Ernest Borgnine (1917 - 2012)

A photo of Ernest Borgnine
Ernest Borgnine
1917 - 2012
Born
January 24, 1917
Hamden, New Haven County, Connecticut United States
Death
July 8, 2012
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States 90048
Other Names
Ermes Effron Borgnino, Ernest Borgnine
Summary
Ernest Borgnine was born on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. He is the child of Charles Anthony Borgnine and Anna Maria Borgnine, with sibling Evelyn. According to his family tree, Ernest was father to 4 children. He married Rhoda Kemins on September 2, 1949 in Los Angeles, California and they later divorced on August 29, 1958 in Los Angeles, California. They had a child Nancee Alison Borgnine. He also married Katy Jurado on December 31, 1959 in Los Angeles, California and they later divorced on June 3, 1963 in Los Angeles, California. He would also marry Ethel Merman on June 27, 1964 in Los Angeles, California and they later divorced on November 18, 1964 in Los Angeles, California. He would also marry Donna Ann Borgnine on June 30, 1965 in Los Angeles, California and they later divorced on January 1, 1972 in Los Angeles, California. They had children Sharon Lynn Borgnine, Christofer Ernest Borgnine, and Diana Rancourt-Borgnine. He also married Tova Borgnine on February 24, 1973 in Los Angeles, California. They were married until Ernest's death in 2012 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center , Los Angeles, California. He died on July 8, 2012 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California at 95 years old.
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Updated: August 27, 2021
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Ernest Borgnine Born January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut, USA Died July 8, 2012 in Los Angeles, California, USA (renal failure) Birth Name Ermes Effron Borgnino Nickname Ernie Height 5' 9½" (1.77 m) Mini Bio (1) Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. His parents were Anna (Boselli), who had emigrated from Carpi (MO), Italy, and Camillo Borgnino, who had emigrated from Ottiglio (AL), Italy. As an only child, Ernest enjoyed most sports, especially boxing, but took no real interest in acting. At age 18, after graduating from high school in New Haven, and undecided about his future career, he joined the United States Navy, where he stayed for ten years until leaving in 1945. After a few factory jobs, his mother suggested that his forceful personality could make him suitable for a career in acting, and Borgnine promptly enrolled at the Randall School of Drama in Hartford. After completing the course, he joined Robert Porterfield's famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia, staying there for four years, undertaking odd jobs and playing every type of role imaginable. His big break came in 1949, when he made his acting debut on Broadway playing a male nurse in "Harvey". 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. He also appeared in several made-for-TV movies. Ernest Borgnine has often stated that acting was his greatest passion. His amazing 61-year career (1951 - 2012) included appearances in well over 100 feature films and as a regular in three television series, as well as voice-overs in animated films such as All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 (1996), Small Soldiers (1998), and a continued role in the series SpongeBob SquarePants (1999). Between 1973 until his death, Ernest was married to Tova Traesnaes, who heads her own cosmetics company. They lived in Beverly Hills, California, where Ernest assisted his wife between film projects. When not acting, Ernest actively supported numerous charities and spoke tirelessly at benefits throughout the country. He has been awarded several honorary doctorates from colleges across the United States as well as numerous Lifetime Achievement Awards. 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. Ernest Borgnine passed away aged 95 on July 8, 2012, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, of renal failure. He is survived by his wife Tova, their children and his younger sister Evelyn (1926-2013) - IMDb Mini Biography By:
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Biography
Ernest Borgnine
Most commonly known as
Ernest Borgnine
Full name
Ermes Effron Borgnino, Ernest Borgnine
Other names or aliases
Cedars-Sinai Medical Records Office 8700 Beverly Blvd., in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States 90048
Last known residence
Male
Gender
Ernest Borgnine was born on in Hamden, New Haven County, Connecticut United States
Birth
Ernest Borgnine died on at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California United States 90048
Death
Birth
Death
Renal failure
Cause of death
July 14, 2012
Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California United States
Burial / Funeral
Heritage

Ethnicity & Lineage

Italian-American. Ermes Effron Borgnino was born on Jan. 24, 1917, in Hamden, Conn., near New Haven. His father was a railroad brakeman. His mother was said to be the daughter of a count, Paolo Boselli, an adviser to King Victor Emmanuel of Italy. The boy spent several years of his childhood in Italy, where his mother returned during a long separation from her husband. But they returned to Connecticut, and he graduated from high school there.

Nationality & Locations

Born in Connecticut.
Childhood

Education

At age 18, after graduating from high school in New Haven, and undecided about his future career, he joined the United States Navy, where he stayed for ten years until leaving in 1945.

Religion

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Adulthood

Professions

Actor. His film career began in 1951.

Personal Life

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Military Service

He joined the Navy at 18 and served for 10 years. During World War II he was a gunner’s mate. After the war he considered factory jobs, but his mother suggested that he try acting. Her reasoning, he reported, was, “You’ve always liked making a damned fool of yourself.” He studied at the Randall School of Drama in Hartford, then moved to Virginia, where he became a member of the Barter Theater in Abingdon and worked his way up from painting scenery to playing the Gentleman Caller in “The Glass Menagerie.” In the late 1940s he headed for New York, where by 1952 he was appearing on Broadway as a bodyguard in the comic fantasy “Mrs. McThing,” starring Helen Hayes.
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Ernest's immediate relatives including parents, siblings, partnerships and children in the Borgnine family tree.
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Ernest's Family Tree

Ernest Borgnine Ernest Borgnine
Partner
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Rhoda Kemins

&

Ernest Borgnine

Married: September 2, 1949 - August 29, 1958
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Married at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Divorced at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Ernest Borgnine Ernest Borgnine
Child
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Katy Jurado

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Ernest Borgnine

Married: December 31, 1959 - June 3, 1963
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Married at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Divorced at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Ernest Borgnine Ernest Borgnine
Child
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Ethel Merman

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Ernest Borgnine

Married: June 27, 1964 - November 18, 1964
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Married at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Divorced at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Ernest Borgnine Ernest Borgnine
Child
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Donna Ann Borgnine

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Ernest Borgnine

Married: June 30, 1965 - January 1, 1972
Cause of Separation: Divorce
Married at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Divorced at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Ernest Borgnine Ernest Borgnine
Child
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Tova Borgnine

&

Ernest Borgnine

Married: February 24, 1973 - July 8, 2012
Cause of Separation: Ernest's Death
Married at: Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA United States
Ended: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA, 90048 United States
Ernest Borgnine Ernest Borgnine
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July 8, 2012 Ernest Borgnine, the rough-hewn actor who seemed destined for tough-guy characters but won an Academy Award for embodying the gentlest of souls, a lonely Bronx butcher, in the 1955 film “Marty,“ died on Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 95. His death, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, was announced by Harry Flynn, his longtime spokesman. Mr. Borgnine, who later starred on “McHale’s Navy” on television, made his first memorable impression in films at age 37, appearing in “From Here to Eternity” (1953) as Fatso Judson, the sadistic stockade sergeant who beats Frank Sinatra’s character, Private Maggio, to death. But Paddy Chayefsky, who wrote “Marty” as a television play, and Delbert Mann, who directed it (it starred Rod Steiger), saw something beyond brutality in Mr. Borgnine and offered him the title role when it was made into a feature film. The 1950s had emerged as the decade of the common man, with Willy Loman of “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway and the likes of the bus driver Ralph Kramden (“The Honeymooners”) and the factory worker Chester Riley (“The Life of Riley”) on television. Mr. Borgnine’s Marty Pilletti, a 34-year-old blue-collar bachelor who still lives with his mother, fit right in, showing the tender side of the average, unglamorous guy next door. Marty’s awakening, as he unexpectedly falls in love, was described by Bosley Crowther in The New York Times as “a beautiful blend of the crude and the strangely gentle and sensitive in a monosyllabic man.” Mr. Borgnine received the Oscar for best actor for “Marty.” For the same performance he also received a Golden Globe and awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, the National Board of Review and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Mr. Borgnine won even wider fame as the star of the ABC sitcom “McHale’s Navy” (1962-66), originating the role of an irreverent con man of a PT boat skipper. (The cast also included a young Tim Conway.) He wrote in his autobiography, “Ernie” (Citadel Press, 2008), that he had turned down the role because he refused to do a television series but changed his mind when a boy came to his door selling candy and said, although he knew who James Arness of “Gunsmoke” and Richard Boone of “Have Gun, Will Travel” were, he had never heard of Ernest Borgnine. Over a career that lasted more than six decades the burly, big-voiced Mr. Borgnine was never able to escape typecasting completely, at least in films. Although he did another Chayefsky screenplay, starring with Bette Davis as a working-class father of the bride in “The Catered Affair” (1956), and even appeared in a musical, “The Best Things in Life Are Free” (1956), playing a Broadway showman, the vast majority of the characters he played were villains. Military roles continued to beckon. One of his best known was as Lee Marvin’s commanding officer in “The Dirty Dozen” (1967), about hardened prisoners on a World War II commando mission. He also starred in three television-movie sequels. But he worked in virtually every genre. Filmmakers cast him as a gangster, even in satirical movies like “Spike of Bensonhurst” (1988). He was in westerns like Sam Peckinpah’s blood-soaked classic “The Wild Bunch” (1969) and crime dramas like “Bad Day at Black Rock” (1955). He played gruff police officers, like his character in the disaster blockbuster “The Poseidon Adventure” (1972), and bosses from hell, as in the horror movie “Willard” (1971). Twice he played a manager of gladiators, in “Demetrius and the Gladiators” (1954) and in the 1984 mini-series “The Last Days of Pompeii.” Mr. Borgnine’s menacing features seemed to disappear when he flashed his trademark gaptoothed smile, and later in life he began to find good-guy roles, like the helpful taxi driver in “Escape From New York” (1981) and the title role in “A Grandpa for Christmas,” a 2007 television movie. “McHale’s Navy” and the 1964 film inspired by it were his most notable forays into comedy, but in 1999 he began doing the voice of a recurring character, the elderly ex-superhero Mermaidman, in the animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants.” He continued to play that role until last year. IHe began his career on the stage but unlike many actors who had done the same, Mr. Borgnine professed to have no burning desire to return there. “Once you create a character for the stage, you become like a machine,” he told The Washington Post in 1969. In films, he said, “you’re always creating something new.” He had already made his movie debut playing a Chinese shopkeeper in the 1951 adventure “China Corsair.” Mr. Borgnine never retired from acting. In the 1980s he starred in another television series, the adventure drama “Airwolf,” playing a helicopter pilot. He took a supporting role as a bubbly doorman in the 1990s sitcom “The Single Guy.” His last film appearance was in “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez,” not yet released, in which he plays an elderly man who becomes a celebrity to Latino employees at the nursing home where he lives. On television, he was in the series finale of “ER” in 2009 and appeared in a cable film, “Love’s Christmas Journey,” last year. His other films included “The Vikings” (1958); “Ice Station Zebra” (1968); “Hoover” (2000), in which he played J. Edgar Hoover; and “Gattaca” (1997). Mr. Borgnine, who lived in Beverly Hills, was married five times. In 1949 he married Rhoda Kemins, whom he had met when they were both in the Navy. They had a daughter but divorced in 1958. On New Year’s Eve 1959 he and the Mexican-born actress Katy Jurado were married; they divorced in 1962. His third marriage was his most notorious because of its brevity. He and the Broadway musical star Ethel Merman married in late June 1964 but split up in early August. Mr. Borgnine later contended that Ms. Merman left because she was upset that on an international honeymoon trip he was recognized and she wasn’t. In 1965 he married Donna Rancourt; they had two children before divorcing in 1972. In 1973 he married for the fifth and last time, to Tova Traesnaes, who under the name Tova Borgnine became a cosmetics entrepreneur. She survives him, as do his children, Christofer, Nancee and Sharon Borgnine; a stepson, David Johnson; six grandchildren; and his sister, Evelyn Verlardi. Asked about his acting methods in 1973, Mr. Borgnine told The New York Times: “No Stanislavsky. I don’t chart out the life histories of the people I play. If I did, I’d be in trouble. I work with my heart and my head, and naturally emotions follow.” Sometimes he prayed, he said, or just reflected on character-appropriate thoughts. “If none of that works,” he added, “I think to myself of the money I’m making.”

Refresh this page to see various historical events that occurred during Ernest's lifetime.

In 1917, in the year that Ernest Borgnine was born, the U.S. Virgin Islands were purchased from Denmark in January. While they are U.S. citizens, Virgin Islanders are ineligible to vote for the President of the United States.

In 1926, at the age of just 9 years old, Ernest was alive when on November 15th, NBC was founded. It was the U.S.'s first major broadcast network. Ownership of the network was split between RCA (a majority partner at 50%), its founding corporate parent General Electric (which owned 30%), and Westinghouse (which owned the remaining 20%).

In 1951, by the time he was 34 years old, on June 25th, CBS began broadcasting in color. There were well over 10 million televisions by that time. The first show in color was a musical variety special titled "Premiere". Hardly anyone had a color TV that could see the show.

In 1976, by the time he was 59 years old, on August 4th, a mysterious illness struck an American Legion convention in Philadelphia. Within a week, 25 people had died and 130 people had been hospitalized. It was the first known instance of what came to be called "Legionnaires Disease."

In 1988, at the age of 71 years old, Ernest was alive when on December 21st, Pan Am Flight 103 exploded over Lockerbie Scotland. The explosion killed all 259 people on board and another 11 on the ground. The flight had left Heathrow Airport in London less than an hour before, on its way to New York. After an exhaustive (and long) investigation it came to be believed that two individuals from Libya had planted the bomb.

Created on Jun 04, 2020 by Daniel Pinna
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