Henry Silva was always so good at playing so bad, earning a spot in our memories for the intensity of his performances and that unusually cruel, menacingly handsome mug
The peripheral Rat Packer (Dean Martin's daughter remembered him on Twitter upon his death), who was so popular in Hollywood, died Wednesday in Woodland Hills, California, in assisted living just shy of 96, his son Scott Silva confirmed to The New York Times.
With over 125 credits, Silva was almost always a brute, a killer, a henchman, or — as was par for the course in the movies at the time — drafted to play "ethnic" roles, thanks to his Italian-Hispanic heritage. That meant he might play a Korean on one project and a Native American on the next.
He somehow made his dirty work glamorous, and once said he never went to the same "dark place" when toiling in typecast parts; a veteran of the Actors Studio and of Broadway, it was no wonder.
Among his appearances: A Hatful of Rain (1957), Ocean's Eleven (1960), Johnny Cool (1963), Sharky's Machine (1981), Above the Law (1998), and a career-finale cameo in the 2001 remake of Ocean's Eleven, providing a rare graceful exit for a working actor retiring in his seventies.
Silva was married and divorced three times. He is survived by his two sons.