His career also spanned the film industry. In 1933 he made a film called So This is Harris for RKO. It ended up earning an Academy Award for best live action short subject.
A few years later, in 1936, Harris became the musical director for the Jack Benny Show. He sang and led the band. But he also had a speaking role as a comic Southern character. It was at this time that he became as well known for his comedy as for his musical talent. At the same time he began recording swing tunes with unusual arrangements that made his music really stand out from the crowd.
In 1941 he married Alice Faye – who he remained married to for 54 years. It was the second marriage for both, but clearly they found the right person this time around. The couple was invited to play on The Fitch Bandwagon and did so.
While the show was originally developed to highlight all kinds of swing bands, Phil and Alice became immediate fan favorites and eventually their popularity led to the show morphing into the Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.
This version of the show was a comedy that featured one song from the couple each episode. The show was incredibly popular and ran for six years. On 18th June,1954 it aired the last episode. At this time radio programs were being taken over by the dawning of the television age.
After the radio show ended, Harris continued to honor his musical roots and continued with his musical career. He made television appearances and did voiceover work including the voices of Disney characters Baloo in the Jungle Book, Thomas O’Malley in the Aristocats, and Little John in Robinhood.
On Radio Phil often made guest appearances on other shows and can be heard on The Dinah Shore Show, Kay Kyser Kollege of Musical knowledge, The Big Show and The Fred Allen Show. He also starred along with his wife Alice Faye in an episode of Suspense entitled Death On My Hands.
In his later years, Harris made generous donations to students in his hometown of Linton as well as Palm Springs where he took up residence in late adulthood. Much of his memorabilia was donated to the Linton Public Library where it can be found displayed to this day. He died of a heart attack in 1995 at 91 years of age. His wife Alice lived another 3 years after his death.