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Actor Ron Silver, 62, dies of cancer

Award-winning actor and activist Ron Silver, who was Emmy-nominated for his role on the hit US television drama "The West Wing," died yesterday of cancer. He was 62.

"Ron Silver died peacefully in his sleep with his family around him early Sunday morning," said Robin Bronk, executive director of the Creative Coalition, which Silver helped found.

Bronk said Silver was with his family in New York City and he had been fighting esophageal cancer for two years.

Bronk called Silver not only a very talented actor, but a champion of free speech and artists rights.

New York-based Creative Coalition is an art-oriented political group founded in 1989 by Silver, Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon, among others.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, Silver, a longtime Democrat, became an outspoken supporter of Republican President George W. Bush.

Born in New York City, Silver began his career on stage in the 1970s and won Broadway's top honor, a Tony Award, for his work in David Mamet's "Speed the Plow."

He was well-known as a strong character actor and throughout his career performed numerous film and television roles, including a scheming strategist for a fictional US president on the award-winning hit "West Wing."


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