Ernest Borgnine, the heavy-set actor with the gap toothed grin whose over half a century of acting included an Academy Award-winning performance in the 1955 film classic “Marty” and a staring role in the television sitcom “McHale’s Navy”, died of kidney failure Sunday at Ceader Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles at the age of 95.
Though not widely known in his later years for too many leading man roles after Marty, Borgnine still remained a working actor right up until his death, with supporting roles as a character actor in over a hundred films, parts on television, guest starring roles, and even providing the voice of ‘Mermaid Man’ on the hit Nickelodeon cartoon “Sponge Bob Square Pants”. As someone who cherishes classic film, I am embarrassed to say I have never seen “From Here to Eternity” (1953), “Marty”, or even an episode of “McHale’s Navy”, though I had seen him in a myriad of supporting roles in movies such as the 1967 war film ‘The Dirty Dozen” and ” Escape from New York” (1981), as well as some of his countless television appearances.
Personally though they say he often played the villain, he always seemed to me like a mix of a cheerful old man who will give you advice to get you out of a jam in that screenplay known as life or whisper a dirty joke with that wide smile on his face.
Anyway interesting fact, Borgnine’s death now makes Sidney Poitier the oldest living winner of an Academy Award for best lead Actor.
On another more crude and humorous note, a few years ago Borgnine revealed his secret to living long but looking young.