Dead, Ermes Effron Borgnino, known as Ernest Borgnine on July 8, 2012, he was an American film and television actor whose career spanned more than six decades.
He was an unconventional lead in many films of the 1950s, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1955 for Marty.
Born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917, in Hamden, Connecticut, he was the son of Anna (née Boselli; 1894–1949), who emigrated from Carpi (Modena, Italy) to the United States, and Camillo Borgnino (1891–1975), who emigrated from Ottiglio (Alessandria, Italy).
Borgnine’s parents separated when he was two years old, and he and his mother lived in Italy for about 4 1/2 years.
By 1923, his parents had reconciled, the family name was changed from Borgnino to Borgnine, and his father changed his first name to Charles.
In January 1942, he reenlisted in the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
During the war, he patrolled the Atlantic Coast on an antisubmarine warfare ship, the USS Sylph (PY-12).
In September 1945, he was honorably discharged from the Navy.
He studied acting and graduated, auditioned, and was accepted as an intern to the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia.
It had been named for the director’s allowing audiences to barter produce for admission during the cash-lean years of the Great Depression.
In 1947, Borgnine landed his first stage role in State of the Union.
Although it was a short role, he won over the audience.
His next role was as the Gentleman Caller in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie.
In 1951, Borgnine moved to Los Angeles to pursue a movie career and made his film debut as Bill Street in The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951).
His career took off in 1953 when he was cast in the role of Sergeant “Fatso” Judson in From Here to Eternity (1953).
This memorable performance led to numerous supporting roles as “heavies” in a steady string of dramas and westerns.
He played against type in 1955 by securing the lead role of Marty Piletti, a shy and sensitive butcher, in Marty (1955).
He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, despite strong competition from Spencer Tracy, Frank Sinatra, James Dean and James Cagney.
Throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Borgnine performed memorably in such films as The Catered Affair (1956), Ice Station Zebra (1968) and Emperor of the North (1973).
Between 1962 and 1966, he played Lt. Commander Quinton McHale in the popular television series McHale’s Navy (1962).
In early 1984, he returned to television as Dominic Santini in the action series Airwolf (1984) co-starring Jan-Michael Vincent, and in 1995, he was cast in the comedy series The Single Guy (1995) as doorman Manny Cordoba.
In 1996, Ernest purchased a bus and traveled across the United States to see the country and meet his many fans.
On December 17, 1999, he presented the University of North Alabama with a collection of scripts from his film and television career, due to his long friendship with North Alabama alumnus and actor George Lindsey (died May 6, 2012), who was an artist in residence at North Alabama.