Ernest Borgnine, the Oscar-winning star, multiple Emmy nominee and much-loved character actor whose work endured across decades of film and television, has passed away of renal failure in Los Angeles at the age of 95.
Instantly recognizable for his characterizations that brought a rugged charm to even the smallest part, Borgnine made his screen debut in 1951 and was working right up ’til this year. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1955’s Marty, in which he played a lonely Italian butcher; had early breakthrough roles in From Here to Eternity (1953) and Johnny Guitar (1954); and would become a household name with his portrayal of Lt. Commander Quinton McHale in the hit TV series McHale’s Navy, which ran from 1962-66.
Borgnine’s many other memorable performances included turns in Robert Aldrich’s classic The Dirty Dozen, Sam Peckinpah’s The Wild Bunch, ’70s disaster epic The Poseidon Adventure and John Carpenter’s Escape from New York. In his later career Borgnine became a fixture in TV roles, even connecting with a whole new generation as the voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob Squarepants. He was nominated for an Emmy, at age 92, for his role in the final season of E.R. in 2009.
We actually thought he’d be around forever. R.I.P., sir.