Cathy Silvers is so much like Jenny Piccalo that ''it’s frightening''

Her first day on set of Happy Days, she was so nervous, Fonzie had to lift her off the ground and hold her to stop her shaking.

The Everett Collection

For seven seasons, Jenny Piccalo was a ghost on Happy Days, the friend who serves as a bad influence on Joanie who is mentioned but never seen.

When it came time for the audience to finally meet Jenny Piccalo in the flesh, a young unknown actor named Cathy Silvers was chosen for the part. Nobody knew her face, but everybody in Hollywood knew her last name.

Silvers' dad was Phil Silvers, one of the first major classic TV stars on his hit show The Phil Silvers Show where he famously played Sgt. Bilko.

Cathy felt she had learned comedy at her father’s knee, because he was so funny around the house and always pushing his five daughters to return his sharp wit with barbs of their own.

But Cathy had never acted on TV before, having just been cast in her first college play when her mother invited along actor Dudley Moore to catch her performance. Moore was so impressed, he hooked Cathy up with his agent who within two weeks got her signed as Jenny Piccalo on Happy Days.

It was a whirlwind, and Cathy told Gannett News Service in 1985 that she was not prepared for her closeup.

"When I did my first show on Happy Days, I was shaking so hard Henry Winkler had to take me in his arms and literally lift me off the ground and just hold me, to stop my body from shaking," Cathy said. "It was pitiful … everyone was welcoming, and of course it got much better after awhile. But nobody could’ve helped me that first year. I was – very nervous."

Once Cathy shook the nerves, she fell into the role easily, in part because she said there wasn’t that much difference between playing Jenny Piccalo and being herself.

"Jenny was so like me it’s frightening … honest, obnoxious and with an answer for everything," Cathy said.

In an interview with The Washington Post in 1981, a year into her time on Happy Days, Cathy described Jenny as "a trouble-causer, a boy-chaser, a loudmouth who chews a lot of gum. She’s real spunky."

Now we know that Joanie’s worst influence as a friend actually existed in real life offscreen as Cathy Silvers saw herself in this spunky character.

Silvers played Jenny Piccalo from 1980 to Happy Days' end in 1984, and by 1981, she’d finally relaxed into the part, no longer shaking in front of Fonzie and even starting to enjoy her time with Fonzie and the gang onset.

"It is fun to play Jenny, because there’s so much room for growth," Cathy told The Washington Post. "I would like to make her into a more settled human being, a more normal girl. I’d like to calm her down as she gets into the show."

Growing up as Phil Silvers’ daughter, Cathy said it was her dad who helped her grow as an actor and conquer her nerves, but maybe not in the way you might expect.

"My dad told me, 'Use your nerves and your adrenalin for your performance. Don’t fight it. Use it,'" Cathy told The Tampa Tribune in 1986. "So I keep that in mind. It makes a big difference."

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bagandwallyfan52 33 months ago
Happy Days Fans:
Does anyone know any
Chuck Cunningham Jokes or
Fonzie Jokes or Jenny Piccalo
Jokes OR ANY HAPPY DAYS Jokes?!?!
bagandwallyfan52 34 months ago
Tough Happy Days Question
Watch episodes of Happy Days
With Moose(Barry Greenberg)
Eugene Belvin (Dens Mandel)
And Melvn Belvin(Scott Bernstein )and see if anyone
Knows what MOOSE
See if you can figure out
Have on common on
Happy Days.
The answer to what do
Have in common is one
Word and the word starts
With the letter G.
This question might be
Easy or Tough.
bagandwallyfan52 34 months ago
Jenny Piccalo (Cathy Silvers)
Was a wonderful character on
Happy Days.
The Episode of Happy Days
The episode of Happy Days
Which is the episode with the
Last Appearance of
METV on Thursday OCTOBER
7 2021 ...
bagandwallyfan52 34 months ago
JENNY LOVES EUGENE would have been a fantastic spin off
Show with Jenny Piccalo(Cathy
Silvers) and EUGENE BELVIN
(Denis Mandel).
Eugene Belvin was the guy in
Fonzie's auto shop who had
A crush on Jenny Piccalo.
On one episodes of Happy Days
Jenny Piccalo wanted a guy
Named BINGO from Chachis
Band to be her boyfriend.
Jenny liked Eugene when
Fonzie arranged a fight
Between Eugene and a tough
Guy named Lou at Vinnie's
Restaurant. Eugene Belvin turned into a wild guy when
Lou started hurting Chachi.
Jenny said to Eugene that
He was wonderful when
Eugene "knocked out " Lou.
Jenny Piccalo said to Eugene Belvin " Call me "/
Eugene then yelled out JENNY!
And then Jenny said " On the
Telephone Eugene!!
And Chuck would also have
Been great spin off shows
With Melvin Belvin Scott Bernstein and KC Cunningham
Crystal Bernard and Roger.Phillips (Ted McGinley)
And Chuck Cunningham 2
(Randolph Roberts as basketball
Coach and Chuck Cunningham
As assistant basketball coach.
Oldielover 34 months ago
I always wondered why they finally put a face to the famous name with no face....She was okay,but the show really turned into a stinker by the time she got on it....Should have kept her faceless.
Coldnorth 34 months ago
I wondered why the wholesome Cunningham’s would allow Joanie to hang around with loose Jenny. Such a bad influence on pure joanie
MrsPhilHarris 34 months ago
To be honest I don’t really remember her on the show. I think I had stopped watching it.
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Jenny Piccalo (Cathy Silvers) Roger Phillips (Ted
McGinley) Eugene Belvin (Denis Mandel) Melvin Belvin (Scott Bernstein)
Bobby Melner(Harris Kal)
K. C. Cunningham(Crystal
Bernard) Flip Phillips (Billy
Warlock)Ashley(Linda Purl)
Heather(Heather O'Rourke)
And Tommy Sullivan)/were
All great characters on
Happy Days but Happy Days would have been
Wonderful Wonderful
Wonderful if the following
Cast Members Had Stayed
On HAPPY Days instead of
Disappearing With No
Chuck Cunningham:
Ràndolph Roberts OR
Gavan O'Herlihy
Bag Zombroski:
Neil J. Schwartz
Spike :Danny Butch
Moose:Bàrry Greenberg
Trudy:Tita Bell
Wendy:Misty Rowe
Marsha Simms: Beatrice Colen
Also Officer Kirk(Ed Peck)
Was an interesting antagonist or villain on
Happy Days. The Happy
Days episode where Officer
Kirk tried to run Fonzie out
Of town and later Richie
Potsie Ralph and everyone else showed up in leather
Jackets was very funny.
Also I wish that METV
Would add The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet Alice
And I Dream of Jeanne
To the METV line up.
Rick Nelson sang great
Songs and Wally Plumstead (Skip Young) and Ginger
(Charlene Salerno) and
Everyone else in the cast
Were all COOL and Fantastic.The writers of
The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet NEVER did say
What Ozzie Nelson did for
A living .
One of the funniest episodes of I Dream of Jeanne was the episode
Where Jeanne(Barbara
Eden) ADDED a 13th floor
To a hotel.Marvin Kaplan
Of Alice played a bellhop
At the hotel and everyone
Went bonkers trying to
Figure out where the 13Th
Floor came from.
One of the funniest episodes of Alice was the
Episode where Mel had a
Contest called Spell Mel
To compete with Freddie
And his Spell Fteddie Contest. Doug(Douglas
Robinson ) kept winning
French Fries and Henry
(Marvin Kaplan)"Won" the
3000 dollars in Mel's
Ripoff content Spell Mel's.
One of the funniest episodes of Green Acres
Was the episode where
Hooterville found expenditure jewelry in
Boxes of Crickley Wickley
Cereal and the only prize
Oliver Douglas(Eddie Albert ) won was a photo of baseball player Yogi Berra.
Doris Ziffel also got the Yogi Berra baseball card.
Also on the Crickley Wickley episode of Green Acres Alan Hale Jr (Gilligan's Island) did a
Good job playing the
Sheriff and AL Molinaro
(Happy Days)/ played a
Crook and Anthony Caruso
Who played the other crook looks a lot like
Bruce Gordon(Frank Nitti)
On The Untouhables
That was a funny episode.
Michael 34 months ago
One neat casting for Cathy Silvers was in "Sgt. Bilko", the movie with Steve Martin. 11 years after he father died, she's in a film that derives from her father's work.
texasluva 34 months ago
Trivia- She is a twin. Her sister, Candace Silvers, appeared with her in an episode of Happy Days and works as an acting coach in Los Angeles.

Personal quote- Sons and daughters of doctors, dentists and lawyers go to their fathers' offices. I went to movie and stage sets. I went to Beverly Hills High School and most of my friends' parents were in the business, too. Milton Berle lived next door to us and Lucille Ball lived at the end of the block. I grew up thinking acting was what everyone did.
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MrsPhilHarris texasluva 34 months ago
Fun movie! 👻
texasluva MrsPhilHarris 34 months ago
Just wait till I do a real scary one and you in hiding , October coming

Ha ha (you).
bagandwallyfan52 texasluva 34 months ago
CLUE are also Good Movies.
LoveMETV22 34 months ago
Cathy's dad Phil Silvers appeared with her in S9-E8 Just a Piccalo.
Andybandit 34 months ago
Nice story. I never cared for the Jenny Piccolo character. I thought she was annoying. Sorry about that.
daDoctah 34 months ago
Another surprising case of a daughter showing up on a sitcom was when they gave "cousin Larry" a girlfriend on "Perfect Strangers". Starting in season two, Melanie Wilson was added as "Jennifer". Melanie is the daughter of Dick Wilson ("Mr Whipple").
texasluva daDoctah 34 months ago
Wow! I wonder how she felt when her father was squeezing the Charmin . Good info.
texasluva 34 months ago
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daDoctah stephaniestavr5 34 months ago
Dad Dick Wilson often played an unnamed drunk on "Bewitched", usually when Darrin would leave the house and visit a bar to try and come to terms with all the chaos in a house overrun with witches. He was one of only four cast members to return in the sequel series "Tabitha" (the others were Bernard Fox, George Tobias and Sandra Gould. True to his crossover, Wilson was a neighbor in Tabitha's apartment building who was often a little tipsy.
daDoctah 34 months ago
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texasluva 34 months ago
I can understand Cathy Silvers (Jenny Piccalo). I get nervous just giving a speech let alone acting in a scene. I'm probably known as a small time trouble maker here with some of the antics I pull. Though fun of course no where near the Pun master JJ who's at the top of his game. I am like the undercard Like one of the Last Mohicans. A dwindling breed
LoveMETV22 texasluva 34 months ago
You are humble. True JJ is the Pun Master, but You are the Quiz Master. I can think of several others who would say the same.
texasluva 34 months ago
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texasluva stephaniestavr5 34 months ago
Now that can depend on who you see in their underwear
Coldnorth texasluva 34 months ago
I would have gotten seared corneas if I saw my brother-in-law in his tighty whites. Lol
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