Oscar-Winning Actor Ernest Borgnine Dies at 95

Best known for roles in "McHale's Navy'' and ``From Here To Eternity,'' Ernest Borgnine died Sunday.

Ernest Borgnine, an Academy Award-winning actor who played a burly, bawdy Navy PT boat commander on ``McHale's Navy,'' died today in Los Angeles, his publicist said. He was 95.

Publicist Harry Flynn revealed that Borgnine died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

The winner of a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild, Borgnine was in movies and on TV from the early 1950s until recently. He shot to internet fame in 2008 when he answered a morning TV host's question about how he stayed healthy by crediting his vigor to frequent exercise of a most-personal nature.

Born Ermes Borgnine in Connecticut in 1917 to Italian immigrant parents, he turned to acting after a 10-year career in the U.S. Navy he finished at the end of World War II.

Borgnine worked the boards on Broadway before appearing on a 1951 kids TV show, ``Captain Video And His Video Rangers.'' He appeared on dozens of live
TV shows in the dawning age of television.

His big Hollywood break was ``From Here To Eternity'' in 1953, where he memorably beat up Frank Sinatra.

His starring role in ``Marty,'' as a very simple love-struck man, a butcher by trade, was hailed as the first time mainstream America embraced a leading character with mental difficulties.

He starred in a TV adaptation of the novel, then took the role to the big screen. It earned him the Academy Award for best actor in 1955, besting Sinatra, Spencer Tracy and James Cagney.

It was the invention of three-camera film sitcoms that elevated Borgnine to the pantheon of golden era TV stars. ``McHale's Navy'' starred Borgnine as a Conniving, lazy, gambling Navy commander of a PT boat on a nameless tropical
isle, his days spent bedeviling his commanding officer, played by Joe Flynn, and fumbling with his bumbling adjutant, played by Tim Conway.

A later generation met him as Dominic Santini on the 1980s series ``Airwolf.'' And even a later batch of Americans were entertained by Borgnine as he lent his voice to elderly superhero Mermaid Man on ``SpongeBob SquarePants'' -- again co-starring with Conway.

A street in his hometown of Hamden, Conn. is named in his honor.

Borgnine was married five times. Plans for his funeral have not been announced.


What was your favorite Ernest Borgnine character?

- City News Service

ms.sc. July 09, 2012 at 07:55 PM
He definitely was one of my favorites! I remember hearing of McHale's Navy growing up but was too young to remember watching it...Hogan's Hero's yes I remember that. So strange that just last week I typed in McHale's Navy on Hulu! I was on episode 5 when I heard of Mr. Borgnine's passing. Although Hogan's Hero's was funny, as were alot of the military sitcoms from the 60's...McHale's Navy is my favorite! I was hooked on the 1st episode. R.I.P. Mr. Borgnine, and thank you for your imfamous smile and beautiful imagination in comedy and in your dark drama as well.
Janet Whitcomb July 09, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I don't know that Marty Piletti, the character Ernest Borgnine played in the 1955 film, had "mental difficulties." He was, however, a socially shy and somewhat overweight man in his early thirties who looked after his mother given that his siblings were all married with families of their own. Then he falls in love with an equally shy young woman and begins getting guff from his family and buddies about their relationship. Will he have the courage to assert himself and break loose from the stifling life he has so far led? It has been a long time since I watched this film, but I remember being very impressed by the acting and the emotional honesty of the story. During a time when most studios were looking to make lavish and often vulgar super-spectaculars, "Marty" stood out as a "small" film of considerable integrity. Regarding Mr. Borgnine, I happen to know someone who met and worked with him over a period of about a week and was impressed with his kindness and congeniality. In an advertisement for what turned out to be the year's Oscar-winning film, another famous actor was quoted as saying "What a man is Marty!" I would add, "What a man was Ernest Borgnine!"
ms.sc. July 09, 2012 at 10:42 PM
After reading of Ernest's passing it did make me sad..even though he did live to a beautiful and mindful age of 95, his smile and twinkling eyes still inspired me, That is a good life. Amen.


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