Phil Silvers 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.
Born Philip Silver on Thursday, May 11, 1911, in Brooklyn, New York, he was the eighth and youngest child of Russian-Jewish immigrants, Saul and Sarah Silver. His siblings were Lillian, Harry, Jack, Saul, Pearl, Michael, and Reuben Silver. His father, a sheet metal worker, helped build the early New York skyscrapers.
Silvers started entertaining at age 11, when he would sing in theaters when the projector broke down. Two years later, he left school to sing professionally, before appearing in vaudeville as a stooge.
Silvers then landed work in short films for the Vitaphone studio, burlesque houses, and on Broadway, where he made his debut in the short-lived show Yokel Boy. Critics raved about Silvers, who was hailed as the bright spot in the mediocre play. He then wrote the revue High Kickers, until he went to Hollywood to appear in films.