Ernest Borgnine, 1917-2012

Yesterday, we lost yet another hard-working, honest actor—Ernest Borgnine. Like many of you, I find this a difficult blow, particularly on the heels of losing Andy Griffith last week. I actually grew up watching Mr. Borgnine in, of all things, Airwolf, a show my dad enjoyed watching. Only later did I have the pleasure of becoming acquainted with Borgnine’s work in films such as the terrific From Here To Eternity (where the real-life nice guy Borgnine plays one of the most dislikable characters in film), a cameo in The Dirty Dozen, and, of course, Marty. 

In addition to being a hard-workin’ man, Borgnine seemed, much like Griffith, to be a genuinely nice man. No, this Navy vet wasn’t perfect by any means (who among us is?), but he just seemed like a nice man. Best of all (in my opinion) was that despite his bad-guy rep, Ernest Borgnine never seemed to be without a smile when he was off-screen. Optimism and a cheerful disposition are big things in my book, and Borgnine seemed to have them in spades. Really, it is hard for me to picture him not smiling, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen From Here To Eternity (he doesn’t smile a whole lot in that movie if you haven’t seen it…and what, I ask, are you waiting for?!).

Like Griffith (I apologize for the continued comparison, but Griffith is of course on everyone’s mind, having died less than a week ago), Ernest Borgnine was a hard working actor. He did everything from feature films to television. The man liked to work. He wanted to be earning his keep, and I can’t tell you how much I respect that. Borgnine was also another honest actor. Frankly, I don’t think he got the respect he’s earned, either, from much of Hollywood—this despite the fact that at 95, the man was still auditioning for gigs and has a movie in which he features coming out soon—but again, like Griffith, he seemed to be much-loved by the general populace. Would you turn down a chance to go to a barbeque with either man? I sure wouldn’t! Again, honest fellas both.

If indeed Mr. Borgnine was always smiling off-screen—and I think he was!—we have lost yet another fine man and bright spot in our world.

I love a hard-working man just as much as I love a sweet Southern boy.

May you rest in peace, Mr. Borgnine. You will be missed, too. Thank you for leaving such a wide-ranging body of work for us to enjoy, including several truly stellar performances. May we all do our best to emulate your good nature.

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6 thoughts on “Ernest Borgnine, 1917-2012

  1. Oh no, this is the first I hear of it. That is a loss. I had no idea he was 95. You know you watch these old films and forget they are little time capsules. I think the industry is so scewed now. Some people are famous for all the wrong reasons, not like back in the day when we didn’t care ‘who he’s partying with’ or ‘where she was caught without makeup’. I loved the mystic of old Hollywood when we just saw them on a big screen or at a glamorous event. Your right, he seemed like a nice guy.

    • Oh, you are so right. I could go on and on about the state of entertainment today, particularly compared to the Golden Age (Hi, TCM addict here). There truly was a great deal of mystery and “magic” back in the old days—and so much talent! Such a shame.

      I just saw the TCM tribute to Mr. Borgnine prior to the movie they are screening now. He just…he had such CHARACTER in his very face. He was so real. We don’t see that often anymore. I don’t think he could even have gotten hired nowadays…he was too darned good!

      Thank you for commiserating with me, it makes me feel better. 😉 I’ve actually been considering a “movie of the week” feature, little though it has to do with my photography.

      • My hubby and I are real movie watchers, we love James Stewart, Carey Grant, Rock Hudson and all those classy ‘dames’ (term used lovingly) they hung with.. I’d look forward to a post alla “movie of the week”.

        • Ah, we are much the same here! I shall have to take this under consideration. It would, of course, require me to watch at least one classic film a week…alas… 😉

    • So glad to hear I am NOT the only one who remembers Dominic! LOL He was a good actor indeed. Such a loss. He was a nice fellow, too, all ’round. An example for some of the whippersnappers in Hollywood today…

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