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See "Weekend at Bernie's" Star Jonathan Silverman Now at 55

The actor has been working onscreen since he was 18.

Young actor Jonathan Silverman got his onscreen start in 1984, when he was just 18, in one episode of E/R and a recurring role in Gimme a Break! The second half of the '80s brought him lots of success at the movies too. He starred in Brighton Beach MemoirsGirls Just Want to Have FunCaddyshack II, and, of course, Weekend at Bernie's, alongside Andrew McCarthy. But while lots of fans surely best remember Silverman dragging around and posing a dead man in the 1989 comedy, he's been in dozens of TV shows and movies since. Read on to learn more about the '80s breakout's life today.

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He's still acting—and has worked with his wife.

Jonathan Silverman in 1993
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Silverman's career may have taken off in the '80s, but it continued to thrive after that decade was over. In the mid-'90s, he headlined his own sitcom on NBC, The Single Guy. In more recent years, he's appeared in TV shows including Medium, White Collar, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Castle, Scandal, Station 19, and Good Girls. His movie career includes roles in Death Becomes Her, Weekend at Bernie's II, Another Dirty Movie, and G.B.F.

In 2021, Silverman worked with his wife of 15 years, Jennifer Finnigan, in the Canadian comedy series Moonshine, about a large family of half-siblings battling over their parents' business. Finnigan starred as Lidia Bennett, while Silverman just appeared in a handful of episodes. In addition to a project, the couple share a four-year-old daughter, Ella Jack.

He almost starred on Friends.

Jonathan Silverman in 1995
Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

While Silverman would get The Single Guy a year later, he missed out on a starring role on a sitcom that lasted much longer. According to the New York Post, NBC wanted the Weekend at Bernie's actor to play Ross instead of David Schwimmer. And that makes sense, considering Silverman, unlike Schwimmer, had been in hit movies already by that point. There were no hard feelings, especially since the two actors go way back, having gone to high school together. Silverman would end up guest-starring in the Friends episode "The One With the Birth" as Dr. Franzblau, and Schwimmer would appear as Ross in a crossover episode of The Single Guy.

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He credits some iconic mentors for his long career.

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In a 2017 interview with Larry King, Silverman reflected on his long career, saying that as long as he still has one, he's happy. He remembered getting advice from iconic comedic actors Jack Lemmon and John Lithgow, both of whom he's worked with. Summing up their guidance, Silverman said, "Don't be too hot, don't be too cold, if you can stay nice and lukewarm, you're going to have a fine career." So far, the advice seems to be working, though he admitted that he has a "hard time saying no" when it comes to certain offers.

He had no idea Weekend at Bernie's would be a hit.

Jonathan Silverman in 2022
Bobby Bank/Getty Images

Last year, Silverman looked back on Weekend at Bernie's several decades on, appearing on late friend Bob Saget's podcast. He said that, initially, he was meant to star opposite Jon Cryer, before McCarthy decided that he wanted the part. While the actors had a great time making the movie, he had no idea that it would take off. "But somehow this movie came out and made people laugh and made a bunch of money, and I was shocked," Silverman said. "And it's still playing on HBO. It just appears, it won't go away. It's turned into this cult [classic]."

The two also discussed their long friendship, which included Silverman officiating Saget's wedding to Kelly Rizzo. After Saget's unexpected death in January 2022, Silverman shared a tribute on Instagram. "Oh Dear Brother Bobby. My heart is shattered," he captioned a gallery of photos of them together. "Thank you for your constant love and kindness and for being such an anchor in my life. I will miss you tremendously."

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Karen Fratti
Karen Fratti is an entertainment and culture writer. She went to Temple University, where she received a B.A. in English and has an M.A. in Media Studies from the New School University. Read more
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