Ernest Borgnine (1917 – 2012)
Hollywood veteran Ernest Borgnine passed away on 8 July 2012, following illness, aged 95.
Born in Hampden, Connecticut to Italian immigrants, Charles and Anna Borgnino on 17 January 1917, Ermes Effron Borgnino – better known as Ernest Borgnine – enjoyed life as an only child with a passion for sports, especially boxing, before joining the navy at the age of 18. His decorated naval career continued for a decade before he enrolled at drama school in Hartford. Shortly after his Broadway debut in Harvey (1951), he moved to Los Angeles and starred in Richer Than the Earth (1951). His big break came via the role of Sgt. ‘Fatso’ Judson in From Here to Eternity (1953). Borgnine’s physique and gravelly voice would often see him cast as ‘the heavy’ until his portrayal of Marty Piletti in Delbert Mann’s romance, Marty (1955): this leading role as a shy, lonely butcher won him the Academy Award®.
Borgnine’s acting career spanned over sixty years. He had memorable parts in The Dirty Dozen (1967), Ice Station Zebra (1968), The Wild Bunch (1969) and The Poseidon Adventure (1972). His work in television took in the popular series McHale’s Navy (1962), Airwolf (1984) and The Single Guy (1995). He also provided voices for several animated movies such as Small Soldiers (1998), All Dogs Go To Heaven 2 (1996) and Spongebob Squarepants. He was feted with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, and in 2011 received the Screen Actors’ Guild Life Achievement Award.