Joel Silver

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Joel Silver
Silver at the Tribeca Film Festival in May 2008
Born (1952-07-14) July 14, 1952 (age 71)
OccupationFilm producer
Years active1976–present
SpouseKaryn Fields (1999–2020; divorced)

Joel Silver (born July 14, 1952) is an American film producer.

Life and career[edit]

Silver was born and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, the son of a writer and a public relations executive.[1] His family is Jewish.[2] He attended Columbia High School in Maplewood, New Jersey. During his time there, Silver, Buzzy Hellring, and Jonny Hines created the rules for what he called "Ultimate Frisbee". He was later inducted into the USA Ultimate Hall of Fame as a result of this.[3] He finished his undergraduate studies at the New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

Silver began his career at Lawrence Gordon Productions, where he eventually became president of motion pictures for the company. He earned his first screen credit as the associate producer on The Warriors and, with Gordon, produced 48 Hrs., Streets of Fire, and Brewster's Millions. In 1985, he formed Silver Pictures and produced successful action films such as Commando (1985), the Lethal Weapon franchise, the first two films of the Die Hard series, as well as the first two films of the Predator series and The Matrix franchise of action films.

Silver appears on-screen at the beginning of Who Framed Roger Rabbit as Raoul J. Raoul, the director of the animated short Something's Cookin. Raoul loses his temper at toon Roger Rabbit for seeing tweety birds when a refrigerator crashes on his head, and not stars as the script specified. This was a prank Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis pulled on then-Disney CEO, Michael Eisner, as Eisner and Silver had despised each other since their days at Paramount Pictures in the early 1980s, especially with the issues they faced making 48 Hrs. Silver trimmed his beard off, paid his expenses, and asked to not have his name in initial cast lists. Reportedly, when production wrapped, because Silver was unrecognizable, Eisner questioned who played Raoul and was told it was Silver, at which point, Eisner shrugged and praised his performance.

Silver directed "Split Personality", (1992), an episode of the HBO horror anthology Tales from the Crypt. He has run two production companies, Silver Pictures, and Dark Castle Entertainment, co-owned by Robert Zemeckis.

Silver is also known for his eccentric temper, inspiring characters based on him in movies such as Grand Canyon, True Romance and I'll Do Anything.[4] The character of Les Grossman (played by Tom Cruise) in the movie Tropic Thunder, is a parody of Silver.[5] Actor Rick Moranis parodied Silver on SCTV in the skit The Larry Siegel Talk Show.[6]

He also voiced "the police chief" in the 2001 film Osmosis Jones in an uncredited role.[7]

On June 24, 2019, Silver Pictures CEO Hal Sadoff announced that Silver had resigned from the company.[8] Two days later, The Hollywood Reporter cited unnamed sources claiming that Joel Silver's overspending, dearth of recent box-office hits, and an animosity between Silver and financier Daryl Katz led to Silver's departure.[9] No official reason has yet been given by the Katz Group, Silver Pictures, or Joel Silver himself.[10][9]

On November 30, 2023, Silver was fired as a producer of Play Dirty by Amazon Studios.[11][12]

Frank Lloyd Wright houses and automobiles[edit]

Silver is well known as an aficionado of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1984, he bought the Wright-designed Storer House in Hollywood and made considerable investments to restore it to its original condition. The Storer House's squarish relief ornament then became the company logo of Silver Pictures. Silver sold it in 2002 for $2.9 million. In 1986, he purchased the long-neglected C. Leigh Stevens Auldbrass Plantation in Yemassee, South Carolina, and has been restoring it since then. Both restorations have been managed and supervised by the architect Eric Lloyd Wright (grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright).

Silver has also owned and restored two Lincoln Continental automobiles previously owned by Wright, one a 1940 convertible and the other a 1941 coupe. After the 1940 car was damaged, Wright had a body shop rebuild the car based on his custom redesign. For a time both cars were displayed in the Storer House.[13][14]

Carmel Musgrove incident[edit]

On August 19, 2015, Silver's 28-year-old assistant Carmel Musgrove drowned in a lagoon while working on vacation with Silver and his family in Bora Bora. Later, in August 2017, Musgrove's family sued Silver and his assistant Martin Herold, arguing the latter had provided her with cocaine, which, along with alcohol consumption and exhaustion from work, they alleged had contributed to her death.[15][16] Silver was exonerated in February 2021 by a Los Angeles judge.[17]




Executive producer[edit]


TV series

TV movies

  • Parker Kane (1990)
  • W.E.I.R.D. World (1995)
  • Jane Doe (2001)
  • Newton (2003)
  • Future Tense (2003)
  • Bet Your Life (2004)
  • Prodigy (2004)
  • The Odds (2010)
  • Hail Mary (2011)

Acting roles[edit]


Year Title Role Notes
1988 Who Framed Roger Rabbit Raoul J. Raoul
2001 Osmosis Jones Police Chief Uncredited voice role


Year Title Role Episode
1991 Tales from the Crypt Crypt Keeper's Chainsaw Victim (Uncredited) "Split Second"
2007 Entourage Himself "Less Than 30"

Other credits[edit]


Year Title Role
1978 The End Assistant to producer
Hooper Assistant to executive producer
1979 The Warriors Associate producer
1981 The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper Creative consultant


Year Title Credit Notes
1976 The Bette Midler Show Assistant to the producer TV special
1983 The Renegades Production executive
1992 Tales from the Crypt Director Episode "Split Personality"
1999 Tales from the Cryptkeeper Special thanks


  1. ^ "Joel Silver Biography (1952–)".
  2. ^ James, Clive (2009). The Blaze of Obscurity. Pan Macmillan Publishers Ltd. ISBN 9780330515252.
  3. ^ "Founders (Class of 2005)". USA Ultimate. Retrieved July 4, 2016.
  4. ^ Wells, Jeffrey (February 21, 1993). "Enough Already: Joel Silver, Model Mogul". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 6, 2018.
  5. ^ "The Most Tolerable Works of Tom Cruise: A Retrospective". IndieWire. June 25, 2010. Retrieved May 18, 2021.
  6. ^ Singer, Mark (March 13, 1994). "THE JOEL SILVER SHOW". The New Yorker. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  7. ^ Steve Weintraub (November 24, 2009). "2nd Joel Silver Interview NINJA ASSASSIN. Plus Info on Dark Castle Projects, Remakes, SHERLOCK HOLMES, More". Collider.
  8. ^ "Joel Silver Out at Silver Pictures, CEO Hal Sadoff to Steer Ship". June 25, 2019.
  9. ^ a b "'He Felt Strangled': Joel Silver's Lavish Spending, Lack of Hits Angered Producing Partners Ahead of Exit". The Hollywood Reporter. June 26, 2019. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  10. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (June 25, 2019). "Joel Silver Exits Silver Pictures, Hal Sadoff to Run Company". TheWrap. Retrieved December 9, 2019.
  11. ^ "Amazon Fires Producer Joel Silver From Films Starring Mark Wahlberg, Jake Gyllenhaal Over Verbal Abuse (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety.
  12. ^ "Jules Daly in Talks to Replace Ousted Joel Silver on Amazon's 'Play Dirty' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  13. ^ Shea, Terry (May 29, 2017). "Art of the design – 1940 Lincoln Continental". Hemmings Motor News. American City Business Journals Inc. Retrieved April 1, 2021.
  14. ^ Lee, Matt; Lee, Ted (November 30, 2003), "Auldbrass Wasn't Rebuilt in a Day", New York Times
  15. ^ "Producer Joel Silver sued over death of assistant".
  16. ^ Lincoln, Ross A. (August 18, 2017). "Joel Silver Sued for Wrongful Death by Family of Assistant Who Drowned in 2015". TheWrap. Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  17. ^ Patrick Hipes (February 22, 2021). "Producer Joel Silver Exonerated in Wrongful-Death Suit Filed over His Assistant's 2015 Drowning in Bora Bora – Update". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 23, 2022.

External links[edit]