Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine died Sunday. He was 95.
The Associated Press reports Borgnine died of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with his wife and children at his side.
At the 1996 Western Heritage Awards at Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, Borgnine was inducted into Hall of Great Western Performers. He was a regular presence at the Western Heritage Awards, making the trek to OKC to attend the annual ceremony just a few months ago.
Borgnine endeared himself to a generation of Baby Boomers with the 1960s TV comedy “McHale’s Navy,” according to the AP. But he 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 1955 low-budget film based on a Paddy Chayefsky television play that starred Rod Steiger. Borgnine played a 34-year-old who fears he is so unattractive he will never find romance. He then meets a girl at a dance who struggles with the same fear.
Borgnine won the Oscar and awards from the Cannes Film Festival, New York Critics and National Board of Review. Director Delbert Mann Mann and Chayefsky also won Oscars, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hailed the $360,000 “Marty” as best picture over big-budget contenders “The Rose Tattoo,” “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” “Picnic” and “Mister Roberts.”
According to the AP, he played a sensitive role opposite Bette Davis in another film based on a Chayefsky TV drama, “The Catered Affair,” a film that was a personal favorite. It centered on a New York taxi driver and his wife who argued over the expense of their daughter’s wedding.
But producers also continued casting Borgnine in action films such as “Three Bad Men,” “The Vikings,” “Torpedo Run,” “Barabbas,” “The Dirty Dozen” and “The Wild Bunch” until he made the transition to TV comedy with “McHale’s Navy.” From 1962 to 1966, Borgnine — he served for 10 years in the Navy before starting his acting career — starred as the commander of a World War II PT boat with a crew of misfits and malcontents. Patterned after Phil Silvers’ popular Sgt. Bilko, McHale was a con artist forever tricking his superior, Capt. Binghamton, played by the late Joe Flynn.
The cast took the show to the big screen in 1964 with a “McHale’s Navy” movie. Borgnine also had a role in the 1997 movie “McHale’s Navy,” starring Tom Arnold, Bruce Campbell and Dean Stockwell.
Borgnine’s later films also included “Ice Station Zebra,” “The Adventurers,” “Willard,” “The Poseidon Adventure,” “The Greatest,” “Convoy,” “Ravagers,” “Escape from New York,” “Moving Target” and “Mistress.”
More recently, Borgnine had a recurring role as the apartment house doorman-cum-chef in the NBC sitcom “The Single Guy,” and he provided the voice of Mermaid Man on “SpongeBob SquarePants” and Carface on “All Dogs Go to Heaven 2.”
Our thoughts are with his family, friends and fans.