So Sad, Many Never Knew How This “Colors” Actor Tragically Died Soon After Film

Posted On : April 26, 2018

Many of us Old Schoolers remember actor, Trinidad Silva, as the Latino gang leader, “Frog,” in the ’88 hood classic movie, “Colors,” or as “Jesus Martinez,” the gang leader-turned lawyer in “Hill Street Blues.” What many of us may not know is that Silva died without much fanfare, almost immediately after “Colors” hit theaters. So we want to pay homage to this gifted actor who is gone way too soon. See what happened to him below.

Actor Trinidada Siva in “Colors”

He Died Way Too Young

Trinidad Silva died young, he was only 38 years old, with a young child and wife at the time of his death. On July 31, 1988, just two months after Colors released, Trinidad Silva was killed by a drunk driver in Whittier, Ca:

Via LA Times: Whittier police said Silva, 38, his wife, Sophia, 28, and their 2-year-old son, Samuel, were driving east on Slauson Avenue Sunday, when a sedan moving south on Santa Fe Springs Road ran the red light where the two streets intersect and slammed into the driver’s side of the pickup.

In one of his last interviews, Silva addressed being typecast as an Hispanic gang member, due to how well he played his “Colors” and “Hill Street Blues” characters:

“I used to worry about it, but not anymore…I’m an actor. I can play more than Jesus (Martinez). I did (a non-gang role in the TV movie) Stones for Ibarra. I did the sitcom Maximum Security for HBO. I was even nominated for an ACE (Academy of Cable Excellence) Award as best actor. But I still have to prove myself — and that keeps me honest. Because of something like Hill Street, you get a little of both; the door is open, and the door is shut. It’s okay, as long as you maintain a good attitude.”

At the time of his death, he was in the middle of filming “Weird Al” Yankovic’s film “UHF.” But sadly, Trinidad Silva never got to further “prove himself” in Hollywood. It’s even more sad that Silva’s wife and son had to lose him because a reckless idiot decided to get behind the wheel that day.

“Colors” scene

Actor Tells Another Little Known Fact Of Dangers Behind The Scene “Colors” Set

Silva’s death is one of several little known facts about “Colors” actors and the film itself. In a past interview with Bill Kelley, the late Dennis Hopper (pictured above pointing ahead) told several unknown facts about what went down behind the scenes of “Colors.” He hand picked every actor for the movie and wanted it to be realistic, so he chose real Crips and Bloods gang members for the film, which lead to violence, deaths, and a bunch of other stuff. Here’s what Hopper explained (via Sun Sentinel):

“Colors” movie

“We shot at a project in Watts that even the police won`t go into unless there`s a body lying there. I later learned that afterward, in each place we shot, trouble broke out. Gang members would come and watch us shoot and then start something after. One thing we shot in Watts was a drive-by of a church where there was a funeral by some members of the Crips — and two hours later, someone was killed a block away.”

“During the production, maybe 10 people were killed. I would not pin it on the making of the film. It`s an ongoing thing — happens all the time. I did one conscious thing: I did not cross gangs. If I was shooting in a Crip area, I`d use Crips as extras. Shooting in a Blood area, I`d use Bloods. It`s a fascinating background.”

R.I.P. to Denis Hopper and Trinidad Silva.