Phil Silvers

Phil Silvers (May 11, 1911 in Brooklyn, New York City; † November 1, 1985 in Century City, Los Angeles, California ) was an American entertainer and actor, especially in comedies. His nickname was The King of Chutzpha ( "king of chutzpah ").


Silvers was born as Philip Silver, the youngest of eight children. The Russian-Jewish family was poor, his father was one of the workers who built the first New York skyscraper. Silvers began with entertainment at the early age of eleven he sang in movie theaters when the film shows had to be interrupted once again due to the unreliable projectors.

Two years later, he left school to become a professional singer and performing in vaudeville shows. He debuted on Broadway in the show Yokel Boy and immediately got rave reviews. For his performances, especially in musicals and comedies, he won two Tony Awards: in 1952 for the first Banana Top, the second in 1972 for A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

From 1940, he starred in Hollywood films for MGM, Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox, of course, mostly in comedies, but dramas. In 1955, he created his most famous role, Sergeant Bilko in the Phil Silvers Show, a gambler and womanizer who is in need of money notorious and is constantly working on new tricks and scams to get money. 2003 The Phil Silvers Show on BBC Guide to Television Comedy was named best sitcom of all time.

In the 1960s, Silvers stepped into the comedies A totally, totally crazy world ( It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World) and Toll overdone it the ancient Romans (A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum ) on. He was a regular guest appearances in the TV shows of Carol Burnett and Dean Martin. 1967 Silvers stepped into a film of the British Carry On series on, Carry on - In the desert, no water flows ( Follow That Camel ). He received 30,000 pounds for the film, one of the highest amounts ever received the one actor in the series, but the strip was not a commercial success.

Silvers was a close friend of Frank Sinatra; among other things, he accompanied Sinatra in spring 1945 on its first tour abroad to Canada, Morocco, Algeria and Italy. To a melody composer Jimmy Van Heusen he texted 1943, the first dedicated to Van Heusens wife song Bessy ( With The Laughing Face ), the piece adapted then briefly for the actress Betsy Blair, and finally revised the text to the fourth anniversary of Sinatra's daughter Nancy June 1944. When Nancy ( With The Laughing Face ) it was a most successful of Sinatra's recordings of the 1940s.

How many comedians Silvers was not a happy person privately. He suffered from depression and was addicted to gambling. Although Silvers was very ill in the last years of his life, he still continued to perform in films and on television. Noteworthy is a cameo appearance in Happy Days as the father of Jenny Piccolo character, played by Silvers real daughter Cathy Silvers. 1973 Silvers published his autobiography.

Silvers on stage

Filmography (selection)