Oscar winner Ernest Borgnine dies

2012-07-09 08:33
Los Angeles - Ernest Borgnine, the beefy screen star known for blustery, often villainous roles, but who won the best actor Oscar for playing against type as a lovesick butcher in Marty in 1955, died on Sunday. He was 95.

His longtime spokesperson, Harry Flynn, told The Associated Press that Borgnine died of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with his wife and children at his side.

Borgnine, who endeared himself to a generation of Baby Boomers with the 1960s TV comedy McHale's Navy, first attracted notice in the early 1950s in villain roles, notably as the vicious Fatso Judson, who beat Frank Sinatra to death in From Here to Eternity.

Then came Marty, a low-budget film based on a Paddy Chayefsky television play that starred Rod Steiger. Borgnine played a 34-year-old butcher who fears he is so unattractive he will never find romance. Then, at a dance, he meets a girl with the same fear.

"Sooner or later, there comes a point in a man's life when he's gotta face some facts," Marty movingly tells his mother at one point in the film.

"And one fact I gotta face is that, whatever it is that women like, I ain't got it. I chased after enough girls in my life. I-I went to enough dances. I got hurt enough. I don't wanna get hurt no more."

'Messes in my personal life'

"The Oscar made me a star, and I'm grateful," Borgnine told an interviewer in 1966. "But I feel had I not won the Oscar I wouldn't have gotten into the messes I did in my personal life."

Those messes included four failed marriages, including one in 1964 to singer Ethel Merman that lasted less than six weeks.

But Borgnine's fifth marriage, in 1973 to Norwegian-born Tova Traesnaes, endured and brought with it an interesting business partnership. She manufactured and sold her own beauty products under the name of Tova and used her husband's rejuvenated face in her ads.

Borgnine's later films included Ice Station Zebra, The Adventurers, Willard, The Poseidon Adventure, The Greatest (as Muhammad Ali's manager), Convoy, Ravagers, Escape from New York, Moving Target and Mistress.

More recently, Borgnine was the voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants and Carface on All Dogs Go to Heaven 2.


  • Marius Koen - 2012-07-09 10:05

    Did he not play in Airwolf?

      jpdt01 - 2012-07-09 13:46

      Yup, he played Dom Santini in Airwolf.

  • francis.o.lai - 2012-07-09 13:15

    RIP Ernest Borgnine! What a legend! And yes, he was in Airwolf.

  • shirley.steenkamp - 2012-07-09 13:25

    R.I.P. Thanks for the memories! You will be missed.

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