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February 9th, 2009
04:08 PM ET

Actress Murdered

A picture of Coco Silvera on the main page of her website.

A picture of Coco Silvera on the main page of her website.

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Manhattan’s Upper West Side used to be a dangerous place to live. Crime was high. Drugs were rampant. But that was decades ago. Today, the neighborhood is one of the safest parts of New York. It’s also among the priciest. Celebrities and wealthy families call it home. Upscale shops and trendy restaurants line the streets. Moms and nannies with kids on their way to private school clog the sidewalks. You’ve got a much better chance of being run over by a $1000 stokke stroller than being mugged.

Debra Silver lived on the Upper West Side. In a doorman building. Her apartment was just a block from Central Park. It’s still there. She is not. The 46-year-old was murdered in her home last week. So was a former companion. Police say both were shot to death by Silver’s current boyfriend. The New York Daily News reports she was making dinner for the two of them when the killer entered and gunned both down. He then committed suicide.

It is a sad fact. But lives are often revealed only in death. Tragically, such is the case with Debra Silver. She led a remarkably diverse and colorful life. She was an attorney. She was also a versatile actress and musician. Her stage name was Coco Silvera. Her web site is full of jobs, pictures and clips of her performances. On television, her resume lists appearances on Guiding Light, A&E Biography, and the Daily Show. Silver also participated in several pilots for Spike TV and PBS. There are short films as well, films like “Harry Situation.” You can watch it here.

She played the trombone and the piano, enjoyed swing and ballroom dancing. Silver spoke fluent Hebrew, French and Spanish. She was also an ex- auxiliary officer with the New York Police Department.

And now she is gone. The victim of extreme violence. Take a moment to look at her web site. The photographs. The films. Her words. They are all now part of what is now an online memorial to a very talented woman.


Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Cameron

    Once again domestic violence took a life, some men truly have a hard time accepting when things are over and its time to move on. Poor girl...Thankfully he took his own life and we don't have to worry about him.
    Hetero's kill in mass once again.

    February 10, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  2. Beth

    Richard if you are going to correct someone for using "The" the word Internet has a capital I not lower case.

    February 10, 2009 at 10:48 am |
  3. Dee Bolster

    What is funny "Richard" is that you have watched it so long you would "know that"...loser. What a sad loss of a wonderful person.

    February 10, 2009 at 10:29 am |
  4. Rational Male

    "Another victim of irrational male jealousy."

    Could you please be MORE general in your assessment? This has nothing to do with Male Jealousy, it has EVERYTHING to do with some moron that was a control freak. The majority of we, men, find your generalization offensive, and hope that you will educate yourself on the majority of men that are far more kind than your comment would give us credit for.

    A Rational Male.

    February 10, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  5. kgeukes

    Read the article again people. Where is the word "The" in front of Guiding Light?? Get real folks..I'm sorry she's dead but the world is a dangerous place. Most of us are just trying to get by....Geeesh!!!!!!!!!

    February 10, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  6. pthomas

    This is very sad and I think by noting the location of this terrible crime the wrtier is making the point that bad things can happen anywhere to anyone. I am going to assume that her campanions family did not want the name published. Because it makes his or her death seem less important or significant by not giving the other life lost a name or face. I am sorry to see such a vibrant life lost!

    February 10, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  7. william kislingbury

    This story is sad. It simply proves there are psych jobs out there no matter how much money one makes, what one does for a living, or where one lives. Domestic violence doesn’t understand socioeconomic status. It simply creates pain and tragedy for those it leaves in its wake. We all need to be aware and involved in stopping it before another loss such as this one occurs. How sad for all who were left behind.

    February 10, 2009 at 8:21 am |
  8. lunarosa

    I could not believe what happens to her in A Harry Situation video on her website. It gives me shivers. I am so sorry that there is so much violence.Coco looked like a nice and interesting person. So sad.

    February 9, 2009 at 11:29 pm |
  9. Louise

    Let me begin by saying how sorry that Debra/Coco's life was cut short,
    she had so much talent and such a bright future. Needless to say that
    until this moment I had never heard of her. That doesn't mean that her life wasn't precious. However, unless you're murdered by someone like
    O J Simpson or Phil Spector.... Debra/Coco is just another number in the statistics of domestic violence!!!!! My prayers go out to her family and friends... I pray that Debra's life was not in vain and that we as a society become aware how out of control and silent domestic violence is. To think, Debra just got involved with the wrong person . It's sad that we can't forsee the future if only for a moment. I'm sure that that is how Deb's family is feeling. Once again pray for those who knew her.

    February 9, 2009 at 10:14 pm |
  10. Robert Paris

    This is a shock to me! Coco/Debra was one of the most beautiful you would ever want to work with and know. I have known her since 2000 as a talent manager.

    She was so professional, but also very pleasant down to earth friendly, funny and energetic. I will always remember her for the way she stood up for me. I was googling my name one day, just to see what I had as far as work on the internet, while I came across an entertainment industry based chat room.

    There was a young woman saying very negative things regarding how I worked. As, I was reading this internet chat (with myself as the subject) I noticed a person defending me, and that person was Coco.

    She said the most flattering things about me, and it made me feel great that a talent such as her showed appreciation, gratification and respect towards my work.

    Coco was very dedicated to her love and that was acting/entertaining. She was such a special person that will be missed. I already miss her my heart is heavy because of this.

    God bless you Coco...You will be in my heart forever! My friend for life!! I thank god that he introduced me to you, you have helped make me a better person in and out of the business.

    Thank You
    Robert Paris

    February 9, 2009 at 9:55 pm |
  11. 3 People Died

    Yes, rich talented white people in buildings with doormen get murdered too. Why are their deaths any more newsworthy than the deaths of anyone else who died that day? I guess her companion wasn't a white Manhattan resident with a door man. You didn't even mention their name once. Why is that?

    Don't get me wrong I feel badly about her death, but I also feel badly for everyone that died that day. The companion and even the mentally ill shooter. Everyone of those people all had family and friends who will be suffering. They all count. They all deserve our sympathy.

    February 9, 2009 at 8:12 pm |
  12. Annie Kate

    It is tragic that people kill each other, even if they are not young and artistic and talented. Lets not forget that 2 others died with Coco and their lives were just as dear to their family and friends as Coco's was to hers. We should mourn the death of all 3 people as a terrible loss.

    February 9, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  13. B

    how senseless....people let their rage consume them and don't consider the devastation they leave behind....sad
    she seems like a wonderful person who had achieved a lot

    February 9, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  14. MC

    Debra was a vivacious, wonderful person who will be deeply missed. Thank you, CNN for doing her, and her family a service by telling people about who she really was, unlike the Daily News, whose reporters apparently only care about unveiling what they assumed to be her " dirty laundry " in the midst of this tragedy.

    R.I.P. Debra, we will miss you.

    February 9, 2009 at 6:23 pm |
  15. Casey | Sebastopol, CA

    I am constantly amazed by those in relationships that involve verbal or physical violence who claim that their "significant other" would *never* hurt them...
    Violence is a drug. In my own personal experience, a person who starts with verbal violence is seeking shock value - something that constantly requires "a little more" to reach the desired effect, as any addict will tell you.
    And it doesn't matter WHERE you live. The only safe place is *away* from the violent person.

    February 9, 2009 at 6:19 pm |
  16. Jaime M. Mesa,AZ

    Why are women disproportionatly victims of crime ? Violence, overwhelmingly by men, happens from "the best" neighborhoods to the Barrio or Ghetto, no race is immune. No amount of money, achievement or fame make women exempt from these crimes. Alcohol or drugs exacerbates them. The main factor is a relationship where the woman believes it is over and the male stewing over it becoming certain he is a victim of abandonment and sets off to get retribution. Our soceity clearly has not evolved so far from the "me Tarzan " mentality. Women have sucessfully quietly worked their way into most of the highest areas of achievement. Not many announce their presence, but no matter the succes, their relationships still seems to echo ancient tradition. Many times the independance, high achievement, and intelligence of these women are the very attributes that attract men at the beginning of a relationship. With time, these are the qualities which become the reason the relationship is no longer comfortable for the man. It seems as women we are supposed to be all things to have a long term committed relationship with a man. Some women choose to be alone or in relationship with a woman to not have to answer anymore for her virtues. There are more of us who stay in unequal relationships, afraid the unknown is worse. Violence against women is indicative of the lack of emotional, spiritual and psychological development of men, disproportional from women. The surprise that this article expressed is naive. Debra Silver, like all of us, is not exempt from this violence, no matter how wonderfully talented or sucessful she was. The fact she was makes this a news event. Many women are attacked by men that are not newsworthy. Perhaps the reporter could also do a story of what is the solution for the equal opportunity women victims of violent crimes by men.

    February 9, 2009 at 6:16 pm |
  17. Rebecca De Paris-Hazell

    I first would like to extend my condolences to the family and friends of the victims in this situation. There were TWO victims here and they should both be recognized. I am shocked at the pettiness in the responses to this article. I am also saddened by the multitude of nameless victims of domestic violence every day. Being a former domestic violence advocate and also a victim of said violence I know firsthand the repercussions of this sickness in all of humanity... it's not a rich, poor, black, white, minority or majority issue – is a sickness issue...

    as the last response I read so adequately put it.. please have some respect for the families affected and do as your Mother admonished.. "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all". God Bless to the families. You are in my prayers.

    February 9, 2009 at 6:14 pm |
  18. Chris

    Maybe I can read and comprehend better than some others who have read this and made petty comments about writing and "The". This is a tragedy which could take place anywhere, regardless of how safe one perceives their home and neighborhood. Even someone as full of life as this woman was, someone who lived in a neighborhood full of life itself, can fall victim to a crime of passion. Only God knows the potential lost by the twisted passion of one person. Quite a Shakespearian twist of fate for all three people involved.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  19. a

    i hope whoever killed her gets what they deserve, and i wonder how they look into the mirror every day.

    Kathy, the man who killed her and her companion turned the gun on himself shortly thereafter. He was clearly a disturbed individual. Whether justice was served or not is up to you to decide.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:47 pm |
  20. a

    I knew Debra. She was a charismatic, kind individual with great passion for her many diverse interests, who was killed senselessly in blind jealousy and rage. Whether a soap opera has "The" in its title, or how poorly the article was written, has nothing to do with the fact that an innocent woman and her companion lost their lives to domestic violence this past weekend. Please show some sensitivity to those who knew her.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  21. Tammy, Berwick, LA

    This story is sad. It simply proves there are psych jobs out there no matter how much money one makes, what one does for a living, or where one lives. Domestic violence doesn't understand socioeconomic status. It simply creates pain and tragedy for those it leaves in its wake. We all need to be aware and involved in stopping it before another loss such as this one occurs. How sad for all who were left behind.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  22. Ricki

    Yes, this is a tragedy. But "another victim of irrational male jealousy" is a bit much. How did you make that leap? We don't know that. Only the killer knows what was in his head and why. The "former companion" may have simply been collateral damage in whatever was going on between Debra/Coco and her murderer.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  23. kathy krumm

    tragic. i read her resume, she had a great future ahead of her. this is sensless violence again, and it is running rampant in our society. i hope whoever killed her gets what they deserve, and i wonder how they look into the mirror every day.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  24. Shellie

    This is such a tragic event, but what is even more "tragic" is some one would focus on the word "THE" instead of what the article is really about....a vibrant woman has lost her life. All I can say is, "Shame on you!"

    February 9, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  25. Michelle Johnson, Lomita, CA

    I agree with Monty. Crimes of passion take place everywhere, no matter how safe the neighborhood, especially crimes involving intimate relationships. The Upper West Side is as safe as it was before the tragedy.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  26. ronaldo gargano

    No doubt this is very sad. But I would like to see one note like this for every act of domestic violence to which poor women are submitted. Talent? Spoken languages? It would be better to see some numbers about domestic violence in the country instead of a shallow analyses of a terrible tragedy.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  27. Bob Grove

    "Harry Situation" seems to foreshadow the ill that has befallen Debra Silver. Perhaps it´s too simple, but life and art occasionally seem to be reading from the same script.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:09 pm |
  28. maddy

    Thank you for bringing Debra/Coco’s life to our attention. Went to the website, and via your link watched her short film and commercials. She was so talented, so full of life, a really special individual. May she rest in peace with the angels.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  29. linda

    Another victim of irrational male jealousy. What a shame. What a tragedy, one that takes the lives of thousands of women yearly (yes men get killed by jeoulous lovers/exes etc. but it is usually women who are the victims.)

    I met Coco online; she responded to a casting call. Lovely person.

    February 9, 2009 at 5:01 pm |
  30. Isabel Abreu, Brazil

    Losing a life this way is stupidity.

    This is a paradox in my head, understand what happens in the head of the murderer, understand the size of your despair, but it makes no sense.

    In the site, that most impressed me was, in the main page, have her email. And to think that there would be no more answers.

    A beautiful woman, and talented. In these hours of life makes no sense.

    Excuse me, but I really do not know to deal with death. Without feeling I remember of my loved ones.

    I stay way lost, and depressed.
    sorry!

    February 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm |
  31. richard

    Guiding Light hasn't had a "The" in its title for over two decades. Even in the world of internet reporting, little things - you know, like accuracy and fact-checking - mean a lot.

    February 9, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  32. Monty Airline

    It's tragic, certainly, but has nothing to do with the past or present safety of the Upper West Side. It's a domestic violence murder, something that could happen in the best or worst neighborhoods across the country.

    February 9, 2009 at 4:24 pm |