Phil Silvers - Rotten Tomatoes

Phil Silvers



Growing up in the squalid Brownsville section of Brooklyn, Phil Silvers used his excellent tenor voice and facility for cracking jokes to escape a life of poverty. He was discovered as a young teen by vaudevillian Gus Edwards who hired him to perform in his schoolroom act. Silvers' singing career ended when his voice changed at 16, whereupon he took acting jobs in various touring vaudeville sketches. During his subsequent years in burlesque, he befriended fellow comic Herbie Faye, with whom he would work off and on for the rest of his career. While headlining in burlesque, Silvers was signed to star in the 1939 Broadway musical comedy Yokel Boy. This led to film work, first in minor roles, then as comedy relief in such splashy 1940s musicals as Coney Island (1943) and Cover Girl (1944). Silvers became popular if not world famous with his trademark shifty grin, horn-rimmed glasses, balding pate, and catchphrases like "Gladda see ya!" He returned to Broadway in 1947, where he starred as a turn-of-the-century con man in the Jule Styne-Sammy Cahn musical High Button Shoes. In 1950, he scored another stage success as a Milton Berle-like TV comedian in Top Banana, which won him the Tony and Donaldson Awards. From 1955 through 1959, Silvers starred as the wheeling-dealing Sgt. Ernie Bilko on the hit TV series You'll Never Get Rich, for which he collected five Emmy awards. Upon the demise of this series, Silvers stepped into another success, the 1960 Styne-Comden-Green Broadway musical Do Re Mi. The failure of his 1963 sitcom The New Phil Silvers Show marked a low point in his career, but the ever scrappy Silvers bounced back again to appear in films and TV specials. In 1971, he starred in a revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (nine years after turning down the original 1962 production because he felt the show "wouldn't go anywhere."). He collected yet another Tony for his efforts -- then suffered a severe stroke in August of 1972. While convalescing, Silvers wrote his very candid autobiography, The Laugh Is on Me. He recovered to the extent that he could still perform, but his speech was slurred and his timing was gone. Still, Silvers was beloved by practically everyone in show business, so he never lacked for work. Phil Silvers was the father of actress Cathy Silvers, best known for her supporting work on the TV series Happy Days.

Filmography

MOVIES

RATING TITLE CREDIT YEAR
No Score Yet There Goes the Bride
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Bob Hope - Hope for the Holidays
  • Actor
2004
No Score Yet Gene Kelly - Anatomy of a Dancer
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Surviving Gilligan's Island
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Judy Garland, Robert Goulet & Phil Silvers Special
  • Actor
2002
No Score Yet Hidden Hollywood, Vol. 2: More Treasures From the 20th Century Fox Vaults
  • Actor
2000
No Score Yet The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (Hollywood Blue)
  • Actor
1980
No Score Yet There Goes the Bride
  • Psychiatrist
1980
No Score Yet Racquet
  • Arthur Sargent
1979
50% The Cheap Detective
  • Hoppy
1978
No Score Yet The Chicken Chronicles
  • Max Ober
1977
No Score Yet Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood
  • Murray Fromberg
1976
No Score Yet The Strongest Man in the World
  • Krinkle
1975
No Score Yet Kolchak: The Night Stalker
  • Actor
  • Director
1974
No Score Yet The Boatniks
  • Harry Simmons
1970
No Score Yet Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell
  • Phil Newman
1968
67% A Guide for the Married Man
  • Technical Advisor
1967
No Score Yet Carry On... Follow That Camel (Carry on in the Legion)
  • Sgt. Nocker
1967
83% A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
  • Lycus
1966
75% It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
  • Otto Meyer
1963
No Score Yet 40 Pounds of Trouble
  • Bernie
1963
No Score Yet Judy Garland Special
  • Actor
1963
No Score Yet Lucky Me
  • Hap Snyder
1954
No Score Yet Top Banana
  • Jerry Biffle
1954
No Score Yet Summer Stock
  • Herb Blake
1950
No Score Yet If I'm Lucky
  • Wallingham M. 'Wally' Jones
1946
No Score Yet A Thousand and One Nights
  • Abdullah
1945
No Score Yet Something for the Boys
  • Harry Hart
1944
94% Cover Girl
  • Genius
1944
No Score Yet Four Jills in a Jeep
  • Eddie
1944
No Score Yet A Lady Takes a Chance
  • Smiley Lambert
1943
No Score Yet My Gal Sal
  • Wiley
1942
No Score Yet Footlight Serenade
  • Slap
1942
89% Roxie Hart
  • Babe
1942
100% All Through the Night
  • Waiter
1941
No Score Yet Lady Be Good
  • M.C.
1941
100% Tom, Dick and Harry
  • Ice Cream Man
1941
No Score Yet Strike Up the Band
  • Pitchman
1940
No Score Yet Phil Silvers Show, The: The Collector's Edition
  • Actor

Quotes from Phil Silvers' Characters

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