Hollywood Director Joan Micklin Silver dies at age 85.

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 at her home in New York, her daughter Claudia Silver told. 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.

Born Joan Micklin in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1935, she went to college at Sarah Lawrence in Bronxville, New York. In 1956, the year she graduated, she married Raphael Silver, who would become a real estate developer and a producer of her films.

The two lived in Cleveland for the first 11 years of their marriage and had three daughters while Joan Micklin Silver wrote plays for community theater. In 1967 they moved to New York, where she wrote scenarios for an educational film company and scripts for films.

Raphael Silver died in 2013. Joan Micklin Silver is survived by daughters Claudia, Marisa and Dina Silver, sister Renee, and five grandchildren.

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