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 suffered a stroke during the run of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in August 1972. He was left with slurred speech. Despite his poor health, he continued working, playing Harry Starman in the 1974 "Horror in the Heights" episode of The Night Stalker starring Darren McGavin. His guest appearances would continue into the early 1980s including co-starring in 1977's The Chicken Chronicles, 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 daughter Cathy Silvers). In 1978 Silvers played the cab driver "Hoppy" in The Cheap Detective. In his cab, Silvers can be heard (three words) and seen turning his head towards the camera and breaking into a smile at the end of the movie, immediately prior to Falk entering "Hoppy's" cab. His final appearance was in an episode of CHiPs in 1983.
A frail Silvers, interviewed shortly 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 in his sleep on November 1, 1985 in Century City, California. "Mr. Silvers's family said he died of natural causes." He was interred at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.