, he played a hit man in "Better Bargain" on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Other TV roles included an episode of Rod Serling's Night Gallery and the episode The Enemies from season one of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea (as General Tau).

An Italian film producer made Silva an offer to star as a hero for a change and he moved his family overseas. Silva's turning-point picture was a spaghetti western, The Hills Run Red, which made him a hot box-office commodity in Spainmarker, Italymarker, Germanymarker, and Francemarker.

Returning to the United Statesmarker in the 1970s, he co-starred with Frank Sinatra in Contract on Cherry Street, then signed on as Buck Rogers' evil adversary Killer Kane. In the 1980s and 1990s, he appeared as a drug-addicted hitman in Burt Reynolds' Sharky's Machine, the villainous CIA agent Kurt Zagon in Steven Seagal's debut, Above the Law; as a sinister mob hitman in Dick Tracy; as the voice of the supervillain Bane in Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures; and as the sorrowful and doomed crime boss Ray Vargo in Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.


He is married and the father of two sons, Michael and Scott.


  1. DVD commentary for The Return of Mr. Moto, Mr. Moto Collection - Vol. 2, 20th Century Fox, 2007-02-13
  2. Note: Reliable sources state Silva is of Puerto Rican descent. But Silva states he is of Spanish-Sicilian heritage and specifically denies any Puerto Rican heritage in the DVD commentary for The Return of Mr. Moto.

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