Ernest Borgnine's career has spanned over five decades. He is known for his gruff, but gentle voice. At the age of 93, Ernest Borgnine is still active in both films and television.
Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnine on January 24, 1917 in Hamden, Connecticut. The son of Charles Borgnine and Anna Boselli who had emigrated from Carpi (near Modena) Italy.
As an only child, Ernest enjoyed most sports, especially boxing, but took no real interest in acting. At 18, after graduating from high school in New Haven, and undecided about his future career, he joined the navy, where he stayed for ten years until leaving in 1945. During World War II he reached the rank of Gunner's Mate 1st Class. Ernest's military decorations included the American Campaign Medal, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, and the World War II Victory Medal.
In 2004, Borgnine received the honorary rank of Chief Petty Officer from the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott—the US Navy's highest ranking enlisted sailor at the time—for Borgnine's support of the Navy and naval families worldwide.
After leaving the Navy, Ernest Borgnine worked a variety of 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.
Ernest Borgnine's big break came in 1949, when he made his acting debut on Broadway playing a male nurse in "Harvey".
In 1951 Ernest 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).
Ernest Borgnine's big movie break came when he was cast in the role of Sgt. "Fatso" Judson in From Here to Eternity (1953).
Ernest Borgnine's film credits include Johnny Guitar (1954), Vera Cruz (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), Marty (1955), The Last Command (1955), The Catered Affair (1956), The Badlanders (1958), Torpedo Run (1958), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Ice Station Zebra (1968), The Wild Bunch (1969), The Revengers (1972), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Law and Disorder (1974), Convoy (1978), Escape from New York (1981), Moving Target (1988), The Long Ride Home (2003) and Another Harvest Moon (2008).
Ernest Borgnine won the Academy Award for Best Actor and the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his performance in Marty (1955).
On television, he is best known for playing Quinton McHale in the 1962-66 series McHale's Navy and the mid 1980s action series Airwolf.
He also provided the voice of the character Mermaid Man in the series, SpongeBob SquarePants and the voice of Carface in All Dogs Go to Heaven.
He has also appeared on A Grandpa For Christmas, 7th Heaven, Touched by an Angel, Walker, Texas Ranger, JAG and Murder She Wrote.
In 2009, at the age of 92 he was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his performance on ER.
Ernest Borgnine was the very first "center square" on "The Hollywood Squares" (1965).
Ernest Borgnine is an active Freemason and is presently the Honorary Chairman of the Scottish Rite RiteCare Program, which sponsors 175 Scottish Rite Childhood Language Disorders Clinics, Centers, and Programs nationwide.
Ernest Borgnine has a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for motion pictures.
Ernest Borgnine is still active and will be in two movies debuting in 2010: Red and Snatched.