Today, actors like Paul Giamatti or John C. Reilly will have to meditate for a moment and realize the importance of people like Karl Malden or Ernest Borgnine having existed in Hollywood and opening the way of cinema to interpreters with the faces of people on the street, to guys who made their normalcy their hallmark. On Sunday night, Ernest Borgnine, one of the last of a legendary generation (Kirk Douglas remains), a man who without being a star was an actor adored by the public, died after suffering kidney failure at Cedars-Sinai Hospital. in Los Angeles at the age of 95, surrounded by his wife Tova and their children.
Among the various records achieved in such a long career – this same year he has rolled The man who hit Vicente Fernández’s hand– there are two that delight moviegoers: he participated in all four films of the saga Twelve from the gallows, and won the Oscar for best actor for Marty (1955), the first film based on a TV movie to win the Academy Awards. By the way, his bachelor butcher character had been played two years earlier in that original version for the small screen by Rod Steiger.
Ermes Effron Borgnino, as he was called, was born on January 24, 1917 in a modest family of Italian immigrants from Modena in Hamden (Connecticut). When he was three years old his parents separated and he traveled with his mother to Italy. Two years later, there was reconciliation and a return to Connecticut, where the family changed the surname to Borgnine.
In 1935, after finishing high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy. Six years later he left her, fed up … only to re-enlist a few weeks later: the United States had entered World War II. So when he returned home in 1945, he had been on a boat for 10 years, and had not learned any trade. After trying his luck in various factories, it was his mother who, insisting on his strong personality, recommended the interpretation to him and thus he entered the Randall School of Drama in Hartford. After graduation, he was hired by the Barter Theater in Abingdon, Virginia, and two years later, in 1949, he made his Broadway debut in the role of a nurse in Harvey.
Ermes Effron Borgnino was born in 1917 into a modest family of Italian immigrants in Hamden (Connecticut)
In 1951 he decided to move to Los Angeles to go to the movies, although before he made his television debut in Captain Video and the guardians of the universe. But his late mother was right and in a few months he was already in a big shoot, that of From here to eternity, where he played Sergeant Fatso Judson. He was on a roll: in two years he works at Johnny Guitar, Veracruz and Conspiración de silencio, and wins the Oscar – the only time he was nominated – for Marty, a drama that was the first American film to win the Palme d’Or at Cannes and that also earned Borgnine a Golden Globe and a Bafta award.
Ernest Borgnine enters his best years, in which he becomes a luxury secondary, with works such as The Vikings, Flight of the Phoenix, Barabbas (He liked filming in Italy, because of his roots and his command of the language), Twelve from the gallows, Zebra Polar Station O Wild group. During this decade of glory (1959-1969) he married his second wife, actress Kathy Jurado (“Beautiful, but a tigress”); her third, Broadway diva Ethel Merman (“We only lasted 32 days, because she was eaten by jealousy on the honeymoon since I had more fans than she did. We went home and it’s over”), and the fourth, Donna Rancourt. In 1973 his final marriage finally arrived, with Tora Traesnaes. Borgnine also took advantage of his popularity to star in a successful series, the sitcom Ship ahoy (1962-1966), with which he was an Emmy nominee. Of course, it appeared in both of his television adaptations. He never stopped working for the next three decades: he was Detective Romo in The Poseidon Adventure, the centurion who talks to Jesus Christ in Jesus of Nazareth, the taxi driver of 1997: rescue in New York… And he continued combining cinema with television: in 1979 he was nominated for another Emmy for his work on the small screen version of No news at the front.
His popularity never waned: in 1996, Borgnine traveled across the US to meet his fans
His popularity never waned: in 1996, Borgnine traveled to the United States to meet his fans. From that pilgrimage came the documentary Ernest Borgnine on the bus. His quirky voice also earned him appearances as a character bender on All dogs go to heaven 2, in 13 episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants and appeared in an episode of The Simpson. In 1999 he traveled to the San Sebastián festival with the contest’s surprise film, Abilene.
In this new century, Bornine did not retire: he was a finalist for a Golden Globe for the telefilm A grandfather for Christmas and a third Emmy for her appearance on Emergencies (2009); and wrote his autobiography, Ernie, which pushed him to tour the US again in his promotion. In 2010 he acted in a box office, Red, con Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, Morgan Freeman o Helen Mirren.
A Mason, a lover of women, a bully with his sexual life, a great lively but strong moral … This journalist still saw him smoking at the age of 92 in Chicago, where he was presenting his book. Immense, there was no trace of fatigue on Borgnine’s face, only his age.