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

Thompson on Hollywood By TOH! | Thompson on Hollywood July 9, 2012 at 12:42PM

Ernest Borgnine, best known for his Oscar-winning turn as the lonely butcher title character in "Marty," died July 8 at age 96. A selection of what the web is saying below...
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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.'"

This article is related to: Classics, Obit, Ernest Borgnine


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.