On This Day … 24 January [2023]

People (Births)

  • 1917 – Ernest Borgnine, American actor (d. 2012).

Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine (/born Ermes Effron Borgnino; 24 January 1917 to 08 July 2012) was an American actor whose career spanned over six decades. He was noted for his gruff but relaxed voice and gap-toothed Cheshire Cat grin. A popular performer, he also appeared as a guest on numerous talk shows and as a panellist on several game shows.

Borgnine’s film career began in 1951 and included supporting roles in China Corsair (1951), From Here to Eternity (1953), Vera Cruz (1954), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), and The Wild Bunch (1969). He also played the unconventional lead in many films, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1956, for Marty (1955), which also won the 1956 Academy Award for Best Picture. Borgnine achieved continuing success in the sitcom McHale’s Navy (1962-1966), in which he played the title character, and co-starred as Dominic Santini in the action series Airwolf (1984-1986), in addition to a wide variety of other roles.

Borgnine earned his third Primetime Emmy Award nomination at age 92 for his work on the 2009 series finale of ER. He was known as the original voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants from 1999 until his death in 2012. He replaced the late Vic Tayback as the voice of the villainous Carface Caruthers in both All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 (1996) and All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series (1996-1998).

Naval Service

Borgnine joined the United States Navy in October 1935, after graduation from high school. He served aboard the destroyer/minesweeper USS Lamberton and was honourably discharged from the Navy in October 1941. In January 1942, he reenlisted in the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbour. During World War II, he patrolled the Atlantic Coast on an antisubmarine warfare ship, the patrol yacht USS Sylph. In September 1945, he was once again honourably discharged from the Navy. He served a total of almost 10 years in the Navy and obtained the grade of gunner’s mate first class. His military awards include the Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defence Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Campaign Medal with 3⁄16″ bronze star, and the World War II Victory Medal.

In 1997, Borgnine received the United States Navy Memorial, Lone Sailor Award.

On December 7, 2000, Borgnine was named the Veterans Foundation’s Veteran of the Year.

In October 2004, Borgnine received the honorary title of chief petty officer from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott. The ceremony for Borgnine’s naval advancement was held at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, DC. He received the special honour for his naval service and support of naval personnel and their families worldwide.

In 2007, he received the California Commendation Medal.

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