Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Phil Silvers, "King of Chutzpah"

 Born Philip Silver, in 1911, and raised in Brooklyn, 
Phil sang in movie theatres starting at the age of 11.  
Whenever the projector would break, he was hired to stand up and sing.  
Vaudeville and Burlesque stints follow on apace!

 A shot from Cover Girl, 1944, where Phil's dancing skills shone,
here with a semi-startled Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth.

 Goofing around off-screen with
Robert Cummings and Doris Day,
during the filming of Lucky Me, 1954.

1955 brought the "Phil Silvers Show" to television,
playing Sergeant Bilko for 3 years.

 He returned to the stage in Do Re Mi, 1960...
playing Hubie Cram, here with his partners in juke-box crime,
George Mathews, George Givot, and David Burns. 

 Here with his co-star in the show,
Nancy Walker. 
Two incredible comedic actors...sharing a stage/bed.
This musta been some show.
Phil guested on several TV shows,
including Gilligan's Island, which his production company financed.
Here he is as Harold Hecuba, the director,
playing all the parts of Hamlet (Ophelia, too!) 
in a "musicalized" version.

As Pseudolus, in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum...
the 1972 Broadway Revival.
The part was written for him, though he initially turned it down, 
when they said he couldn't wear his glasses.
Guess he talked them into it!
(And won the Tony for lead actor that year...)

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