From age 13 he sang in vaudeville, and a few years later was featured in some musical two-reelers. In 1934 Silvers joined Minsky's burlesque troop as a comedian. He began appearing in feature films as comic relief in 1940 and was quite busy onscreen through 1945, usually playing the hero's friend; after 1945 his film work was much less frequent, but he continued appearing onscreen through the early '80s. In 1951 he starred on Broadway in the musical comedy Top Banana, later reprising his role in the play's screen version (1954). In the late '50s Silvers was extremely popular as Sgt. Bilko on the TV sitcom "You'll Never Get Rich" (later re-titled "The Phil Silvers Show"), for which he won an Emmy Award. He authored an autobiography, The Laugh Is On Me (1973).