Stephen M. Silverman, Biographer of Stage and Screen, Is Dead at 71

Steven M. Silverman, longtime entertainment reporter, biographer of notorious taciturn British filmmaker David Lean, and acclaimed author and forthcoming book about Broadway giant Stephen Sondheim He died in Manhattan on July 6th. he was 71 years old.

According to executor Diane Reed, the death at the hospital was due to kidney disease.

Silverman was once asked what he thought were the most common misconceptions about his beats. “It’s fluff” he told the website Muck Rack.

As a journalist, he wrote for the New York Post from 1977 to 1988 on Broadway and Hollywood. He joined People magazine in 1995, initially as the founder of the People He Daily (now people.com) website and serving as its news editor. 20 years.he also explained Activity on celebrity sites — Mickey Rourke was arrested, Betty White hosted Halle Berry’s postpartum workout “Saturday Night Live” — and wrote many star obituaries.

He produced intimate films such as A Fleeting Encounter (1945) and Great Expectations (1946), as well as films such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965). He worshiped Mr. Lean, a meticulous film director who was known for directing large-scale productions. In fact, Mr. Silverman had a large Lawrence poster on the wall of his Manhattan apartment.

He spent time with the director in London and interviewed him several times in the 1980s for David Lean (1989), a book with a foreword by Katharine Hepburn.

“I think we caught him at just the right time,” he told United Press International, explaining why the publicity-shy Mr. Lean agreed to talk to him. Stars in his films, including Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness and Julie Christie, also spoke with Mr. Silberman.

“They all admire him very much,” he said, “but Omar Sharif, like several others, said, ‘I can’t believe David allowed the book to be published.’ He has been approached, mostly by British journalists, for 20 years and has said no. ”

Film critic Jay Kerr wrote in The Boston Globe of David Lean, writing that Mr. Silberman “is the first, perhaps the first, talkative and candid examination of Lean and his films.” It’s a lot of fun, apart from the fact that it’s about.” Finally, in order to have the notoriously taciturn Leanne speak for the record, behind-the-camera footage that forms part of Silberman’s intense coverage and interviews is easily incorporated. ”

Silverman had also written a biography of movie mogul Darryl Zanuck, and in the 1990s published several books about Los Angeles movie theaters, female comedians and Hollywood musical master Stanley Donen. continued. Others include “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” (1954) and “Funny Face” (1957).

In Silberman’s approved directorial biography, Dancing on the Ceiling: Stanley Donen and His Films (1996), Donen assumed the director’s chair with On the Town (1949). I was criticizing Gene Kelly who shared. ) and Singing in the Rain (1952)—in which Mr. Kelly also starred—Mr. Kelly said both collaborations were more than deserved recognition.

“If you replace ‘co-director’ with the word ‘fight’, you’re right,” Donen said in the book. “It wasn’t always like that with Gene, but it gradually became that way and eventually it became impossible.”

Stephen Meredith Silberman was born on November 22, 1951 in West Covina, California. His father Raymond ran a grocery store and later a liquor store. His mother, Shirley (Garfein) Silberman, was a homemaker.

Stephen edited the high school newspaper and graduated in 1969. Four years later, he received his bachelor’s degree in history from the University of California, Irvine, and in 1975 he received his master’s degree from the School of Journalism at Columbia.

In the 1980s, Mr. Silverman attempted to create a musical based on the slapstick comedy “Amos and Andy,” about two black characters, but the work began on the radio and sparked a CBS protest in 1966. Midway through his career, he moved to television before withdrawing from the syndicate. Civil rights groups considered it humiliating. Silberman’s hopes were dashed in 1987 when a federal judge ruled against the show’s use of character names and other trademarked material in a lawsuit filed against CBS.

Some of Mr. Silberman’s books have deviated from his entertainment expertise. In 2015, he and film producer Rafael D. Silver published The Catskill Mountains: Its History and How It Changed America. Silverman also authored Amusement Parks: 900 Years of Thrills and Spills and the Dreamers and Plotters Who Built Them (2019).

when was interviewed Speaking to “CBS This Morning” at Coney Island’s Luna Park, he explained the allure of typical amusement park rides: ”

He had no immediate survivors left.

After Sondheim’s death in late 2021, Silberman will publish a book about Sondheim, a mix of biography, analysis and opinion, from publisher Black Dog & Leventhal, part of the Hachette Book Group. was asked to write.with title “Sondheim: His Life, His Show, His Legacy” The book will be published in September.

“He took seriously everything written about Sondheim, written by Sondheim, and written by his friends, and discussed it with his friends and colleagues.” ) Black Dog editor Joe Davidson said in a phone interview. .

In the book, Mr. Silberman describes the conflict between Mr. Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein during composition. “West Side Story,” It opened on Broadway in 1957. Mr. Sondheim, 27, wrote the lyrics. Bernstein, then 39, wrote the music.

“What Sondheim didn’t appreciate was Bernstein’s belief in himself as a lyricist,” writes Silberman. “He was sketching ‘not poetry, but something like purple prose. It exclaimed, ‘Look, I’m poetic! ‘” said Sondheim. ”

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