‘Happy Days’ Star Cathy Silvers’ Father Starred on Another Classic Sitcom

by Maria Hartfield

Happy Days actress Cathy Silvers followed in her father’s footsteps when it comes to her acting career. Cathy’s dad, Phil Silvers is best known for his role as Sgt. Bilko. Additionally, he’s an iconic American entertainer and comedian.

The Phil Silvers Show oftentimes referred to as Sergeant Bilko is a sitcom that ran on CBS from 1955 to 1959. It starred Phil Silvers as Master Sergeant Ernest G. Bilko of the United States Army.

Cathy played the boy obsessed teenager known as Jenny Piccolo in the later episodes of Happy Days. She rose to fame overnight playing Joanie Cunningham’s best friend in seasons 8-10 of the series. She was only 19 at the time. Additionally, she played Molly in Foley Square and Coral in Cleghorne! as well as a handful of guest-starring roles in Punky Brewster and Wings. Most recently, she starred in the 1996 film Encino Woman. The talented actress went on to achieve success beyond Hollywood. She wrote a book titled Happy Days Healthy Living and is the owner of a Healthy Living Organic Food Business.

The successful actress and author grew up learning the ropes from her equally talented father, Phil Silvers. Silvers also referred to as “The King of Chutzpah”, boasts a decorated resume spanning nearly 60 years. Throughout his career he received multiple awards including two Primetime Emmy Awards for his work on The Phil Silvers Show and two Tony Awards for his performances in Top Banana and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Cathy Silvers’ Pulls Inspiration from Dad

Cathy said her mom wasn’t a fan of Silvers or any of her sisters’ Hollywood pursuit until after they finished college, she revealed in an interview with Express. However, Phil Silvers fame along with his famous friends had a better idea.

Cathy noted to Express that she found her agency thanks to a “great family friend” named Dudley Moore. Moore came to see Cathy in a play during her freshman year and was eager to help boost her career.

Phil’s career continued to soar bringing inspiration to his daughter. Part of that is due to his appearance in one 1981 episode of Happy Days where he played Jenny’s dad, Roscoe Piccalo.

Apparently, Phil’s short time on Happy Days was a total secret from Cathy. Phil and the show’s writers decided it was best to keep it a secret.

“At the read-through, I heard this, ‘Ay ay ay up’—dad’s line from Sgt. Bilko—and I thought, ‘Someone doing’s Dad.’ Then Dad walked on the stage and everyone stopped still,” she said. “The writers were on their knees—he was their idol. It was wonderful and they had it all planned as a surprise for me!”