Sime Silverman

Simon J. Silverman (May 19, 1873 – September 23, 1933) was an American journalist and newspaper publisher. He was the founder of the weekly newspaper Variety in New York City in 1905, which gave theatre and vaudeville reviews and the Hollywood-based Daily Variety magazine in 1933, focusing on the emerging motion picture film industry

Sime Silverman
Simon J. Silverman

(1873-05-19)May 19, 1873
DiedSeptember 23, 1933(1933-09-23) (aged 60)
OccupationJournalist, publisher, magazine founder and owner
Known forFounder, owner and publisher of entertainment trade journal Variety
Spouse(s)Harriet Freeman
ChildrenSidne Silverman
RelativesSyd Silverman (grandson)

Early lifeEdit

Silverman was born to an American Jewish family on May 19, 1873 in Cortland, New York.[1][2] His father, Louis J. Silverman, was a businessman.[2]


Silverman began his career by working for his father.[2] In 1903, he became a journalist for the Daily America and wrote under the pen name "The Man in the Third Row". After the Daily America dissolved, he later joined the New York-based The Morning Telegraph but was fired in 1905 for a notice on a new sketch played by Mrs. Stuart Robson at Proctor's 58th Street theatre where the review mentioned the sketch was n.g. (no good). He was not aware that Mrs. Robson had given the Telegraph an advertising contract for $50. Despite suggesting that since the sketch was n.g., that might make the contract n.g., too, as Mrs. Robson wouldn't advertise what she couldn't play, the owner did not like the suggestion.[3] Silverman decided that he would have to start his own paper in order to be able to tell the truth.[1][4]

With a loan of $1,500 from his father-in-law, Alderman George Freeman of Syracuse, he launched trade newspaper Variety as the publisher and editor.[1] He passed the editorship to Abel Green in 1931 but remained as publisher until his death, soon after launching the magazine Daily Variety.

During the course of his career, Silverman was known as the "oracle of show business, the sworn foe of grammar, and the man who never let anyone pay a check."[5] In 1934, he headed a list in Time magazine of the "ten modern Americans who have done most to keep American jargon alive".[6]

In 1920, Silverman purchased an old brownstone building at 154 West 46th Street in New York, which became the company's headquarters until its sale and demolition in 1988.[citation needed] In 1922, Silverman acquired the entertainment newspaper the New York Clipper.[4]

Personal life, death and legacyEdit

Silverman married Harriett Freeman in 1895.[7] They lived at The Langham at 135 Central Park West in Manhattan.[8]

Silverman suffered from a bronchial condition and, for health reasons, had travelled to California for the two winters before his death.[1]

He died on September 23, 1933, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, from a lung hemorrhage.[2][5] He was 60 years old. His body was found by casting director Ben Piazza and the editor of Daily Variety, Arthur Ungar, who suffered a mild heart attack on finding the body.[1] His funeral was held at Congregation Emanu-El of New York on September 28, 1933.[9]

His son Sidne Silverman, known as Sid or "Skigie", succeeded him as publisher of both publications.[10] His grandson Syd became the third publisher of Variety.

Silverman was the subject of a biography by Dayton Stoddart in 1941.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Sime Silverman, founder of 'Variety,' Dies Suddenly in Hollywood at 60". Variety. September 26, 1933. p. 1.
  2. ^ a b c d "Publisher of 'Variety' Dies In Los Angeles. Sime Silverman Founder and Owner of Theatrical Paper Known as 'Broadway Bible.'". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 23, 1933. p. 5. Retrieved January 27, 2019 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "How "Variety" Happened". Variety. December 30, 1925. p. 8
  4. ^ a b "Veteran 'Variety' Mugg Gives Some Inside Stuff on Sime's Starting 'V'". Variety. September 26, 1933. p. 3.
  5. ^ a b "Oracle of Show Business Dies Suddenly in Hotel Leaving Unique Records". Evening Independent. September 23, 1933. p. 1
  6. ^ "Press: Doctor & Duke". Time. January 15, 1934. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  7. ^ "'The Skirt' At 100". Variety. June 4, 1975. p. 2.
  8. ^ "Hattie (Mrs. Sime) Silverman Dies". Variety. June 25, 1975. p. 2.
  9. ^ "Sime Silverman Rites Tomorrow". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. September 27, 1933. p. 15. Retrieved January 27, 2019 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ "Sidne Silverman of 'Variety' Dies". The Long Beach Independent. March 11, 1950. p. 15. Retrieved January 27, 2019 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. ^ Selby, John (August 12, 1941). "Literary Guidepost. "Lord Broadway: Variety Sime", by Dayton Stoddart (Funk: $3)". Harrisburg Telegraph. Harrisburg, PA. p. 6. Retrieved January 27, 2019 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

Further readingEdit

  • Stoddart, Dayton (1941). Lord Broadway: Variety's Sime. New York: W. Funk. OCLC 937211395.