November 21, 2018

Actor Jonathan Silverman: A lover, a joker, an online minister

It’s been almost 30 years since his breakout role in the movie version of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” but Jonathan Silverman is still boyish-looking enough to need his temples grayed for his latest role in the CW sitcom “Significant Mother” in order to look his character’s age.

In the series, Silverman, who turns 49 on Aug. 5, plays an unfaithful husband who discovers that his estranged wife is dating their 25-year-old son’s much-younger best friend, and he turns on the chivalry and charm in an effort to win her back.

“When I read the script, I thought it was smart and edgy and funny, and I couldn’t wait to attack this character, Harrison Marlowe,” Silverman said, though he admits it’s a bit daunting to do scenes with 30-year-old Josh Zuckerman, who plays his son, and to “have to get into dad mode.”

Silverman, who shot the sex-centric series in Portland, Ore., considers it “a bit risqué for a CW comedy, but I hope it finds an audience.” He also got to direct the sixth episode, which is something he hopes to do more in his career. “It’s something I’ve always thought about, fantasized about. It’s definitely the most challenging aspect of the industry I’ve been involved with,” Silverman said.

With a resumé heavy on comedy, Silverman has racked up credits in movies such as “Weekend at Bernie’s” and in series including “Gimme a Break!” and “The Single Guy.” He recently completed filming the romantic comedy “Baby, Baby, Baby” and holiday fantasy “A Christmas Miracle,” and currently is shooting the HBO comedy series “Getting On,” in which he plays a doctor in a psychiatric ward.

When the Los Angeles native and Beverly Hills High School graduate decided to become an actor, he broke with a family tradition: His father is a rabbi, as was his grandfather.

Silverman grew up in Westwood, a block from Sinai Temple, where his father, Hillel, presided over the congregation from 1964 to1980. Now 91, Hillel was subsequently associated with synagogues in Greenwich, Conn., La Jolla and Vista, Calif., where he still conducts services.