Stephen M. Silverman, a longtime entertainment reporter and author who wrote a critically admired biography of the notoriously reticent British director David Lean and a forthcoming e book about the Broadway titan Stephen Sondheim, died on July 6 in Manhattan. He was 71.
His dying, at a clinic, was triggered by renal ailment, his executor, Diane Reid, stated.
Mr. Silverman was as soon as requested what he felt was the most typical misperception about his conquer. “That it’s fluff,” he explained to the web site Muck Rack.
As a journalist, he wrote about Broadway and Hollywood for The New York Publish from 1977 to 1988. He joined Folks magazine in 1995 as a founder of its web site, originally termed Men and women Daily (now persons.com), and was its news editor for 20 years. He also detailed celebrity doings for the site — Mickey Rourke currently being arrested, Betty White web hosting “Saturday Night time Stay,” Halle Berry’s after-toddler work out — and wrote numerous stars’ obituaries.
He idolized Mr. Lean, a meticulous filmmaker known for directing intimate films like “Brief Encounter” (1945) and “Great Expectations” (1946) and epics like “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962) and “Doctor Zhivago” (1965). In fact, Mr. Silverman retained a substantial poster of “Lawrence” hanging on a wall in his Manhattan apartment.
He used time with the director in London, interviewing him a number of times during the 1980s for the book “David Lean” (1989), which had an introduction by Katharine Hepburn.
“I guess I just received him at the right time,” he explained to United Press Worldwide, outlining why the publicity-shy Mr. Lean experienced agreed to speak to him. The stars of some of his films, including Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness and Julie Christie, also talked to Mr. Silverman.
“They all have such admiration for him,” he explained, “but Omar Sharif explained — as did a couple of other folks, ‘I simply cannot consider David has permitted a book.’ He has been approached for two many years, primarily by British journalists, and has mentioned no.”
The film critic Jay Carr, examining “David Lean” in The Boston Globe, wrote that the “pleasure” of Mr. Silverman’s “chatty, cant-cost-free study of Lean and his movies, apart from the fact that it is the to start with, and likely previous, to get the notoriously taciturn Lean to discuss for the document, lies in the behind-the-digital camera visuals that come to be so effortlessly a element of Silverman’s diligent reporting and interviewing.”
Mr. Silverman had also prepared a biography of the film mogul Darryl Zanuck by then and went on to publish many other books in the 1990s — about Los Angeles movie palaces, woman comedians and Stanley Donen, a grasp of the Hollywood musical who directed, amongst others, “Seven Brides for 7 Brothers” (1954) and “Funny Face” (1957).
In “Dancing on the Ceiling: Stanley Donen and His Movies” (1996), Mr. Silverman’s authorized biography of the director, Mr. Donen was significant of Gene Kelly, with whom he shared the director’s chair in “On the Town” (1949) and “Singin’ in the Rain” (1952) — Mr. Kelly also starred in each — stating Mr. Kelly was presented more credit history than he deserved in their collaborations.
“If you substitute the word ‘fight’ for ‘co-direct,’ then you have it,” Mr. Donen explained in the e book. “It wasn’t constantly like that with Gene, but it step by step arrived to be that and finally it arrived to be extremely hard.”
Stephen Meredith Silverman was born on Nov. 22, 1951, in West Covina, Calif. His father, Raymond, owned a grocery retail store and later a liquor keep. His mother, Shirley (Garfine) Silverman, was a homemaker.
Stephen edited his large faculty newspaper and graduated in 1969. Four many years afterwards, he earned his bachelor’s degree in historical past from the University of California, Irvine, then received a master’s from the Columbia Journalism Faculty in 1975.
In the 1980s, Mr. Silverman attempted to produce a musical centered on “Amos ’n’ Andy,” the slapstick comedy about a pair of Black characters that began on radio and moved to television prior to CBS withdrew it from syndication in 1966 amid protests by civil legal rights teams, who identified it demeaning. His hopes ended up dashed when a federal decide, ruling in 1987 on a lawsuit submitted by Mr. Silverman towards CBS, barred him from using the names of the show’s characters and other trademarked materials.
Some of Mr. Silverman’s guides were being detours from his entertainment specialty. In 2015, he and Raphael D. Silver, a film producer, revealed “The Catskills: Its Record and How It Modified The us.” Mr. Silverman also wrote “The Amusement Park: 900 Years of Thrills and Spills, and the Dreamers and Schemers Who Designed Them” (2019).
When interviewed by “CBS This Morning” at Luna Park in Coney Island, he described the attraction of a quintessential amusement park experience: “Even just a solitary roller coaster, when you’re at the prime, you’re not contemplating of spending the mortgage loan.”
He remaining no immediate survivors.
Immediately after Mr. Sondheim’s dying in late 2021, Mr. Silverman was asked by the publishing residence Black Doggy & Leventhal, section of the Hachette Ebook Team, to publish a ebook about Mr. Sondheim — a combination of biography, assessment and viewpoint. Titled “Sondheim: His Life, His Displays, His Legacy,” the book is to be posted in September.
“He actually dove into all the things prepared about and by Sondheim and by his buddies, and talked to his close friends and co-staff,” Joe Davidson, his editor at Black Doggy (which had revealed his amusement parks reserve), said in a cell phone job interview.
In the e-book, Mr. Silverman describes Mr. Sondheim’s conflicts with Leonard Bernstein when they have been composing “West Facet Story,” which opened on Broadway in 1957. Mr. Sondheim, who was 27, wrote the lyrics Mr. Bernstein, then 39, wrote the new music.
“What Sondheim did not recognize was Bernstein’s fancying himself a lyricist,” Mr. Silverman wrote. “He ‘would sketch out some thing that was purple prose, not poetry. It screamed, ‘Look at me, I’m currently being poetic!’ stated Sondheim.”