Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine died on Sunday at the age of 95 of renal failure. The rough and tumble thespian had a wild and varied career, winning an Academy Award in 1955 for his role in Marty, and later spending time on television on McHale's Navy, Airwolf, and as the doorman on The Single Guy. He made a cameo in the 1997 big screen remake of Navy too.
The actor was best-known for his everyman schlub looks, ruddy features, and his barrel-chest. He stayed busy with TV and film roles until his death, and was a ubiquitous presence on red carpets and awards shows. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on an episode of ER in 2009.
Borgnine's first film role was in 1951's China Corsair. He later went on to star in From Here to Eternity, Johnny Guitar, the original The Flight of the Phoenix, plus iconic dude flicks The Dirty Dozen and The Wild Bunch. By the '70s he was doing work in thrillers and crime dramas, plus the occasional big budget disaster pieces, like 1972's The Poseidon Adventure.
Younger viewers got to know him best as the voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants, teaming with Tim Conway's Barnacle Boy as aging superheroes.
He was briefly married to belter Ethel Merman in 1964, in a marriage that lasted less than a month. "Biggest mistake of my life. I thought I was marrying Rosemary Clooney," he was quoted as saying later.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
According to Wikipedia, in the event of his death Borgnine wished for newspapers to publish a list of everything he thought was wrong with America. Over his six decades in the spotlight he was rather outspoken and rarely shied away from making unpopular comments, including making his thoughts known on women's rights, modern acting, and cursing in motion pictures.
No word yet if a supertastic Borgnine rant is coming to a paper or blog near you, but we will make sure to give the lowdown.
In 2008 Borgnine told Fox & Friends that the secret to his longevity was masturbating -- a lot -- so take from that what you will. In other words, expect some of us to live at least a thousand years.