Song:Politics and Poker
Album:Fiorello! Original Broadway Cast
Character actor Howard Da Silva usually played tough guys in movies. But he had a long career in Broadway musicals and was Tony nominated for the 1959 musical Fiorello! He was born Howard Silverblatt May 4, 1909 in Cleveland. His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants. His father was a dress cutter. Da Silva worked as a steelworker before moving to New York. He debuted on Broadway in 1930. His first musical was The Cradle Will Rock in 1938. But his first significant musical was as Jud Fry in the original 1943 production of Oklahoma. Meanwhile, he started doing films like The Sea Wolf and Sergeant York in 1941. His most memorable film role was as the bartender in the 1945 film The Lost Weekend. Da Silva's career came to a screeching halt when he was the first actor blacklisted by the HUAC communist witch hunt. He returned to Broadway in the mid-50s and got his acting career back playing political strategist Ben Marino in the 1959 musical Fiorello!. This show starred Tom Bosley as New York City mayor Fiorello LaGuardia. It was the first successful show written by the team of Jerry Bock and Sheldon Hamrick. It won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony. The original cast album is available as a budget CD. Da Silva was nominated for a Tony but did not win. Politics and Poker is early in the show. Marino and his pals are deciding who to back for mayor. Da Silva even recorded an album based on Politics and Poker but it is not available on CD. The main thing was Da Silva got his career back and started appearing in films again. His most significant role late in his career was as Benjamin Franklin in the Broadway musical and film 1776. He played Nikita Kruschev in the 1974 TV movie The Missiles Of October, Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1977 film The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover and Louis B. Mayer in the 1981 film Mommie Dearest. That was his final film and Howard Da Silva died on Feb. 16, 1986 at age 76. Here's a video of Politics and Poker from the 1959 Broadway musical Fiorello!.