'Crossing Delancey' Director Joan Micklin Silver dies at 85

In this 2003 photo provided by Patricia Williams is Joan Micklin Silver as she is being interviewed by Kenneth Turan at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. Silver, who forged a path for female directors in both independent and Hollywood films with movies including Hester Street and Crossing Delancey, has died at age 85. Silver died from vascular dementia on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, at her home in New York, her daughter Claudia Silver told The Associated Press. (Patricia Williams via AP)
In this 2003 photo provided by Patricia Williams is Joan Micklin Silver as she is being interviewed by Kenneth Turan at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass. Silver, who forged a path for female directors in both independent and Hollywood films with movies including Hester Street and Crossing Delancey, has died at age 85. Silver died from vascular dementia on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, at her home in New York, her daughter Claudia Silver told The Associated Press. (Patricia Williams via AP) (Patricia Williams)

LOS ANGELES – Joan Micklin Silver, who forged a path for female directors and independent filmmakers with movies including “Hester Street” and “Crossing Delancey,” has died. She was 85.

Silver died from vascular dementia Thursday at her home in New York, her daughter Claudia Silver told The Associated Press.

She used a combination of talent, fortitude and luck to create 1975's “Hester Street,” her first feature, released when she was 40 years old.

“Joan Micklin Silver was one of the most courageous artists I ever knew,” Carol Kane, who was nominated for a best actress Academy Award for her role in “Hester Street,” said in a statement to the AP. “She knew she could prevail at a time when women were not being taken seriously as film directors."

A black-and-white period piece partly in Yiddish about a family of Jewish immigrants attempting to assimilate in New York, the film became an unlikely triumph after Silver fought to make it.

Kane would get her Oscar nomination for playing a woman attempting to make herself a New World wife to please her husband.

“When I read the script of ‘Hester Street,’ it was so beautifully written that I had the sensation that I was watching the movie as I read it,” Kane said.

Silver would eventually move on to directing studio films in a strained relationship with Hollywood.