Ernest Borgnine to be honored by SAG: It's about time.

Ernest-BorgnineImage Credit: Everett CollectionVeteran actor and Oscar-winner Ernest Borgnine will be honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Screen Actors Guild during the group’s annual awards presentation on January 30, 2011. It’s about time. After all, the 93-year-old actor who won an Oscar for his heartbreaking portrayal of a loveless mama’s boy in 1955’s Marty and who’s graced both the big and small screens with his smiling, gap-toothed mug is an overlooked Hollywood treasure. In announcing their decision to honor Borgnine, SAG president Ken Howard said, “Whether playing brutish villains, sympathetic everymen, complex leaders or hapless heroes, Ernest Borgnine has brought a boundless energy which, at 93, is still a hallmark of his remarkably busy life and career. It is with that same joyous spirit that we salute his impressive body of work and his steadfast generosity.”

Borgnine may not be much of a household name these days, but if you grew up in the ’70s like I did, he seemed to be everywhere. By then, the man born Ermes Borgnino had already earned his stripes as a serious dramatic heavyweight in 1953’s From Here to Eternity, lent his merry girth to the hit ’60s TV show McHale’s Navy, blown the Mexican army to kingdom come in Sam Peckinpah’s 1969 blood bath The Wild Bunch, and even been married to Broadway belter Ethel Merman for a very short month in the mid-’60s. But in the ’70s, Borgnine grew into a warm, ubiquitous — and always welcome — presence: Like a celebrity passenger on Aaron Spelling’s The Love Boat, on which he appeared more than once by the way, Borgnine’s presence in any Hollywood cast meant that even if the movie was terrible, there’d at least be one person having a blast. Take his turn as the gruff cop married to an ex-showgirl aboard a doomed, upside-down luxury liner in 1972’s disaster epic The Poseidon Adventure. Or, better yet, his curmudgeonly, gabby cab driver in John Carpenter’s awesome 1981 futuristic action flick, Escape From New York. Everywhere you seemed to look during that period — whether it was switching channels from Airwolf to Murder, She Wrote to Magnum, P.I. – Borgnine was there, smiling that picket-fence smile like the kindly old guy behind the counter at a Greek diner.

In anticipation of his big honor, check out a couple of classic Borgnine scenes from The Wild Bunch (the greatest shoot-out of all time), The Poseidon Adventure, and of course, Marty…Congrats, Ermes!

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  • Lauren

    Tracy Morgan will be so happy!

    • Joe Jones

      I swear I thought he passed away a couple of years back. Anyone else?

  • Adam

    Yes, it is about time, EW, it is about time! Who among us has not spent hour upon hour, day after day, wondering when Ernest Borgnine will finally get an honor from the Screen Actors Guild?

    • kennedyDC

      Don’t be a jackass, Adam. It IS entertainment news, regardless of whether or not you like it.

      • Adam

        Hey, the Ernest Borgnine Fan Club is out in Force! All two members (and I think that “Whoozie” dude with the ‘tude is actually Ernest.)

    • Whoozier Dahdi

      You’re a doooooosh nozzle, Adam. And with that name, probably a phag, too.

      • Adam

        Shut up, Ernest.

  • Who Cares?

    I can’t say I respect this man – he’s an okay actor and won an Oscar for playing, well…himself. But I remember how he railed against Brokeback Mountain because of its content. He’s a relic and I won’t be sad to see him go.

    • GHB

      …and what did you win an Oscar for?

      • Who Cares?

        For my perforamnce in STFU…starring you.

      • LOL

        He He Thats funny

    • Whoozier Dahdi

      Ditto my comment about Adam.

    • Mac

      He isn’t getting honored for his personality or viewpoints, it’s for his career work. Marty is an excellent film, btw. I’m sure most of the people that are bestowing the award to him think his comments about BBM were ignorant, it being Hollywood, so if they can look past it, perhaps you should stop being bitter about it, too.

    • LJ

      Adam – whoever the heck you are – you are a gourd. As for his opinion of BBM – he’s got a right. If you listened to the whole interview, all he said is that it wasn’t for him – and that JW would roll in his grave, which is true.

      Hey Ernie – I think you’re da bomb.

  • TorontoTom

    I agree – liked him in Marty but his comments about Brokeback Mountain were terrible. I don’t care if you’re old and from a different generation, etc etc, he should know better. If he had made anti-Semitic comments about Schindler’s List, would they have been glossed over and then rewarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award in a political town like Hollywood? NO. Not thrilled that they’re honouring a creep like him.

    • Steve

      So only people who are “progressive” like you should be honored for their work? Hopefully the SAG will ask for your help in the future.

    • Who Cares?

      Very good point!

      • Who Cares?

        Sorry, very good point Toronto Tom, not the turn beneath you.

      • LOL

        Not as funny

  • Jethro

    Others come to mind that deserve the honor more, not that Ernie doesn’t, but his age works against him. I will not name them not to offend Ernie’s fans!!

  • Anon

    He’s still alive?

  • Who Cares?

    I think most of “Ernie’s” fans would be dead at this point, no?

    • LOL

      Nope I think you lost the funny at this point, try harder. Think of sunny rainbows.

  • redvector

    On his 90th birthday in an interview on one of the morning shows. One of the hosts asked him what was his secret for staying so active. He leans over to whisper into the host’s ear and said totally deadpan: “I masturbate a lot.” Of course the mic picked up every word he said.
    He was once fired from movie for refusing to do a scene where he was supposed to rape a woman. And turned down the role of the police chief In The Heat of The Night because of the movies racist overtones. Take from that what you will.

  • whoops

    Great actor! What a face! Good for Mr. B.!

  • Tookie

    Mermaid Man!

    • Carrie #2

      Thank you! I was waiting for someone to mention that. That’s the only thing I know him from, and he deserves an award just for that. :)

  • Brian

    It’s about damn time and don’t forget he was also in The Dirty Dozen.

  • DLJ

    The Wild Bunch, The Poseidon Adventure and many other great films. One of Hollywood’s meat and potatos actors. It’s about time.

  • John

    Ernest Borgnine playing himself on the Simpsons. That was a classic episode.

  • Sean

    He was great in Super Fuzz.

  • Joe

    He’s more like a BorgTen!!!

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