In 1952, Silvera made his film debut in the Western The Cimarron Kid. Due to his light complexion, he was cast in a wide variety of ethnic roles in films and television. Later that same year, he was cast as Mexican General Victoriano Huerta in Viva Zapata!, starring Marlon Brando. The role marked the first time a major motion picture studio cast a non-white actor in the role of a non-white character. Silvera also portrayed the role in the stage production which opened at the Regent Theatre in New York on February 28, 1952.
I was blessed enough to be the recipient of intense training and mentorship from theater legend Frank Silvera. While actress Beah Richards was his first student, I was his last.
"The Man of a Thousand faces"
Fear and Desire and Killer's Kiss
Mutiny on the Bounty
Notable Broadway Plays
The Revival of Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth with Helen Hayes
A Hatful of Rain
Silvera made guest appearances in numerous television series, mainly dramas and Westerns
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
The Twilight Zone
In 1963, Silvera was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his performance as Monsieur Duval in The Lady of the Camellias.
For the remainder of the 1960s, Silvera continued his career in film and guest starring roles on television.
The Greatest Story Ever Told- Biblical Magi Caspar
The Appaloosa with Marlon Brando
The St. Valentine's Day Massacre- Nick Sorello
Dundee and the Culhane
The Wild Wild West
Hombre: A Martin Ritt Classic
Zapata Western Guns of the Magnificent Seven- Lobero
At the time of his death, Silvera had a recurring role on the NBC western series The High Chaparral as the Mexican squire, Don Sebastian Montoya. His final film, Valdez Is Coming, was released posthumously in 1971.