Howard Da Silva

Howard Da Silva (May 4, 1909 – February 16, 1986) was an American actor. He was born Howard Silverblatt in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Bertha (née Sen) and Benjamin Silverblatt, a dress cutter. His parents were both Yiddish speaking Jews born in Russia. He had a job as a steelworker before beginning his acting career on the stage. He changed his surname to the Portuguese Da Silva, despite not having any relationship with Portugal or Brazil (the name is sometimes misspelled Howard De Silva). Da Silva appeared in a number of Broadway musicals, including the role of "Larry Foreman" in the legendary first production of Marc Blitzstein's musical, The Cradle Will Rock (1937). Later, he costarred in the original 1943 stage production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!, playing the role of the psychopathic "Jud Fry". He was the easygoing Ben who opposed Tammany Hall in the Pulitzer winning musical Fiorello!. In 1969, he originated the role of Benjamin Franklin in the musical 1776 and played him in the 1972 film version as well. During the show's run on Broadway, he suffered a minor heart attack, and was unable to appear on the cast recording.


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