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Jeffrey Silver
Jeffrey Silver
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Born: 
February 25, 1937 in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
Died: ?
Cause of Death: ?

Biography
Filmography
Photos
Sources



BiographyJeffrey Silver was the last boy to play the part of Alexander Bumstead in the long-running and highly popular "Blondie" radio show.  He's also a very talented individual who, as a child actor, had a way of delivering dialogue that is beyond compare.  Truly outstanding!

    Jeff made his professional radio debut in Cleveland on NBC in "The Ohio Story."  He later arrived in Hollywood in August of 1948.  At first, the Silvers family came to Hollywood only to summer in Long Beach.  There was no thought of a Hollywood radio career for Jeff.  It just all kind of fell into place.  How?

    Jeffrey's mother spent a day taking her mother to some of the local audience-participation programs.  The thought then struck her that her son should try out for a Hollywood radio audition.  His radio career flourished on the strength of his ability alone, with most of his roles resulting from word-of-mouth recommendations of actors and directors who sampled his past performances.

    Jeffrey had light brown hair and blue eyes.  It's interesting to note that he won ALL OF THE FIRST SIX AUDITIONS he attended.  In September of 1948 he got the part of Alexander in "Blondie". 
By November 24th, he was one of the stars of Hollywood's annual Santa Claus Lane parade.  He and the entire cast of the "Blondie" radio show had their own float that strolled down Hollywood Boulevard.  There were more than 500,000 spectators who came from all over to see the celebrities, decorated floats, and beautiful girls!  An interesting story:  Arthur Lake's wife and children were also on the float.  Jeff remembers Penny Singleton (Blondie) not being all too thrilled with this arrangement, as the float was just supposed to feature the cast.  In December Jeff starred on "Screen Guild" in the title role of their Christmas broadcast of Disney's "Pinocchio".  Wow!  This is actually one of the most exciting shows that Jeff remembers.  "I had to sing two songs.  NBC really advertised it in all the papers,"  Jeff recollects.  It was around this time that he became regulars on:

"Baby Snooks" (Martin)
"Joan Davis" (Myron Willett)
"Jack Benny" (Butch of the Beverly Hills Beavers)
"Too Many Cooks" (Robert)
"Today's Children" (Spunky)
"Buster Brown" (Kula)
"Dr. Christian" (Various Characters)
"Gene Autry" (Various Characters)
"Straight Arrow" (Various Characters)
"Mr. President" (President's Son)

    "Mr. President" was a favorite show of Jeffrey's at the time.  The star of the show, Edward Arnold, was "so nice."  He brought in sweet rolls and coffee, with milk for Jeffrey, at the show's early-morning script sessions.  "No matter how many questions I ask him," said Jeff in a 1950 interview, "he always takes time to explain everything to me."  Another reason this show was a hit with Jeffrey is that history was one of his best subjects in school (he was twelve at this time).

    From 1948 to 1950, young Jeffrey attended the Hollywood Professional School.  He switched to a public school called Luther Burbank.  Jeff was pretty much a straight 'A' student.  Back in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, though, it was a different story.  He was a good enough student, but always came home with a poor grade in "Citizenship."  In desperation, his mother conferred with his teacher and found out that Jeff's low grade in that direction resulted from his tendency to "keep the class in stitches."  The wise teacher suggested that he be enrolled in the Cleveland Playhouse "to get rid of it there."  Jeff's mother took his teacher's advice, and after her son's first week in the Playhouse she was given the verdict that he was "outstanding" and should remain in the theatrical school.  At that time he was cast in the production of "Tom Sawyer" and later, when the "All my Sons" company played Cleveland, Jeff was cast in that production.  This was followed by his appearance, at eight years of age, in the musical drama "Sing Out, Sweet Land."

    By 1950, Jeff had some pretty big Hollywood thrills under his belt.  One time, a studio audience exploded into laughter when he mimicked Barrymore and Boyer.  On Jack Benny's show, his character of Butch imitated Phil Harris.  Before air time of that show, Phil Harris himself told Jeff, "Kid, go out and knock 'em dead just like I'd do myself."  He also had an opportunity to work with three Oscar-winners at the mike:  Ray Milland, Dean Jagger, and Mercedes McCambridge.  He also found time, in his busy schedule, to record albums with Roy Rogers and Gabby Hayes.

    Jeff's dream when he was twelve was to some day win an Oscar of his own.  Many of his co-workers in the industry believed that he should have.  Irene Dunne once told a show's director "Remember this boy.  He's going to be a great star...and I'm never wrong."

    Of course, one of Jeff's top favorite roles was Alexander Bumstead on Blondie.  As Jeff says, "When I auditioned for the part of Alexander, it seemed as if every boy actor in Hollywood was trying out for it.  The producers and director kept eliminating each day after script readings.  After around five days or so I was the last kid standing, so to speak, and was given the part.  My first review in Daily Variety was 'Jeffrey Silver, as Alexander, was bright and brassy, and a solid replacement for Bobby Ellis.'  It was quite a thrill for a kid from Cleveland who had always listened transfixed to all those radio shows, never dreaming that he would one day appear on them with so many stars.


Filmography:  In progress.

Photos:  In progress.

Sources:

Jeff Silver himself, and...

Daily Variety  December 30, 1948
Los Angeles Herald-Express  November 25, 1948
Radio Television Life  September 8, 1950