New York, New York, USA
Claim to Fame
The Phil Silvers Show
Place of Death
Century City, California, USA
Cause of Death
Profile Bio Text
Phil Silvers (May 11, 1911 – November 1, 1985) was an American entertainer and comedy actor, known as "The King of Chutzpah." He is best known for starring in The Phil Silvers Show, a 1950s sitcom set on a U.S. Army post in which he played Sergeant Bilko. Silvers became a household name in 1955 when he starred as Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko in You`ll Never Get Rich, later retitled The Phil Silvers Show. The military comedy became a huge television hit, with the opportunistic Bilko fast-talking his way through one obstacle after another. Most episodes of the series were filmed in New York. The series ceased production in 1959, not owing to any decline in popularity, but because of the high production costs of a show with a huge ensemble cast. Throughout the 1960s he appeared internationally in films such as It`s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and 40 Pounds of Trouble. He was featured in Marilyn Monroe`s last film, the unfinished Something`s Got to Give. In the 1963-1964 television season, he appeared as Harry Grafton, a factory foreman interested in get-rich-quick schemes, much like the previous Bilko character, in CBS`s 30-episode The New Phil Silvers Show, with co-stars Stafford Repp, Herbie Faye, Buddy Lester, Elena Verdugo as his sister, Audrey, and her children, played by Ronnie Dapo and Sandy Descher. In 1967 he starred as a guest in one of the British Carry On films, Follow That Camel, a Foreign Legion parody in which he played a variation of the Sergeant Nooker character. Producer Peter Rogers employed him to ensure the Carry On films` success in America. His salary was £30,000, the largest Carry On salary ever, only later met by the appearance of Elke Sommer in Carry On Behind. Silvers` presence did not ensure the film`s success on either side of the Atlantic.
In 1972, Silvers suffered a stroke from which he never fully recovered. Despite his poor health, he continued working into the early 1980s including an appearance on Fantasy Island as an old comic trying to reunite with his old partner, and on Happy Days as the father of "Jenny Piccolo" (played by his real-life daughter Cathy Silvers). A frail Silvers, interviewed before his death, revealed one of his secrets: "I’m an impatient comedian. And I feel the audience is as impatient as me." Silvers died on November 1, 1985 in Century City, California at the age of 74. The cause of death was a heart attack. He was interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
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Rags Ragland, Judy Garland, Johnny Mercer
Phil Silvers (May 11, 1911 – November 1, 1985) was an American entertainer and comedy actor, known as "The King of Chutzpah". He is best known for starring in The Phil Silvers Show, a 1950s sitcom set on a U.S. Army post in which he played Master Sergeant Ernest (Ernie) Bilko.
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