THE ACADEMY AWARD WINNING ACTOR HAD A CAREER SPANNING SEVEN DECADES
Ernest Borgnine, who is fondly remembered for his four-season stint on 1960s sitcom McHale’s Navy, passed away today at Cedars-Sinai Hospital Center with his family at his side. He was 95 and was active in the business until the very end.
Born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut, Borgnine joined the Navy after high school and stayed in service until 1945. After a few odd jobs, his mother suggested a career in acting and he enrolled at the Randall School of Drama in Hartford. He made his Broadway debut in 1949 playing a male nurse in Harvey and had his first big break on the big screen as Sgt. “Fatso” Judson in From Here to Eternity in 1953. After appearing in a supporting capacity as the “heavy” in a string of dramas and westerns, Borgnine was cast against type as shy and lonely butcher Marty Piletti in drama Marty in 1955 and took home the Oscar for his effort. Later films prior to the start of McHale’s Navy in 1962 included The Last Command (1955), The Catered Affair (1956) and The Rabbit Trap (1960).
In a career spanning seven decades, Borngine appeared in over 100 films (including The Poseidon Adventure in 1972 and all four Dirty Dozen films); as a regular in three television series (including drama Airwolf from 1984-86); and as a voiceover actor in animated films such as All Dogs Go to Heaven (1996), Small Soldiers (1998) and SpongeBob Squarepants. His final performance was in theatrical The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez, which was released just three months ago.
Borgnine is survived by his fifth wife Tova, whom he married in 1973, and four children.