News: Ernest Borgnine 1917-2012

By Mark Saldana

In a year when so many talents of music, television and film have passed; Hollywood was dealt another devastating loss. Ernest Borgnine, legendary television and movie actor, died on Sunday, July 8 at the age of 95 due to kidney failure.  Borgnine has quite the prolific resume as an actor. IMDB.com lists 203 titles under his name. He had just completed a starring role in a comedy/Western titled The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez.  Borgnine never ever really slowed down.  Since he began acting in 1951, he has consistently made appearances in TV shows and/or movies annually up until this year.  I truly believe had he not fallen so seriously ill and died, that he would have continued acting.

Born Ermes Effron Borgnino in Hamden Connecticut to Italian immigrants, Borgnine didn’t actively pursue acting until after a ten year stint in the U.S. Navy.  Not knowing what to do with his life following his military service, Borgnine followed his mother’s advice to seek out a career in entertainment. He received his big break in 1953, with a role as Sgt. “Fatso” Judson in From Here to Eternity.  In 1955 Borgnine won the Best Actor Oscar for his starring role in Marty. Known as a dependable character actor, he would continue to receive work in both television and film.

In 1962, he gained the starring role on McHale’s Navy, a television sitcom that lasted four seasons.  Borgnine would gain notoriety much later in his career co-starring opposite Jan Michael Vincent in the series Airwolf during the 1980s.  Throughout his long spanning career, Borgnine would alternate between television and film, starring in movies such as The Poseidon Adventure, The Black Hole and Escape from New York, as well as TV appearances in Little House on the Prairie, Magnum P.I., voiceover work in The Simpsons, SpongeBob SquarePants and an Emmy nominated performance in ER.

It gave me great pleasure to see Borgnine appear in the movie Red.  That would be the last time I would see him on the big screen.  I must say it was always a comforting pleasure to see his lovable mug still working after all these years. That’s why it pains me a little to know that he will no longer grace us with his presence.  Ernest Borgnine was survived by his wife Tova, as well as three daughters and one son.  Rest in peace, big lug.

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