Ernest Borgnine was an American actor and performer who had an acting career that saw the best of over six decades from the 1940s to 2012. Described as one of the finest in what he did, he was also a voice actor who provided voices for a number of video games. Years after his death, Borgnine like many other great actors still comes to mind.
Ernest Borgnine Bio
The actor was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917, in Hamden, Connecticut. His parents, Anna Boselli and Camillo Borgnino were Italian immigrants with his mother coming from the town of Capri while his father came from the municipality of Ottigli.
Two years after he was born, his parents suffered a separation which took him to Italy where he lived with his mother until close to 5 years later when his parents came back together. It was after this that his father changed his name to Charles Borgnine, hence instead of Borgnino the family name changed to Borgnine.
Growing up in New Haven, Connecticut, with a sister, Evelyn Borgnine Velardi, Borgnine went to James Hillhouse High School. At the time, there was nothing about him that showed he would become a great actor later in his life as he was more interested in sports.
After his high school, he joined the US Navy; this was in 1935. He remained with the force until 1941 when he was discharged, only to reenlist the next year and then serve again until 1945. Following his service years, he was awarded various military awards such as the World War II Victory Medal and the Navy Good Conduct Medal.
After he left the Navy, Ernest went back home where he stayed with his mother for some time before landing a job in a local factory. He also worked in a barbershop where he swept clipped hair from the floor. His mother then encouraged him to try acting, believing he had the personality for the stage. He gave it a shot and it paid off with a stage appearance in State of the Union in 1947 followed by some more theatre works.
His film acting career started in 1951 when he got a role in China Corsair, followed by The Whistle at Eaton Falls and The Mob in the same year. Although he went on to give a great account of himself in films before 1955, he became a name to reckon with after he did Marty that year. The performance earned him an Academy Award, The Golden Globe, and BAFTA Award among others, less than 10 years after he began acting.
By the time he appeared in his last movie, The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez in 2012, he had appeared in over 150 films and more than 60 TV productions including McHale’s Navy (1962 to 1966), ER (2009), and Love’s Christmas Journey (2011).
His Net Worth
A lot of things may be argued about Ernest Borgnine, but it will be agreed that he was hardworking, talented, and ultimately successful. From a career of more than 6 decades, he left behind a net worth that was estimated at $15 million.
Ernest Borgnine’s Spouse
In his lifetime, Ernest Borgnine was not only married 5 times but was among those with the shortest marriages in Hollywood considering his marriage to his third wife, Ethel Merman in 1964 which only lasted for 42 days.
The first woman he got married to was Rhoda Kemins in 1949. Although the marriage produced a daughter, Nancee who was born in 1952, it ended in 1958 in a divorce. The next year, he married actress Katy Jurado but this union did not last beyond 1963 when it also ended in a divorce.
It was after this marriage that he got married to singer Ethel Merman, something everyone including the two involved would agree was a colossal mistake as their time together, even though it was short, was full of bitterness and insults. As witty as Ethel could be, she described the marriage with a blank page in her autobiography, Merman (1978).
After the divorce was finalized, Ernest married Donna Rancourt in 1965. The marriage produced three children; Sharon who was born in 1965, Christopher (born in 1969), and Diana (born in 1970). The marriage ended in 1972. That same year, he married the woman who would be his last spouse, Tova Traesnaes. The two remained together until the death of Borgnine. Just like the actor, Tova Traesnaes was also married and divorced, although just once.
When and How Did He Die?
At the age of 95, the legendary gap-toothed actor died on July 8, 2012, in Los Angeles. Ernest Borgnine died after suffering from a kidney failure. A few days before then, he went to the hospital for what was supposed to be a routine check-up, but as he joked, it turned out to be something more serious. He died surrounded by his publicist Harry Flynn and family members.