Monday, July 19, 2010
Everybody Loves Ernest!
Born: Ermes Effron Borgnine on January 24, 1917.
Both his parents were Italian emigres. Young Ernest enjoyed sports as a child, especially boxing, and joined the U.S. Navy after graduating high school in Connecticut. After 10 years in the Navy at his mother's suggestion he enrolled in the Randall School of Drama in Hartford.
Once his acting education was finished he joined a theater troupe in Virginia. His breakout role was the role of a nurse in the play "Harvey." With his acting career taking shape he moved to Los Angeles to pursue roles for film.
The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951) was Bornine's film debut but it was his depiction of Sgt. "Fatso" Judson in From Here to Eternity (1953) that most people consider his breakout role.
Borgnine won an Oscar for his lead role in Marty. The other nominees were no slouches; Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, James Dean and James Cagney! (He was paid $5,000 for the part.)
After numerous films Borgnine starred in the television series, McHale's Navy (1962).
Despite his frequent roles as "heavy" characters, Borgnine supports numerous charities and has been awarded several honorary doctorates from colleges and several Lifetime Achievement Awards.
To date Ernest Bornine has appeared in over 100 feature films and starred in three television series.
Trivia (from IMDB):
• He was the first center square during the premier week of Hollywood Squares.
• He is a freemason. (Spooky!)
• He has appeared in FOUR of the 100 Most Enjoyably Awful Movies of All Time. (A Razzie Award compendium.)
• His license plate reads "BORG9".
• He was married to Ethel Merman for 32 days. (In Merman's autobiography she devoted a chapter to her brief marriage to Borgnine...it consisted of a single blank page.)
• He starred in all four "Dirty Dozen" films.
• Ernest Borgnine starred in The Poseidon Adventure...and that's good enough for me.