Charles Silver, MoMA Film Study Center
The photo below was from a lovely and wonderful evening at MoMA to promote Scott Eyman's DeMille book back in 2010. What made it special -- as most all great nights Amy and I have had at MoMA -- was our host, Charles Silver, standing on the right. He was in charge of MoMA's Film Study Center for, well, it seemed like forever. When I first came to NYC and worked for Kino back in 1984, nobody in the film world knew who I was -- I was just a lackey when it comes down to it. But that didn't matter to Charles. On my first visit to MoMA's library, he took a lot of time to help me find what I needed and I had to make a large number of photocopies. I can't remember what the price was going to be, but it was going to be considerable based on my $13,000 a year salary. And I can't say I made an enormous impression on him as I was notably shy and nervous. Whatever the reason, when I went to pay, Charles simply smiled and said there was no charge. A very humble, kind person, Charles treated everybody with a wonderful generosity, never expected anything in return. He did it all for his love for film and his joy in helping others. Charles just died and it's the end of a very gracious and noble life. There'll be dozens more tributes to him because everybody who met him felt the same way I do. It's a shame that Rodin's not around to sculpt a statue of Charles to be put in MoMA's courtyard, but I do hope that MoMA's Film Study Center is named after him one day. It would be a very fitting tribute.
Oh, by the way, the evening this photo was taken, we discovered after 26 years of friendship that Charles and I had the same family doctor growing up -- Dr. Finkelstein from Newark -- who we were both very fond of. I don't know why, but that, along with a shared love of the Rangers, was important to us. Farewell, Charles.