Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine
Borgnine at the TCM Classic Film Festival on April 22, 2010.
Born Ermes Effron Borgnino
(1917-01-24)January 24, 1917
Hamden, Connecticut, U.S.
Died July 8, 2012(2012-07-08) (aged 95)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Kidney failure
Occupation Actor, voice actor
Years active 1951–2012
Spouse(s) Rhoda Kemins
(m. 1949–1958; divorced)
Katy Jurado
(m. 1959–1963; divorced)
Ethel Merman
(m. 1964–1965; separated after 32 days; divorce finalized in 1965)
Donna Rancourt
(m. 1965–1972; divorced)
Tova Traesnaes
(m. 1973–2012; his death)
Children 3 daughters, 1 son
Awards See Awards and Nominations
Military career
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Navy
Years of service 1935–1941, 1942–1945
Rank Gunner's mate, 1st class
Honorary Chief Petty Officer
Battles/wars World War II

Ermes Effron Borgnino, known as Ernest Borgnine (; January 24, 1917 – July 8, 2012) was an American film and television actor whose career spanned more than six decades. He was an unconventional lead in many films of the 1950s, winning the Emmy Award nomination at age 92 for his work on the series ER. He was also known for being the original voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants from 1999 to 2012.


  • Early life 1
  • Naval service 2
    • World War II 2.1
    • Awards and honors 2.2
  • Acting career 3
    • Stage 3.1
    • Films 3.2
    • Television 3.3
      • McHale's Navy 3.3.1
      • Airwolf 3.3.2
      • The Single Guy 3.3.3
      • Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders 3.3.4
    • Other activities 3.4
    • Work after 1999 3.5
  • Personal life and death 4
  • Honors 5
    • Film awards and nominations 5.1
    • Awards from fraternal groups 5.2
  • Filmography 6
    • Television 6.1
    • Video games 6.2
  • Quotes 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
    • Additional sources 9.1
  • External links 10

Early life

Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnino (Italian pronunciation: ) on January 24, 1917, in

External links

  • "Ernest Borgnine". Biographies in Navy History. Naval Historical Center, Department of the Navy. March 8, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2008. 
  • Wise, James. Stars in Blue: Movie Actors in America's Sea Services. Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997. ISBN 1557509379. OCLC 36824724.

Additional sources

  1. ^ "Ernest Borgnine". International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers 4th Ed. 3: Actors and Actresses. Reproduced in Biography Resource Center. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale. 2006: "Born: Ermes Effron Borgnino in Hamden, Connecticut, January 24, 1917 (some sources say 1915 or 1918).": St. James Press. 2000. 
  2. ^ Clooney, Nick (2003). The Movies That Changed Us: Reflections on the Screen. Simon and Schuster. p. 114.  
  3. ^ "Anna Borgnine". 
  4. ^ "Charles-Borgnine". 
  5. ^ "Ernest Borgnine Biography (1917– )". Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  6. ^ "Evelyn Velardi Obituary: View Obituary for Evelyn Velardi by Mt. View Mortuary & Cemetery, San Bernardino, CA". Retrieved 10 October 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Fantle, David; Johnson, Tom (2004). Reel to Real: 25 Years of Celebrity Interviews from Vaudeville to Movies to TV. Badger Books. pp. 106–113.  
  8. ^ Pat Grandjean (October 2010). "Q & A: Ernest Borgnine". Connecticut magazine. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  9. ^ "DMS-2 Lamberton". 
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^
  12. ^ "Lone Sailor Award Recipients". 
  13. ^ "Actor Ernest Borgnine dead at 95".  
  14. ^ "Ernest Borgnine Makes Chief" (Press release). U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation. 18 October 2004. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  15. ^ "Page Not Found - Consolidated - ERROR 404". 
  16. ^ a b "Marty + Ernest Borgnine in Conversation". In Conversation.  
  17. ^ Kisselhoff, Jeff; THE BOX: An Oral History of Television, 1929-1961; Viking Penguin, 1995
  18. ^ "Episode guide: 1003 – Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders". Satellite News. Retrieved July 9, 2012. 
  19. ^ M. A. Schmidt (10 April 1955). "'"Ernest Borgnine: Fiendish 'Fatso' to Meek 'Marty. The New York Times ( Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  20. ^ "Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, S.J., U.S.A.: Dedication of Long Beach Scottish Rite Theatre to Actor & Brother Ernest Borgnine". May 7, 2011. Retrieved January 24, 2012. 
  21. ^ Heather Augustyn Times Correspondent. "Chesterton town manager remembers Borgnine". 
  22. ^ Kate Mather and Ashley Powers (8 July 2012). "Ernest Borgnine died of kidney failure, his publicist says".  
  23. ^ a b Anita Gates (8 July 2012). "Ernest Borgnine dies at 95". The New York Times ( 
  24. ^ Jackie Loohauis-Bennett (17 March 2009). "Circus Parade secures funding, will return July 12".  
  25. ^ "NECO". NECO. 
  26. ^ "List by Date Dedicated" (PDF). Palm Springs Walk of Stars. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  27. ^ Lauren Moraski (10 July 2012). "Ernest Borgnine's death makes Sidney Poitier the oldest living best actor Oscar winner".  
  28. ^ "Actor Ernest Borgnine to receive lifetime award".  
  29. ^ "Dedication of Long Beach Scottish Rite Theatre to Actor & Brother Ernest Borgnine". 7 May 2011. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 


See also

  • Ernest: "Spencer Tracy was the first actor I've seen who could just look down into the dirt and command a scene. He played a set-up with Robert Ryan that way. He's looking down at the road and then he looks at Ryan at just the precise, right minute. I tell you, Rob could've stood on his head and zipped open his fly and the scene would've still been Mr. Tracy's."
  • Ernest: "The trick is not to become somebody else. You become somebody else when you're in front of a camera or when you're on stage. There are some people who carry it all the time. That, to me, is not acting. What you've gotta do is find out what the writer wrote about and put it into your mind. This is acting. Not going out and researching what the writer has already written. This is crazy!"
  • Ernest: "Everything I do has a moral to it. Yes, I've been in films that have had shootings. I made The Wild Bunch (1969), which was the beginning of the splattering of blood and everything else. But there was a moral behind it. The moral was that, by golly, bad guys got it. That was it. Yeah."
  • Ernest: "Ever since they opened the floodgates with Clark Gable saying, 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn,' somebody's ears pricked up and said, 'Oh boy, here we go!'. Writers used to make such wonderful pictures without all that swearing, all that cursing. And now it seems that you can't say three words without cursing. And I don't think that's right."
  • Ernest on drugs: "No, I've never done anything. At least, not to my knowledge. I once took a bunch of goofballs by accident. They looked like candy. They were in a little bowl at a party. I grabbed a handful and went to town. That was some New Year's Eve. I didn't have a coherent thought till February."
  • Ernest on his marriage to Ethel Merman: "Biggest mistake of my life. I thought I was marrying Rosemary Clooney."
  • Ernest on his $5,000 salary for playing the eponymous lead in Marty (1955), which won him a Best Actor Oscar: "...I would have done it for nothing."
  • Ernest on Women's Rights: "They tried it the wrong way. You can't expect anyone to take you seriously if you burn your undies and tell me I'm a pig. That's why it failed. Too many ugly broads telling me that they don't want to sleep with me. Who wanted you anyway?"
  • Ernest: "I'm 81 years old and I like to speak my mind. As a legacy, on the day I die, I'd like to have a newspaper publish all the things that I find wrong in the United States today. And my first would be to get rid of the politicians."[7]


Year Title Role Notes
2001 SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge Mermaid Man Voice only
2009 SpongeBob's Truth or Square
2010 SpongeBob's Boating Bash

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
1957 Wagon Train Willy Moran Episode: "The Willy Moran Story"
1961 Blue Angels, TheThe Blue Angels Unknown Episode: "The Blue Leaders"
1962–1966 McHale's Navy Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale
1974 Little House on the Prairie Jonathan Episode: "The Lord is my Shepherd"
1976–1977 Future Cop Cleaver
1977 Jesus of Nazareth The Roman Centurion
1979 All Quiet on the Western Front Stanislaus Katczinsky Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1982 Magnum, P.I. Earl "Mr. White Death" Gianelli Episode: "Mr. White Death"
1983 Blood Feud J. Edgar Hoover
Masquerade Jerry
1984 Last Days of Pompeii, TheThe Last Days of Pompeii Marcus
1984–1986 Airwolf Dominic Santini
1985 Dirty Dozen: Next Mission, TheThe Dirty Dozen: Next Mission Major General Worden
1987 Treasure Island in Outer Space Billy Bones
Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission, TheThe Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission Major General Worden
1988 The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission Major General Worden
1989 Ocean Pedro El Triste
1991 Home Improvement Eddie Phillips Episode: "Birds of a Feather Flock to Taylor"
1993 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Himself Voice and likeness
Episode: "Boy-Scoutz n the Hood"
1995–1997 Single Guy, TheThe Single Guy Doorman
1996–1999 All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series Carface Caruthers Voice only
1998 JAG Artemus Sullivan Episode: "Yesterday's Heroes"
1999–2012 SpongeBob SquarePants Mermaid Man Voice only
2000 Walker, Texas Ranger Eddie Ryan Episode: "The Avenging Angel"
2002 Touched by an Angel Max Blandish Episode: "The Blue Angel"
7th Heaven Joe Episode: "The Known Soldier"
2003 District, TheThe District Uncle Mike Murphy Episode: "Last Waltz"
2009 ER Paul Manning Episodes: "Old Times" and "And in the End..."
Nominated – Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Aces 'N' Eights Thurmond Prescott
2010 Saturday Night Live Himself Cameo in "What Up With That" sketch


Year Title Role Notes
1951 China Corsair Hu Chang
The Whistle at Eaton Falls Bill Street
The Mob Joe Castro
1953 From Here to Eternity Staff Sergeant James R. "Fatso" Judson
The Stranger Wore a Gun Bull Slager
1954 Johnny Guitar Bart Lonergan
Demetrius and the Gladiators Strabo
Bounty Hunter, TheThe Bounty Hunter Bill Rachin
Vera Cruz Donnegan
1955 Bad Day at Black Rock Coley Trimble
Marty Marty Academy Award for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Run for Cover Morgan
Violent Saturday Stadt, Amish Farmer
Last Command, TheThe Last Command Mike Radin
The Square Jungle Bernie Browne
1956 Jubal Shep Horgan
Catered Affair, TheThe Catered Affair Tom Hurley
Best Things in Life Are Free, TheThe Best Things in Life Are Free Lew Brown
Three Brave Men Bernard F. "Bernie" Goldsmith
1958 Vikings, TheThe Vikings Ragnar
Badlanders, TheThe Badlanders John "Mac" McBain
Torpedo Run Lieutenant/Lieutenant Commander Archer "Archie" Sloan
1959 Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Roo Webber
Rabbit Trap, TheThe Rabbit Trap Eddie Colt Locarno International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
1960 Man on a String Boris Mitrov
Pay or Die Police Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino Nominated – Golden Laurel
1961 Black City Peppino Navarra
The Italian Brigands Sante Carbone
Go Naked in the World Pete Stratton
Last Judgement, TheThe Last Judgement Pickpocket
Barabbas Lucius
1964 McHale's Navy Lt. Commander Quinton McHale, Sr Spin-off of the series of the same name
1965 Flight of the Phoenix, TheThe Flight of the Phoenix Trucker Cobb
1966 Oscar, TheThe Oscar Barney Yale
1967 Dirty Dozen, TheThe Dirty Dozen Major General Worden
Chuka Sergeant Otto Hansbach
1968 Man Who Makes the Difference, TheThe Man Who Makes the Difference Himself Documentary short film
Legend of Lylah Clare, TheThe Legend of Lylah Clare Barney Sheean
Ice Station Zebra Boris Vaslov
Split, TheThe Split Bert Clinger
1969 Wild Bunch, TheThe Wild Bunch Dutch Engstrom
Bullet for Sandoval, AA Bullet for Sandoval Don Pedro Sandoval
1970 Adventurers, TheThe Adventurers Fat Cat
Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? Sheriff Harve
1971 Rain for a Dusty Summer The General
Willard Al Martin
Bunny O'Hare Bill Green / William Gruenwald
Hannie Caulder Emmett Clemens
Sam Hill: Who Killed Mr. Foster? Deputy Sam Hill
Trackers, TheThe Trackers Sam Paxton
1972 World of Sport Fishing, TheThe World of Sport Fishing Himself Documentary
Film Portrait
Revengers, TheThe Revengers Hoop
Poseidon Adventure, TheThe Poseidon Adventure Detective Lieutenant Mike Rogo
Ripped Off Captain Perkins
1973 Emperor of the North Pole Shack
Neptune Factor, TheThe Neptune Factor Chief Diver Don MacKay
Legend in Granite Vince Lombardi
1974 Law and Disorder Cy
Vengeance Is Mine Adam Smith
Twice in a Lifetime Vince Boselli
1975 Devil's Rain, TheThe Devil's Rain Jonathan "John" Corbis
Hustle Santuro
1976 Shoot Lou
1977 Greatest, TheThe Greatest Angelo Dundee
Fire! Sam Brisbane
1978 Crossed Swords John Canty
Convoy Natoosha County Sheriff Lyle 'Cottonmouth' Wallace of Arizona
Ghost of Flight 401, TheThe Ghost of Flight 401 Dom Cimoli
Cops and Robin Joe Cleaver
1979 Ravagers Rann
Double McGuffin, TheThe Double McGuffin Firat
Black Hole, TheThe Black Hole Harry Booth
Holiday Hookers Max
1980 When Time Ran Out Detective Sergeant Tom Conti
Super Fuzz Sergeant Willy Dunlop
1981 Escape from New York Cabbie
Deadly Blessing Isaiah Schmidt
High Risk Clint
1983 Graduates of Malibu High, TheThe Graduates of Malibu High Lieutenant Bob Carrigan
Carpool Mickey Doyle
1984 Code Name: Wild Geese Fletcher
Love Leads the Way: A True Story Senator Brighton
1985 Man Hunt Ben Robeson
Alice in Wonderland The Lion
1987 Skeleton Coast Colonel Smith
The Opponent Victor
1988 Big Turnaround, TheThe Big Turnaround Father Lopez
Moving Target Captain Morrison
Any Man's Death Herr Gantz
Spike of Bensonhurst Baldo Cacetti Nominated – Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Gummibärchen küßt man nicht Bischof
1989 Jake Spanner, Private Eye Sal
1990 Last Match, TheThe Last Match Coach
Tides of War Doctor
Laser Mission Professor Braun
Appearances Emil Danzig
1991 Mountain of Diamonds Ernie
1992 Mistress Himself Cameo
1993 Tierärztin Christine Dr. Gustav Gruber
Hunt for the Blue Diamond Hans Kroger
1994 Outlaws: Legend of O.B. Taggart, TheThe Outlaws: Legend of O.B. Taggart Unknown
1995 Captiva Island Arty
Tierärztin Christine II: The Temptation Dr. Gustav Gruber
1996 The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage Himself Voice; Documentary
Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders Grandfather
All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Carface Carruthers Voice only
1997 Ernest Borgnine on the Bus Himself Documentary
McHale's Navy Admiral Quinton McHale, Sr. (a.k.a. Cobra) Based on the series of the same name
Gattaca Caesar
1998 12 Bucks Lucky
Small Soldiers Kip Killigan Voice
BASEketball Ted Denslow
Mel Grandpa
An All Dogs Christmas Carol Carface Carruthers Voice only
1999 Last Great Ride, TheThe Last Great Ride Franklin Lyle
Abilene Hotis Brown
Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island, TheThe Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island Ben Quinn
2000 Kiss of Debt, TheThe Kiss of Debt Godfather Mariano
Castle Rock Nate
Hoover J. Edgar Hoover Also executive producer
2002 Whiplash Judge DuPont
11'09"01 September 11 Pensioner Segment: "United States of America"
2003 Barn Red Michael Bolini
American Hobo, TheThe American Hobo Narrator Documentary
Long Ride Home, TheThe Long Ride Home Lucas Moat
2004 Blueberry Rolling Star
Blue Light, TheThe Blue Light Faerie King
Trail to Hope Rose, TheThe Trail to Hope Rose Eugene
2005 That One Summer Otis Garner
3 Below Grandpa
Rail Kings Steamtrain
2006 The Bodyguard's Cure Jerry Warden
Frozen Stupid Frank Norgard
2007 Oliviero Rising Bill
Grandpa for Christmas, AA Grandpa for Christmas Bert O'Riley Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
2008 Strange Wilderness Milas
I Am Somebody: No Chance in Hell Judge Holliday
2009 Another Harvest Moon Frank
2010 Genesis Code, TheThe Genesis Code Carl Taylor
Red Henry/Recordskeeper
2011 Night Club Albert Accolade Competition for Leading Actor
Frank Currier Actor's Award
SINY Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Lion of Judah, TheThe Lion of Judah Slink
Snatched Big Frank Baum
Love's Christmas Journey Nicolas
2012 The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez Rex Page


In 2000, Borgnine received his 50-year pin as a Junction City, Oregon. He volunteered to be Stories of Service National spokesman, urging his fellow World War II vets to come forward and share their stories.

Awards from fraternal groups

Year Award Category Title Result
1955 Academy Award Best Actor in a Leading Role Marty Won
BAFTA Award Best Foreign Actor Won
Golden Globe Award Best Actor – Motion Picture Drama Won
NBR Award Best Actor Won
NYFCC Award Best Actor Won
1962 Emmy Award Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead) McHale's Navy Nominated
1979 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special All Quiet on the Western Front Nominated
1981 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actor Deadly Blessing Nominated
1999 Emmy Award Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series Nominated
2007 Golden Globe Award Best Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television A Grandpa for Christmas Nominated
2009 Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series ER: And in the End... Nominated
2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhode Island International Film Festival Won
2011 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild Won
Receiving the Oscar for Best Actor in 1956 for Marty, from Grace Kelly

He was honored with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award at the 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards, held January 30, 2011.[28]

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Ernest Borgnine received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6324 Hollywood Blvd. In 1996, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Borgnine won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Marty Piletti in the film Marty.[23] At the time of his death, he was the oldest living recipient of the Best Actor Oscar.[27]

Film awards and nominations

In 1998, the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars dedicated a Golden Palm Star to him.[26]

In 1997, Borgnine was the commencement speaker at Lakeland College, and received an honorary doctorate in humane letters in recognition of his distinguished acting career.

[25] In 1994, Borgnine received the

Borgnine's hometown of Milwaukee's annual Great Circus Parade as the "Grand Clown".[24]

Borgnine as "Grand Clown" in June 1973


The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was dedicated to Borgnine.

Borgnine died of kidney failure on July 8, 2012 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California with his family at his side.[22] He was 95 years old.[23]

Borgnine was a heavy smoker until 1962, after which he became a militant anti-smoker.[21]

In 2000, Borgnine received his 50-year pin as a Freemason in Abingdon Lodge No. 48, Abingdon, Virginia. He joined the Scottish Rite Valley of Los Angeles in 1964, received the KCCH in 1979, was coroneted a 33° Inspector General Honorary in 1983, and received the Grand Cross of the Court of Honour in 1991.[20]

Borgnine married Donna Rancourt (1965–1972), with whom he had a son, Cristopher (born August 9, 1969) and two daughters, Sharon (born August 5, 1965) and Diana (born December 29, 1970). His fifth and last marriage was to Tova Traesnaes, which lasted from February 24, 1973 until his death.

He then married actress Ethel Merman (1964) lasted 32 days. Their divorce was finalized on May 25, 1965.

Borgnine married five times. Just days before his first wedding in 1949, his mother, Anna, died after a long battle against tuberculosis. His first wife was Rhoda Kemins (1949–1958), whom he met while serving in the Navy.[19] They had one daughter, Nancee (born May 28, 1952).

Publicity photo of Borgnine as Commander Quinton McHale from McHale's Navy on November 7, 1962

Personal life and death

In 2009, at age 92, he starred as Frank, the main character of Saturday Night Live. On October 15, 2010, he appeared in Red, which was filmed earlier that year. In late 2011, Borgnine completed what would be his last film, playing Rex Page in The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernandez.

On April 2, 2009, he appeared in the last episode of the long-running medical series ER. His role was that of a husband whose long marriage ended with his wife's death. In his final scene, his character is in a hospital bed lying beside his just-deceased wife. His performance garnered an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, his third nomination and his first in 29 years (since being nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special in 1980 for All Quiet on the Western Front).

Borgnine's autobiography Ernie was published by Citadel Press in July 2008. Ernie is a loose, conversational recollection of highlights from his acting career and notable events from his personal life.

In 2007, Borgnine starred in the Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television for his performance. At 90, he was the oldest Golden Globe nominee ever.

In 1996, Borgnine starred in the televised fantasy/thriller film cymbal-banging monkey toy stolen from the wizard Merlin. The film was later featured in the parodical television series Mystery Science Theater 3000, and has since gained a prominent cult following.[18]

Other activities

Also in 1996, Borgnine toured the United States on a bus to meet his fans and see the country. The trip was the subject of a 1997 documentary, Ernest Borgnine on the Bus. He also served one year as the Chairman of the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, visiting patients in many Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

Work after 1999

Starting in 1999, Borgnine provided his voice talent to the The Simpsons episode "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", in addition to a number of television commercials. In 2000, he was the executive producer of Hoover, in which he was the only credited actor.

Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders

He auditioned a third time for a co-starring role opposite Jonathan Silverman in The Single Guy as doorman Manny Cordoba, which lasted two seasons. According to Silverman, Borgnine came to work with more energy and passion than all other stars combined. He was the first person to arrive on the set every day and the last to leave.

The Single Guy

Borgnine returned to a new contract with CBS in 1986


Just like the McHale character, Borgnine was a longtime navy man in real life. He thrived on the adulation from fans for their favorite navy man, and in 1963 received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. At the end of the fourth season, in 1966 low ratings and repetitive storylines brought McHale's Navy to an end. Comedian

In 1962, Borgnine signed a contract with Universal Studios for the lead role as the gruff but lovable skipper Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale in what began as a serious one-hour 1962 episode called Seven Against the Sea for Alcoa Premiere, and later reworked to a comedy called McHale's Navy, a World War II sitcom. The insubordinate crew of PT-73 helped the show become an overnight success during its first season, landing in the Top 30 in 1963.

Borgnine as Commander McHale in McHale's Navy in 1963

McHale's Navy

In 2009, at the age of 92, Borgnine earned an Emmy nomination for his performances in the final two episodes of ER.

Borgnine made his TV debut as a character actor in Goodyear Television Playhouse, The Ford Television Theatre, Fireside Theatre, Frontier Justice, Laramie, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Run for Your Life, Little House on the Prairie (a two-part episode entitled "The Lord is My Shepherd"), The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., Highway to Heaven, Murder, She Wrote, Walker, Texas Ranger, Home Improvement, Touched by an Angel, and the final episodes of ER, the first episode of Wagon Train, and many others.


I did [think it was a moral film]. Because to me, every picture should have some kind of a moral to it. I feel that when we used to watch old pictures, as we still do I'm sure, the bad guys always got it in the end and the good guys always won out. Today it's a little different. Today it seems that the bad guys are getting the good end of it. There was always a moral in our story.[16]

One of his most famous roles was that of Dutch, a member of The Wild Bunch in the 1969 Western classic from director Sam Peckinpah. Of his role in The Wild Bunch, Borgnine later said,

Borgnine's film career flourished for the next three decades, including roles in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Ice Station Zebra (1968), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Emperor of the North (1973), Convoy (1978), The Black Hole (1979), All Quiet on the Western Front (1979) and Escape from New York (1981).

In 1955, the actor starred as a warmhearted butcher in Marty, the film version of the television play of the same name. He gained an Academy Award for Best Actor over Frank Sinatra, James Dean (who had died by the time of the ceremony), and former Best Actor winners Spencer Tracy and James Cagney.

An appearance as the villain on TV's Johnny Guitar, Vera Cruz and Bad Day at Black Rock.

Borgnine and Betsy Blair in Marty trailer in 1955


In 1949, Borgnine went to New York, where he had his Broadway debut in the role of a nurse in the play Harvey. More roles on stage led him to being cast for decades as a character actor.

He studied acting and graduated, auditioned, and was accepted as an intern to the State of the Union. Although it was a short role, he won over the audience. His next role was as the Gentleman Caller in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.


She said, "You always like getting in front of people and making a fool of yourself, why don't you give it a try?" I was sitting at the kitchen table and I saw this light. No kidding. It sounds crazy. And 10 years later, I had Grace Kelly handing me an Academy Award.

He took a local factory job, but was unwilling to settle down to that kind of work. His mother encouraged him to pursue a more glamorous profession and suggested to him that his personality would be well suited for the stage. He surprised his mother by taking the suggestion to heart, although his father was far from enthusiastic. In 2011, Borgnine remembered,

After World War II, we wanted no more part in war. I didn't even want to be a boy-scout. I went home and said that I was through with the Navy and so now, what do we do? So I went home to mother, and after a few weeks of patting me on the back and, "You did good," and everything else, one day she said, "Well?" like mothers do. Which meant, "Alright, you gonna get a job or what?"[16]

Borgnine returned to his parents' house in Connecticut after his Navy discharge without a job to go back to and no direction. In a British Film Institute interview about his life and career, he said:

Acting career

On February 5, 2007, he received the California Commendation Medal.[15]

In October 2004, Borgnine received the honorary title of U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. He received the special honor for his naval service and support of the Navy and navy families worldwide.[13][14]

On December 7, 2000, Borgnine was named the Veterans Foundation's Veteran of the Year.

In 1997, Borgnine received the United States Navy Memorial, Lone Sailor Award.[12]

Borgnine's military awards include the Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Campaign Medal with bronze star, and the World War II Victory Medal.[10]

Awards and honors

In January 1942, he reenlisted in the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor. During the war, he patrolled the Atlantic Coast on an antisubmarine warfare ship, the USS Sylph (PY-12).[11] In September 1945, he was honorably discharged from the Navy. He served a total of almost ten years in the Navy and obtained the rank of gunner's mate 1st class.

World War II

Borgnine joined the United States Navy in October 1935, after graduation from James Hillhouse High School[8] in New Haven, Connecticut. He served aboard the destroyer/destroyer minesweeper USS Lamberton (DD-119; AG-21 and DMS-2)[9] and was honorably discharged from the Navy in October 1941.[10]

Borgnine wearing a chief petty officer's cap in October 2004.

Naval service

[7] The family settled in [6] Borgnine's parents separated when he was two years old, and he and his mother lived in Italy for about 4 1/2 years. By 1923, his parents had reconciled, the family name was changed from Borgnino to Borgnine, and his father changed his first name to Charles. Ernest had a sister, Evelyn Borgnine Velardi (1925–2013).

[5], Italy).Alessandria (Ottiglio who emigrated from [4]