Phil Silvers


Actor, Comedian
Phil Silvers

About

Also Known As
Philip Silversmith
Birth Place
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Born
May 11, 1911
Died
November 01, 1985
Cause of Death
Natural Causes

Biography

Bespectacled vaudevillian who made his feature debut in the early 1940s and established himself as an engaging comic character player in films such as "You're in the Army Now" (1942), "Cover Girl" (1944) and "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World" (1963). Best known as the wily "Sergeant Bilko" in the popular 1950s TV series, "The Phil Silvers Show."...

Family & Companions

Jo Carroll Dennison
Wife
Was 1942 Miss America; married in 1945; divorced in 1950.
Evelyn Patrick
Wife
Actor. Married in 1956; divorced; mother of Silvers' daughters.

Bibliography

"The Laugh Is on Me"
Phil Silvers (1973)

Biography

Bespectacled vaudevillian who made his feature debut in the early 1940s and established himself as an engaging comic character player in films such as "You're in the Army Now" (1942), "Cover Girl" (1944) and "It's A Mad Mad Mad Mad World" (1963). Best known as the wily "Sergeant Bilko" in the popular 1950s TV series, "The Phil Silvers Show."

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980)
There Goes the Bride (1979)
Psychiatrist
Goldie and the Boxer (1979)
The Cheap Detective (1978)
The Chicken Chronicles (1977)
Max Ober
The New Love Boat (1977)
Morris Beckman
Night They Took Miss Beautiful (1977)
Won Ton Ton, The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
The Strongest Man in the World (1975)
The Boatniks (1970)
Harry Simmons
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1969)
Phil Newman
Follow That Camel (1968)
Sergeant Nocker
A Guide for the Married Man (1967)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966)
Lycus
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Otto Meyer
Forty Pounds of Trouble (1963)
Bernie Friedman
Lucky Me (1954)
Hap Snyder
Top Banana (1954)
Jerry Biffle
Summer Stock (1950)
Herb Blake
If I'm Lucky (1946)
Wally Jones
A Thousand and One Nights (1945)
Abdullah
Don Juan Quilligan (1945)
Mac Denny
Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe (1945)
Blinkie Miller
Take It or Leave It (1944)
Himself
Four Jills in a Jeep (1944)
Sgt. Eddie Hart
Something for the Boys (1944)
Harry Hart
Cover Girl (1944)
Genius
A Lady Takes a Chance (1943)
Smiley Lambert
Coney Island (1943)
Frankie
All Through the Night (1942)
Waiter
Footlight Serenade (1942)
Slap
Roxie Hart (1942)
Babe
My Gal Sal (1942)
Wiley
Just Off Broadway (1942)
Roy Higgins
Lady Be Good (1941)
Master of ceremonies
The Wild Man of Borneo (1941)
Murdock
The Penalty (1941)
Hobo
Tom, Dick and Harry (1941)
Ice cream man
Ice-Capades (1941)
Larry Herman
You're in the Army Now (1941)
[Brewster] "Breezy" Jones
Hit Parade of 1941 (1940)
Charles Moore
Strike Up the Band (1940)
Pitch man

Music (Feature Film)

Bridge of Spies (2015)
Song
American Pop (1981)
Song

Cast (Special)

Marilyn Monroe: The Final Days (2001)
Ted Knight Musical Comedy Variety Special Special (1976)
City vs. Country (1971)
Plimpton! Did You Hear the One About...? (1971)
Eddie (1971)
Eddie Skinner
Phil Silvers in New York (1963)
Host
Summer in New York (1960)
Host
Just Polly and Me (1960)
Host
The Ballad of Louie the Louse (1959)
Louie; Loan Shark
The Phil Silvers Pontiac Special: Keep in Step (1959)
Host
Hollywood Star Revue (1948)
Guest

Cast (Short)

Ups and Downs (1937)
Jack Haley in 'Success' (1931)

Life Events

1934

Joined Minsky's burlesque toupe

1939

Broadway debut, "Yokel Boy"

1939

Signed to seven-year contract at MGM

1940

Film debut as a priest in "Pride and Prejudice"

1940

First major film, "Hit Parade of 1941"

1944

Acted in "Cover Girl"

1947

Starred in the musical "High Button Shoes"

1950

Played featured role in "Summer Stock"

1951

Had lead in the Broadway musical "Top Banana"; received Tony Award

1953

Reprised role in film version of "Top Banana"

1954

Last film for nearly a decade, "Lucky Me"

1955

Became a TV star with "You'll Never Get Rich/The Phil Silvers Show/Sgt Bilko" (CBS)

1960

Returned to Broadway in the musical "Do Re Mi"

1963

Resumed film career with "40 Pounds of Trouble" and "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World"

1968

Co-starred in "Buona Sera, Mrs Campbell"

1971

Had lead in the comedy "How the Other Half Loves"

1972

Earned second Tony Award starring in the revival of "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum"

1975

Appeared in the Disney film "The Strongest Man in the World"

1978

Acted in "The Cheap Detective", scripted by Neil Simon

1980

Final features "There Goes the Bride" and "The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood"

2000

Posthumously honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (November)

Photo Collections

Top Banana - Lobby Card Set
Here is a set of lobby cards from Top Banana (1954) starring Phil Silvers, a filmed record of the popular burlesque revue which was also shot (but not released) in 3-D.

Videos

Movie Clip

All Through The Night (1942) - Miracle On 48th Street Future TV stars William Demarest, Phil Silvers and Jackie Gleason in the opening scene, when their ringleader Gloves (Humphrey Bogart) appears, sidekick Barney (Frank McHugh) joining, ex-actor Vincent Sherman directing, in Warner Bros' gangster-comedy-propaganda hybrid All Through The Night, 1942.
Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, A - Comedy Tonight! Director Richard Lester with the opening tune, as catchy as any in composer Stephen Sondheim's catalog, delivered with the credits by star Zero Mostel as slave "Pseudolus," who gets caught by his owners (Michael Hordern, Patricia Jessel), in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, 1966.
Thousand And One Nights, A (1945) - No Man May Gaze Upon The Princess Following the opening in which they got in trouble in the market in Baghdad, Alladin (Cornel Wilde) and Abdullah (Phil Silvers) are hiding when the Princess Armina (Adele Jergens) happens to be carried along, wooing ensuing, in Columbia’s A Thousand And One Nights, 1945, also starring Evelyn Keyes.
Thousand And One Nights, A (1945) - Is There Anything You Want? At last the introduction of sassy genie Babs (Evelyn Keyes, who shared top billing), well into the fourth reel, as Alladin (Cornel Wilde) and Abdullah (Phil Silvers) are stuck in a cave, left only with the lamp they fear is not magical, with more modern-day comic posturing, in Columbia’s big-budget A Thousand And One Nights, 1945.
Thousand And One Nights, A (1945) - I Could Have Sworn That Was Lana Turner Opening the pricey Columbia Technicolor feature, Phil Silvers is the bespectacled oddball Abdullah, the real Lana Turner in a cameo, then Cornel Wilde as the hunky Alladin, his vocal dubbed by Tom Clark, song by Saul Chaplin and Eddie de Lange, in A Thousand And One Nights, 1945, also starring Adele Jergens and Evelyn Keyes.
Four Jills In A Jeep (1943) - You Look Like Somebody I've Seen Just arrived on a base in England, in a story supposedly based on their own real experience on USO tours, Kay Francis, sparky Martha Raye, blonde Carole Landis and Mitzi Mayfair get collected by their minder Eddie (Phil Silvers), and meet handsome flier Ted (John Harvey), early in Four Jills In A Jeep, 1943.
Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, A - Was One A Good Year? Bumbling Roman patrician teen Hero (Michael Crawford) launches himself toward a girl he admires, meeting his family slave Pseudolus (Zero Mostel), and together they agree to visit the bordello run by Lycus (Phil Silvers), early in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, 1966.
Lucky Me (1954) - High Hopes Out of work and forced to take hotel kitchen jobs, song and dance team Candy, Flo, Duke and Hap (Doris Day, Nancy Walker, Phil Silvers and Eddie Foy Jr.,) with a number by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, Leroy Prinz with choreography, in the Warner Bros. musical Lucky Me, 1954.
Lucky Me (1954) - Sing Like An Angel Doris Day as showgirl "Candy," tune by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, pitching for composer boyfriend Brad (Robert Cummings) to financier Thayer (Bill Goodwin), the brunette extra in evening gown, jacket and gloves Angie Dickinson, in her first movie scene, Warner Bros. Lucky Me, 1954.
Top Banana (1954) - Unsolicilated! Quick thinking TV comic Jerry Biffle (Phil Silvers) deals with an unhappy sponsor with help from lackeys (Joey Faye, Herbie Faye) in the movie adaptation of Silvers' Broadway hit Top Banana, 1954.
Top Banana (1954) - Title Song Phil Silvers (as un-hinged TV comic Jerry Biffle) with his posse (Herbie Faye, Joey Faye, Jack Albertson, Johnny Coy) performs the Johnny Mercer title tune in the 1954 movie version of Silvers' stage hit Top Banana.
Top Banana (1954) - Open, Man of the Year Johnny Mercer music and lyrics in the opening number, from Phil Silvers' movie adaptation of his hit Broadway show about the egotistical TV comic Jerry Biffle, Top Banana, 1954.

Trailer

Penalty, The (1940) - (Original Trailer) Federal agents use a gangster's son to catch him in The Penalty (1941) starring Edward Arnold and Lionel Barrymore.
Lady Be Good - (Original Trailer) None of the plot but all of the Gershwin songs like "Fascinatin' Rhythm" in MGM's version of Lady Be Good (1941).
Roxie Hart - (Original teaser trailer) To try and kick-start her show-business career, a woman (Ginger Rogers) admits to a Chicago murder in Roxie Hart (1942).
All Through the Night - (Original Trailer) A criminal gang turns patriotic to track down a Nazi spy ring in All Through the Night (1942) starring Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre.
Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell - (Original Trailer) Gina Lollobrigida leads three U.S. veterans to believe each is the father of her child in Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968).
Wild Man of Borneo, The - (Original Trailer) Frank Morgan is a turn-of-the-century con man hawking The Wild Man of Borneo (1941) in this MGM comedy.
Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, A -- (Original Trailer) A madcap musical set in ancient Rome starring Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Michael Crawford and silent era comic Buster Keaton in a cameo appearance.
Summer Stock - (Original Trailer) A farmer gets sucked into show business when a theatrical troupe invades her farm in Summer Stock (1950) starring Judy Garland & Gene Kelly.
Strike Up The Band - (Original Trailer) A high-school band sets out to win a national radio contest in Strike Up the Band (1940) starring Judy Garland & Mickey Rooney.
Lucky Me - (Original Trailer) Doris Day stars in the musical Lucky Me (1954) about a stranded musical troupe that takes jobs cleaning a hotel.
You're In The Army Now - (Re-issue Trailer) Phil Silvers first joined the Army with buddy Jimmy Durante in the comedy You're In The Army Now (1941) co-starring Jane Wyman.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World - (Original Trailer) A group of greedy clowns tear up the countryside in search of buried treasure in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) featuring an all-star cast including Spencer Tracy, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle & Jonathan Winters.

Family

Harry Silversmith
Brother
Manager. Older.
Tracey Edythe Silvers
Daughter
Cathy Silvers
Daughter
Actor.
Nancy Silvers
Daughter
Candace Silvers
Daughter

Companions

Jo Carroll Dennison
Wife
Was 1942 Miss America; married in 1945; divorced in 1950.
Evelyn Patrick
Wife
Actor. Married in 1956; divorced; mother of Silvers' daughters.

Bibliography

"The Laugh Is on Me"
Phil Silvers (1973)