He was born Howard Silverblatt in Cleveland, Ohio, the son of Benjamin and Bertha Silverblatt. His parents were both Yiddish speaking Jews born in Russia. He had a job as a steelworker before beginning his acting career on the stage. He changed his surname to the Portuguese Da Silva, despite not having any relationship with Portugal. - WikipediaDa Silva was not involved with the Old Globe Theatre, though one of my earlier treatments of the subject puts him there. By 1937 he has moved to New York, joining the company of Orson Welles' infamous production of The Cradle Will Rock as well as the original production of Oklahoma! Like Wanamaker, he was blacklisted during the HUAC era. I know him mostly as Ben Franklin in the film version of 1776, a role he originated on Broadway.