Phil Silvers was a comedic actor of Russian-Jewish descent, nicknamed as "The King of Chutzpah". He was best known for his starring role as Master Sergeant Ernest "Ernie" Bilko in the hit sitcom "The Phil Silvers Show" (1955-1959). He had roles in the comedy films "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1963), and "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum" (1967), playing respectively the characters Otto Meyer and Marcus Lycus. Silvers was a compulsive gambler, and suffered from chronic depression.
In 1911, Silvers was born in Brooklyn, New York City. He was the 8th and youngest child born to Russian-Jewish immigrants Saul Silver (alias Saul Silversmith) and Sarah Handler. Saul was a sheet metal worker who was employed in the building industry. He had helped build a number of New York City's skyscrapers.
Silver started his career as an entertainer in 1922, at the age of 11. A frequent accident at New York City's movie theaters was for their film projector to break down. Someone had