Ernest Borgnine (born January 24, 1917) is an American actor.
He was born Ernesto Charles Borgnine (pronounced Bor-Nee-Nee) in Hamden, Connecticut to Charles Borgnino and Anna Boselli, Italian immigrants. He joined the United States Navy after high school and stayed in for ten years.
After a few years of drifting, he attended the Randall School of Drama in Hartford, Connecticut. Following graduation, he went to the famous Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. In 1949, he debuted on Broadway in Harvey.
In 1951 he moved to Los Angeles, California, receiving his big break in 1953's From Here to Eternity, playing the cruel "Fatso" who taunted and killed "Maggio", played by Frank Sinatra. Off-screen, the men were good friends.
In 1955, Borgnine starred in the drama Marty, which gained him an Academy Award for Best Actor. He subsequently appeared in many films sometimes in lead roles but more often supporting major stars. He is the earliest (chronologically) awardee (winner) of the Academy Award for Best Actor, who is still alive.
From 1962 through 1966 he starred in the popular situation comedy television series McHale's Navy, and starred in the 1964 film version. Borgnine's later television work included a co-starring role (with Jan-Michael Vincent) as veteran helicopter pilot Dominic Santini in the action/espionage series Airwolf from 1984 to 1986.
Among his five wives were the late Ethel Merman (to whom he was wed for fewer than two months) and the late Mexican-born actress, Katy Jurado. He married Tova Traesnaes in 1972. Tova runs a hugely successful cosmetics company, TOVA, from Beverly Hills which Ernest helps her with in his spare time.
TOVA, the long-time cosmetics sponsor of Donald Trump's Miss Universe Pageant was sued by Trump for breach of contract in the late 1990s. Ironically, Tova chose to retain the same attorney Ivana Trump had previously retained years earlier for her divorce trial against Donald Trump, Los Angeles-based entertainment attorney Neil Papiano.
For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Ernest Borgnine has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6324 Hollywood Blvd. In 1996, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Since 1999, Borgnine's voice has appeared on the cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants as the elderly superhero Mermaid Man and has appeared on an episode of The Simpsons as himself. He has also recently appeared in television commercials.
He holds the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite of Masonry and has long been active in the Craft.