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Five Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Ernest Borgnine
Posted By Patrick Kiger On July 8, 2012 @ 8:43 pm In Legacy | Comments Disabled
We knew him as the sadistic noncom who beat Frank Sinatra to death in From Here to Eternity; as the shy, lonely butcher who finds love in Marty; as the nautical version of Sgt. Bilko in the TV sitcom McHale’s Navy; as the police detective trapped on an upturned ocean liner in The Poseidon Adventure; and as the deranged cabbie who dodges bullets as he plies the streets of a dystopian city-turned-prison in Escape from New York.Indeed, Ernest Borgnine, the Academy Award-winning actor who passed away today at age 95 in Los Angeles, was one of the most familiar faces ever to grace both the big and the small screen. The Internet Movie Database lists Borgnine as playing astonishing 203 roles in a career that began in 1951 with the low-budget B movie China Corsair, in which the second-generation Italian-American was improbably cast as a Chinese gambling club owner, and ended with the 2012 indie film The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vincente Fernandez, in which he portrayed an elderly nursing home resident who heroically leads Latino workers in a revolt against the institution’s cruel owner. In addition to acting in such classic films as Bad Day at Black Rock, The Dirty Dozen and The Wild Bunch, he appeared in scores of TV shows, from Wagon Train to ER. No part was too small or too undignified; he even did a turn as the voice of Mermaid Man, the geriatric superhero with diminished powers, in the animated children’s series SpongeBob SquarePants. (Here’s a 2011 AARP interview with Borgnine, after he received a lifetime achievement award from the Screen Actors Guild.)
But as ubiquitous as Ernie Borgnine was, his entertaining 2010 memoir reveals plenty that we never knew about him.
Photo credit: Nick Ut/AP
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