Monday, July 9, 2012

Ernest Borgnine Dead at 95

Ernest Borgnine, the beefy Academy Award winning actor of stage and screen, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 95.

An unlikely movie star, Borgnine captured the Oscar for his performance as a lovelorn butcher in the 1955 film Marty.  His longtime spokesman, Harry Flynn, told The Associated Press that Borgnine died of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with his wife, Norwegian-born cosmetics entrepreneur Tova Traesnaes and his children by his side.

Borgnine started out in tough-guy roles, playing the character Fatso Judson who beat Frank Sinatra to death in the classic WWII movie From Here to Eternity. He also starred in The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, The Flight of the Phoenix, The Poseidon Adventure and Escape from New York.

One of his most popular roles came on the 1960s television sitcom McHale's Navy, which ran from 1962-1966. Borgnine played the title character, the commander of a World War II PT boat with a motley crew of misfits aboard.

He continued working until the very end, earning a Golden Globe nomination for the 2007 television movie A Grandpa for Christmas, making him the oldest nominee for the award at the age of 90. He also gave his voice to the character of Mermaid Man on the popular Nickelodeon cartoon Spongebob Squarepants.

Borgnine was married five times, including a brief, six-week-long marriage to Broadway star Ethel Merman. His fifth and final marriage to Tova Borgnine brought an interesting partnership, with Ernest even modelling for Tova's skincare line and appearing in television infomercials hawking the anti-wrinkle moisturizers.

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