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Remembering Ernest Borgnine: The Unconventional Oscar-Winning Star of 'Marty' Dies at 96

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by TOH!
July 9, 2012 12:42 PM
1 Comment
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Ernest Borgnine Marty

Ernest Borgnine, best known for his Oscar-winning turn as the lonely butcher title character in "Marty," died July 8 at age 96. He was the oldest living Best Actor Oscar winner. A selection of what the web is saying and a scene from "Marty" below:

Pete Hammond, Deadline:

"If ever there was an unconventional leading man it was Borgnine, although I never thought of him really as a leading man. He was, first and foremost, a character actor. As believable as the tough guy of his breakthrough role  of Sgt. ‘Fatso’ Judson in 1953′s Best Picture Oscar winner 'From Here to Eternity' as he was in his own Oscar-winning starring role of Marty Piletti, the lonely butcher in 'Marty' just two years later. That was the film he would be most strongly associated with  the rest of his life."

Dennis McLellan, The Los Angeles Times:

"He left expectations behind in 'Marty,' the 1955 film version of Paddy Chayefsky's original TV play about a sensitive Italian American bachelor butcher who longs for more than simply hanging out with his pals on Saturday night... Borgnine's sensitive portrayal of the self-described 'fat ugly man' not only earned him an Oscar for best actor, but the movie also won Academy Awards for Chayefsky and director Delbert Mann, as well as the best picture Oscar."

Anita Gates, The New York Times:

"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... 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... 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)."

The Hollywood Reporter:

"Borgnine died of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, surrounded by his family. After news of his death broke, many in the industry hit Twitter to share their condolences and memories of the legendary actor. Many praised his acting and his kind nature, and others recalled his quip in a 2008 interview where he said that his secret to longevity was: 'I masturbate a lot.'"

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More: Classics, Obit, Ernest Borgnine

1 Comment

  • Brian | July 9, 2012 2:34 PMReply

    When THE VIKINGS (1958) had its 50th anniversary four years ago, I was hoping they'd get its three stars--Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, and Borgnine--into the studio for an audio commentary or at least a reunion documentary. Alas, it didn't happen and two years later, Curtis died, the youngest of the three. In the film, an underrated epic, Borgnine played the father of the other two. Douglas was a month older than him.

    When Borgnine won the Best Actor Oscar for MARTY (1955), he beat out four icons: Spencer Tracy, James Cagney, Frank Sinatra, and James Dean. They sure had real contests then. Interestingly, Tracy was nominated for BAD DAY AT BLACK ROCK, in which Tracy outfights Borgnine in one scene; Cagney and Borgnine co-starred in another 1955 film, RUN FOR COVER; and Sinatra had won an Oscar two years earlier for FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, in which Borgnine had beaten him up.

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