Yesterday, I was very saddened to read that legendary actor Ernest Borgnine died at age 95, after succumbing to kidney failure.
Ernest Borgnine may have worked his way into our hearts on screen during 4 seasons of “McHale’s Navy,” but he started his acting career playing the “heavy” in films such as “From Here To Eternity” – in which is character famously beats Frank Sinatra’s character to death.
Although characterized by his large build and rough and tumble exterior, carved from 10 years in the real Navy, Borgnine was capable of playing more than just the villain, and he won an Oscar and a Golden Globe for his role as a lonely butcher in the 1955 film “Marty.” He also went on to star in films such as “The Catered Affair,” in which he played a father of the bride type character, and even made an appearance in the musical, “The Best Things in Life Are Free.”
Borgnine may in fact, be one of our most versatile and longest working actors ever, having worked for more than 60 years, and starred in over 100 films such as “The Dirty Dozen,” “The Wild Bunch,” “Escape from New York,” and even the 2007 made for tv movie “A Grandpa For Christmas” (for which he became the oldest actor in history to be nominated for a Golden Globe at age 90).
Instead of retiring, Borgnine continued to work well up until his death, becoming one of the first celebrity cameos on “The Simpsons,” earning a final Emmy nomination at age 92 for his work on the show “E.R.,” and even lending his distinctive voice to the role of “Mermaid Man” on the children’s show “Spongebob Squarepants,” right up until the time of his passing.
In this day and age, when it is becoming more and more rare to see actors and actress past a certain age on film, Ernest Borgnine, with his commanding presence and infectious smile may be one of the few gems to have provided nearly every single generation alive today with a role to love – and for that he will be greatly missed!