Ron Silver

Tony-award winning actor Ron Silver, who went from endorsing liberal causes to becoming one of Hollywood's few advocates for the Bush administration, has died. 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. Bronk said Silver had been fighting esophageal cancer for two years.

Silver, who was Emmy-nominated for his role as a political strategist on The West Wing, also had recurring roles on Veronica's Closet, Chicago Hope and Wiseguy. He earned his first Emmy nomination for the 1987 NBC miniseries Billionaire Boys Club.

Film credits included Reversal of Fortune, Enemies: A Love Story, Silkwood, and Ali. He won his Tony for David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, in 1988.

In 1989, Silver co-founded the Creative Coalition, an arts-oriented activist group, alongside such prominent Hollywood liberals as Alec Baldwin and Susan Sarandon. After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, he switched his political affiliation from Democrat to independent and sometimes called himself a "9/11 Republican."

Speaking at the 2004 Republican National Convention, he praised Bush's leadership in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He told The Associated Press that his support for the administration cost him acting jobs. But at least one director who disagreed with him politically said Silver was a "mensch" until the end.

"As the years progressed and our politics differed he was always engaging and good-natured about our differences," Robert Greenwald, who directed Silver twice, wrote in The Huffington Post Monday. "No matter how intense the political disagreement he was never a name caller or shouter."