Jul 8, 2012

A Tribute To Ernest Borgnine

"There are no small roles, only small actors."
-Ernest Borgnine, Dragoncon discussion panel, 2011

One of my favorite actors passed away on Sunday, July 8th 2012, after having a full life and a movie career that spanned over sixty incredible years.

Ernest Borgnine, born Ermes Effron Borgnino, was an American institution and accomplished actor. I was lucky enough to get an autographed picture and a photo taken in costume with him at Dragoncon in 2011.

 to New York Times article

Ernest Borgnine, a larger than life figure, retained a zest for life and infectious laugh right up until the end. A modest, unassuming man who, when not acting,  traveled in an RV mingling with the public, starred in a seemingly endless list of movies and television shows, not demanding the limelight, but viewing acting as being part of an ensemble (unlike stars such as William Shatner, who was known to count lines in a script to make sure he had the most dialogue). He was charming, gracious, talented and grateful to his fans. He was truly one of the great ones, and the world is a sadder place in his absence.

Some of his most memorable roles included:
  • Marty in Marty
  • Quinton McHale, McHale's Navy
  • Major General Worden in The Dirty Dozen
  • Mike Rogo, The Poseidon Adventure
  • Shack, Emperor Of the North
  • Sheriff Lyle "Cottonmouth" Wallace, Convoy
  • Cabbie, Escape From New York
  • Dominic Santini, Airwolf (television series)
LINK to Wikipedia entry about Ernest Borgnine

In the picture above, I am at Dragoncon in 2011 in my Snake Plissken costume, a character from the John Carpenter cult sci-fi film Escape From New York, and was lucky enough to get a picture with him in costume. Borgnine played the role of Cabbie:

In this clip, Mr. Borgnine talks about his role in the movie in Escape From New York:

Ernest Borgnine's last interview (jump to :55 on the video). At 3:10 in the video below, Ernest Borgnine talks about what he's learned in the film business, which explains why he was such a successful actor, and why he will be so missed and mourned by his fans and colleagues:

One of his more memorable roles in the 1970s was Sheriff Lyle Wallace in the trucker movie Convoy. In this scene he commandeers a car to catch up with the convoy of trucks. You can watch the entire movie HERE. It was one of the most famous of the '70s trucker movies, directed by Sam Peckinpah, based on a song by C.W. McCall. It glamorized the life of the American trucker, not very realistically. But Borgnine's performance carries the film. Jump to 9:30 to see a good scene between Kris Kristoferson and Ernest Borgnine.

A scene from McHale's Navy, which gave Mr. Borgnine a much wider audience:


A great clip from Dragoncon 2011 where Mr. Borgnine did a discussion panel. I was not able to make this one, to my great regret. I wish I had. You can watch the entire discussion panel HERE (fortunately someone recorded it for us!)

Goodbye, Ernest. The world will miss your presence.

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