Barely a week since legendary actor Andy Griffith left us, we have to say goodbye to yet another of Hollywood’s elder statesmen. Oscar winning actor, Ernest Borgnine has passed away at the age of 95, after a storied career in TV and film that spanned more than 60 years.
With his bulldog mug and stocky build, he definitely didn’t fit the mold of the standard Hollywood leading man, especially not in the 1950’s. But it was exactly this non-traditional look that landed him the title role of Marty, a butcher who feels he is too ugly to find love, but then meets a women that feels the same way. He eventually bagged an Oscar in 1955 for the role, and also captured the hearts of audiences the world over.
He would go on using his granite appearance to good measure, being cast as various heavies through the years, even getting to beat up Frank Sinatra in From Here To Eternity. He also showed a softer side, earning him numerous accolades – including being the oldest actor to ever be nominated for a Golden Globe for 2008’s A Grandpa for Christmas. But as with many people my age, it was through his role as Dominic Santini in hit 80’s series Airwolf that I really got to know him. His wry smile and easygoing nature cemented him then as a favourite, and again among an entirely new generation as he voiced the role of Mermaid Man in Spongebob Squarepants.
Borgnine showed a strong work ethic, acting almost until the end, last seen as the elderly record keeper Henry in 2011’s RED. He also maintained that humourous, easy-going nature that so endeared him to fans. In 2008, when interviewed on FOX and asked about the secret to his longevity, Borgnine glibly responded “I masturbate a lot.”
Unfortunately though, the years eventually caught up with him, and Borgnine passed away from renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
He leaves behind a wife, 4 ex-wives, 4 children, several grandchildren and an indelible mark on the entertainment business.
Rest In Peace, Ernest Borgnine (1917 – 2012)
Last Updated: July 9, 2012