Happy Days was the only time Cathy Silvers got to work with her legendary dad Phil Silvers
Sgt. Bilko and Jenny Piccalo were related! Her twin sister appeared on Happy Days, too!
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Image: The Everett Collection
Phil Silvers made his feature film debut in 1940. Though he worked in pictures alongside legends Humphrey Bogart and Rita Hayworth, he would not become a household name in his own right until television. In the mid-'50s, few comedians had more exposure than Phil Silvers. As Sgt. Bilko on his smash sitcom The Phil Silvers Show, the Brooklyn native became one of the iconic faces of classic television. His glasses helped.
For the rest of his career, Silver because somewhat typecast as Sgt. Bilko, often playing the same kind of constantly scheming characters, whether it be his small role as Honest John on The Beverly Hillbillies or his short-lived The New Phil Silver Show, which swapped the military setting for a factory workplace.
Also recognizable in his hat and glasses, Silvers popped up in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) and Gilligan's Island.
Meanwhile, he was raising five daughters. One of them is a familiar face on MeTV. Cathy Silvers became a key cast member in later seasons of Happy Days, starring on the nostalgic sitcom from 1980–84. Her character, Jenny Piccalo, may not be the first one who comes to mind, but she did appear in the opening credits, helping fill the void after Ron Howard jumped ship.
By this time, her dad, Phil, was near the end of his career and life. He would pass away in 1985, but not until he got the chance to work alongside his daughter Cathy.
In "Just a Piccalo," Phil plays — who else — Roscoe Piccalo, Jenny's pop.
"It was magic," Cathy later recalled. "I'd always heard people talk about how exciting it was to work with my dad and I got to see why. He was really special. It was the only time we got to work together."
Yes, surprisingly, this was the only time the father-daughter combo worked together onscreen.
There's a great Silvers family joke in the script, too. "I wish she were twins!" Roscoe says of Jenny. Well, in real life, Cathy did indeed have a twin sister. And she was also on Happy Days.
Both Cathy and Candace Silvers were born on the same day in 1961. In the photo here, you can see them in strollers with the rest of the family the following year.
Candace would turn up on two Happy Days episodes, the hourlong "Home Movies" and "Affairs of the Heart." Oddly, she did not play Jenny Piccalo's sister! She played her cousin, Carla Bee. Here you can see them sharing a booth in "Home Movies."
Turns out, Happy Days was quietly a Silvers family affair!