Actor Ernest Borgnine dies at 95‎

Film and television actor Ernest Borgnine, who won an Academy Award for his portrayal of a lovelorn butcher in 1955′s “Marty,” has died at age 95 – his manager said Sunday.
The thick-set, gap-toothed Borgnine built a reputation for playing heavies in early films like “From Here to Eternity” and “Bad Day at Black Rock.” But he turned that reputation on its head as the shy, homely title character in “Marty,” taking home the Oscar for best actor – one of four awards the film claimed.
His manager, Lynda Bensky, said Borgnine died of kidney failure Sunday afternoon. His wife, Tova, and children were at his side at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, she said.
“It’s a very sad day” – Bensky said. “The industry has lost someone great, the caliber of which we will never see again. A true icon. But more importantly, the world has lost a sage and loving man who taught us all how to ‘grow young.’ His infectious smile and chuckle made the world a happier place.”

Actor Ernest Borgnine dies at 95
Ernest Borgnine.

Borgnine’s secret for long-term success was to not be another Hollywood pretty face.
“I was a character actor. Do I look like a good-looking man? No” – he said in a 2011 interview timed to his acceptance of the Screen Actors Guild’s Life Achievement Award. “But, see, I keep working when the rest of the boys are retired.”
The beefy actor wasn’t too finicky about scripts, either. “I read it. If I don’t fall asleep, it’s pretty good.”
Borgnine won the 1955 Academy Award for best actor, beating out Jimmy Cagney, among others, for playing one of those unglamorous roles, the lonely butcher Marty Pilletti in the film Marty.
“Jerry Lewis had bet me a buck ninety-eight that I’d win. I’d gone home and taken 198 pennies and put them in a red sock, and as I went up there, they all wondered what I passed to Jerry Lewis” – said the actor, who had been married nearly 40 years to his fifth wife, Tova.
Borgnine’s 200-plus credits include Bad Day at Black Rock, Barabbas, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch and The Poseidon Adventure. Perhaps at odds with his friendly, grandfatherly demeanor, he played a heavy in some of his early film roles.
Borgnine initially resisted series TV, which was anathema to most film actors in the early 1960′s. However, when a kid selling candy couldn’t identify him but was familiar with Gunsmoke’s James Arness, it persuaded him to enlist for four seasons in McHale’s Navy.
Borgnine was a regular in later TV series, such as Airwolf in the 1980′s and The Single Guy in the 1990′s. He was still acting in his final years, appearing in 2010′s RED.

He was born Ermes Effron Borgino in Hamden, Connecticut, and did not take up acting until after a 10-year hitch in the U.S. Navy, including a stint during World War II as a gunner’s mate on a destroyer in the Pacific.
“I just couldn’t see myself going into a factory where I saw these pasty-faced fellows walking in and walking out after stamping their cards” – Borgnine once said.
Using money he earned from the G.I. Bill, Borgnine studied at the Randall School of Dramatic Arts in Hartford and performed on stage for several years at a Virginia theater.
His first Hollywood job was a low-budget picture, “China Corsair,” in 1951, starring in ethnic makeup as the Chinese proprietor of a gambling club.
He made his Broadway debut in the 1949 Mary Chase comedy “Harvey,” and after a trio of early-50′s films appeared on Broadway again in 1952 in another Chase production, “Mrs. McThing,” this time opposite Helen Hayes.
Hayes ended up being a godmother to the eldest of Borgnine’s three children, daughter Nancee, by his first wife.
Borgnine returned to series television as co-star of the mid-1980′s action film “Airwolf.” And in 1988 he portrayed a mafia chief in the big-screen film “Spike of Bensonhurst.”
Working well into his 90′s, Borgnine earned an Emmy nomination for his 2009 guest appearance on the final two episodes of the television hospital drama “ER,” playing the husband of a dying elderly woman. The following year, he notched a cameo role as a CIA records keeper in the spy thriller “Red.”
He performed voice work for animated productions late in his life, including “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “All Dogs Go to Heaven.”

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