Hollywood sisters say farewell to Granite State roots

By KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Sunday News Correspondent
October 02. 2016 10:46AM
The childhood home of Sarah and Laura Silverman, 206 County Road, is now on the market in Bedford. (Courtesy)

BEDFORD - Two famous Hollywood sisters who grew up on County Road in Bedford are saying farewell to their New Hampshire roots.

Actress Laura Silverman and comedian Sarah Silverman are selling their childhood home in Bedford, and reflecting on how the small community helped shape their professional careers.

"For us, it was a magical place. This is really hard for all of us," Laura Silverman said of her mother's passing a year ago, and the family's subsequent decision to let go of the home at 206 County Road.

Laura Silverman, 50, is an actress and writer known for her work with "King of Queens," "The Comeback" and the animated series "Dr. Katz Professional Therapist" and "Bob's Burgers."

Sarah Silverman, 45, who currently lives down the street from her sister in Los Angeles, has appeared on "Saturday Night Live," "School of Rock" and "Wreck It Ralph," and had her own sit-com, "The Sarah Silverman Program," on Comedy Central, which also featured Laura.

The sisters moved to Bedford with their mother, Beth Ann O'Hara, in 1979, when they were 9 and 13.

"Everybody was always welcome at our home - it was warm and full of life," said Laura Silverman during a telephone interview last week. She said she spent much of last summer back in Bedford.

The siblings have positive, happy memories of their time growing up here, and are hopeful they will return to New Hampshire despite no longer having any ties to the Granite State.

Laura Silverman, who attended McKelvie School in Bedford before going to West High School in Manchester, said she was shy and introverted at the time, and initially resisted acting.

"But Sarah was just born wanting to be a performer. She got that from both of my parents," said the older sibling.

While Sarah's friends had typical crushes on teen stars, she was obsessed with comedians such as Steve Martin, said her sister, adding Sarah drew a heart on her bedroom ceiling and wrote inside, "I love Steve Martin."

The Bedford community, along with their mother's passion for theater, helped inspire the young women to pursue their dreams and follow their careers, which led them both to Hollywood.

O'Hara, their mother, was the producing director of an acting group at the former Notre Dame College, and the recipient of the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award by the New Hampshire Counsel of the Arts.

She would seek out anyone willing to step on a stage and sing, Laura Silverman said of her mother.

"She would turn people into actors," she said, adding their childhood home was lined with show posters that O'Hara directed.

Donald Silverman, the girls' father, and O'Hara divorced before the family moved into the Bedford home, but had a home close by, according to a recent interview in The Guardian.

Reminiscing about their time in Bedford, Laura Silverman described it as a brief period of innocence, kindness and fun, where everyone gathered on her mother's bed, played dress-up and ran around the backyard.

"We were the only Jewish people in this pretty conservative small town, and the kids were all completely embracing of me. Everybody was nice. I was never picked on or teased," she said.

Laura and Sarah Silverman have two other sisters - screenwriter Jodyne Silverman and Rabbi Susan Silverman, who lives overseas - and all four of them remain close today.

"It is sad, but we are all ready to move on," Laura Silverman said of the sale of the home, which officially went on the market Friday.

The three-bedroom cape is being sold for $319,000.

Since moving to California, Sarah Silverman has become a two-time Emmy Award winner. Earlier this year, she appeared in "The Lonely Island's Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping" and next year she will appear in "The Book of Henry."

Sarah made headlines this summer with her appearance at the Democratic National Convention, ridiculing supporters of former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-VT. "Bernie or Bust people, you're being ridiculous," Silverman said at the time.

Laura Silverman is now focusing on voice acting for cartoons, and recently helped write a pilot titled "Be Here Now" which she said is under review by TV networks.

khoughton@newstote.com


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