Family & Companions
After gaining notoriety on Broadway and in films based on various incarnations of the works of American playwright Neil Simon, actor Jonathan Silverman built up a respectable résumé in movies and on television. He essayed the role of Eugene Jerome - a character he initially played on Broadway - in Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1986), his first lead in a feature film. Shortly thereafter, Silverman and co-star Andrew McCarthy landed a surprise hit with the morbidly premised comedy "Weekend at Bernie's" (1989), and he later enjoyed a moderately successful run headlining the sitcom "The Single Guy" (NBC, 1995-97). A recurring theme in his career, Silverman reunited with Simon on "The Odd Couple II" (1998), alongside the original bickering buddies, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. He returned briefly to series television with the ensemble comedy "In Case of Emergency" (ABC, 2006-07), in addition to continued guest appearances on various shows combined with supporting film roles. Always affable and possessing an Everyman quality, Silverman seamlessly transitioned between Neil Simon surrogate to comedic leading man and back again throughout his busy career.
Born Jonathan Elihu Silverman on Aug. 5, 1966 in Los Angeles to parents Devora and Rabbi Hillel Silverman, he attended Beverly Hills High School, where he became life-long friends with future television star David Schwimmer. Shortly after graduating high school, he found himself in the enviable, albeit intimidating, position of replacing Matthew Broderick as Eugene, the emotional centerpiece of a Jewish family in New York during the Depression, in the 1983 Broadway production of playwright Neil Simon's autobiographical "Brighton Beach Memoirs." Two years later, Silverman took over the same character from Broderick once again, in the second part of Simon's "Eugene Trilogy" in the Broadway staging of "Biloxi Blues." That same year, he made his feature film debut with the teen comedy "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" (1985), starring Sarah Jessica Parker, the future Mrs. Matthew Broderick. Silverman broke into television with a season's worth of appearances on the sitcom "Gimme a Break" (NBC, 1981-87). In 1986, he was Simon's first pick to play Eugene again on Broadway in the final installment of the trilogy called "Broadway Bound." Irrevocably connected to the famed playwright, Silverman landed his first starring film role in the big screen adaptation of "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (1986).
Silverman ventured out from under the shadow of Neil Simon with a supporting role in the decidedly less subtle comedy "Caddyshack II" (1988), a clunky sequel to the original classic. He next found mainstream success as the more conservative of two low-level corporate types who comically attempt to cover up the fact that their boss is dead in the surprise hit comedy "Weekend at Bernie's" (1989), alongside co-star Andrew McCarthy. More film and television work followed, including a turn in the poignant road movie "Traveling Man" (HBO, 1989), a supporting role in the courtroom drama "Class Action" (1991), a return to "Neil Simon's Broadway Bound" (ABC, 1992) - this time in the role of Eugene's older brother Stan - and the direct-to-video romantic comedy "Little Sister" (1992), opposite Alyssa Milano. Hoping to recapture lightning in a bottle, Silverman and McCarthy reteamed for the far less successful "Weekend at Bernie's II" (1993). In the romantic comedy "French Exit" (1995) he played a struggling screenwriter in a sticky relationship with his professional competitor (Mädchen Amick). In his entry into series TV, Silverman was "The Single Guy" (NBC, 1995-97), the title role in a sitcom that followed the travails of an unmarried male writer whose wedded friends perpetually attempt to help in his search for the perfect mate. The series as a modest success and ran for two years.
In between seasons of "The Single Guy" Silverman made a brief return to the fold with "Neil Simon's 'London Suite'" (NBC, 1996) amidst an all-star cast that included Kelsey Grammer, Patricia Clarkson, and Madeline Kahn. He then followed Simon back to the big screen with the better-late-than-never sequel "The Odd Couple II" (1998). Reuniting original stars Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, Silverman had the pleasure of taking on a supporting role as Brucey Madison, son of the perpetual curmudgeon, Oscar (Matthau). He co-starred with Louis Gossett, Jr. in the thrillers "The Inspectors" (Showtime, 1998) and its sequel "The Inspectors 2: A Shred of Evidence" (Showtime, 2000), as Inspector Alex Urbina in stories culled from actual U.S. Postal Inspection case files. Silverman attempted another ongoing series as a regular cast member on the quirky comedy "In Case of Emergency" (ABC, 2006-07). Co-starring David Arquette, the short-lived show followed a group of thirty-something friends, each in their own way dissatisfied with the way their lives have unfolded since high school. Silverman made several cameos as himself on the celebrity therapy comedy "Head Case" (Starz, 2006-09), in addition to co-writing one of the episodes. Other efforts included headlining the direct-to-DVD "Beethoven's Big Break" (2008), yet another installment of the furry franchise, in addition to guest spots on television series, such as the frat house comedy "Greek" (ABC Family, 2006-11) in 2011.
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Broadway debut as Eugene Jerome in Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" (replaced Matthew Broderick), also led play's first national tour
Recreated role of Eugene Jerome onstage in Simon's "Biloxi Blues" (again replaced Matthew Broderick)
Feature film debut in "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"
First TV-movie, "Challenge of a Lifetime"
Played recurring role of Jonathan Maxwell on the NBC-TV sitcom, "Gimme a Break"
First leading role in the feature adaptation of "Brighton Beach Memoirs"
Co-starred in the low-brow comedy "Weekend at Bernie's", a surprise box-office hit
Played Stan Jerome, Eugene's older brother, in a TV adaptation of "Neil Simon's 'Broadway Bound'" (ABC)
Reprised role in the unneccessary sequel "Weekend at Bernie's II"
Starred in NBC-TV comedy series "The Single Guy" (also served as program consultant)
Teamed with Louis Gossett Jr in the Showtime movie "The Inspectors"
Supported Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in "The Odd Couple II", penned by Neil Simon
Co-starred in the independent film "Just a Little Harmless Sex"
Had supporting role in "Freak City"; aired on Showtime
With Gossett, reprised roles in the sequel "Inspectors 2: A Shred of Evidence" (Showtime)
Acted in the L.A. premiere of Warren Leight's play "Glimmer, Glimmer and Shine"
Co-starred in the ABC movie "These Old Broads"
Appeared in the Showtime movie "Deacons for Defense"
Co-starred in ABC's David E. Kelley pilot "The DeMarco Affairs"
Cast in Jason Ruscio's existential drama, "Laura Smiles"