Lucia Wallis

Lucia Wallis

Modified & Updated: 28 Jan 2024


Ernest Borgnine was a legendary and beloved figure in the entertainment industry. With his iconic roles, unique voice, and charismatic presence, Borgnine captured the hearts of audiences around the world. From his breakout performance in “Marty” to his memorable characters in “The Dirty Dozen” and “Escape from New York,” Borgnine left an indelible mark on the silver screen.

But beyond his on-screen success, there are many astonishing facts about Ernest Borgnine that are not widely known. From his unconventional path to stardom to his enduring commitment to his craft, Borgnine’s life was filled with intriguing stories and remarkable accomplishments.

In this article, we will delve into 21 astonishing facts about Ernest Borgnine that will give you a deeper understanding of the man behind the iconic performances. So, let’s dive in and uncover the fascinating details about one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars.

Table of Contents

Ernest Borgnine was born on January 24, 1917.

Ernest Borgnine, whose full name was Ermes Effron Borgnino, came into this world on January 24, 1917, in Hamden, Connecticut. His Italian heritage played a significant role in shaping his iconic features and strong screen presence.

He won an Academy Award for his role in the film “Marty”.

In 1955, Borgnine captured the hearts of audiences and critics alike with his performance as Marty Piletti in the film “Marty.” This transformative role earned him the prestigious Academy Award for Best Actor, solidifying his place in Hollywood history.

Borgnine served in the United States Navy during World War II.

Prior to his acting career, Borgnine enlisted in the United States Navy in During World War II, he served as a gunner’s mate on various naval ships, including the USS Lamberton and the destroyer USS Satterlee.

Ernest Borgnine acted in over 200 films and television shows.

Throughout his illustrious acting career, Borgnine appeared in over 200 films and television shows, showcasing his versatility and range as an actor. Some of his other notable works include “The Dirty Dozen,” “From Here to Eternity,” and the television series “McHale’s Navy.”

He was honored with a Golden Globe Lifetime Achievement Award.

In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry, Borgnine received the coveted Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award in This prestigious honor celebrated his lifetime of remarkable performances and his enduring impact on Hollywood.

Borgnine voiced the character Mermaid Man in the animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

You might be surprised to learn that Borgnine lent his iconic voice to the beloved character Mermaid Man in the long-running animated series “SpongeBob SquarePants.” His portrayal of the aging superhero brought joy and laughter to audiences of all ages.

He was married five times throughout his life.

Borgnine’s personal life was also filled with its fair share of compelling stories. He tied the knot five times and had four children. His marriages included unions with Tova Traesnaes, Ethel Merman, and Katy Jurado.

Ernest Borgnine starred in the popular Western series “The Wild Bunch.”

One of Borgnine’s notable roles was as Dutch Engstrom in the classic Western film “The Wild Bunch” (1969). The movie, directed by Sam Peckinpah, is hailed as one of the greatest Western films ever made.

He was a passionate advocate for animal rights.

Borgnine had a deep love for animals and was actively involved in advocating for their rights. He lent his support to numerous animal welfare organizations, including PETA, and was a voice for those who could not speak for themselves.

Ernest Borgnine received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In 1960, Borgnine was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, recognizing his significant contributions to the entertainment industry. Located at 6324 Hollywood Boulevard, his star continues to be a testament to his enduring legacy.

He was a skilled helicopter pilot.

Outside of his acting career, Borgnine discovered a passion for flying. He obtained his pilot’s license and was particularly skilled in piloting helicopters. His love for aviation led him to participate in air shows and even perform stunt flying.

Borgnine portrayed the character Dominic Santini in the television series “Airwolf.”

In the hit 1980s series “Airwolf,” Borgnine took on the role of Dominic Santini, a skilled helicopter pilot. The show captivated audiences with its thrilling aerial action and Borgnine’s charismatic portrayal of the character.

He published an autobiography titled “Ernie.”

In 2008, Borgnine released his autobiography, titled “Ernie.” The book delves into his journey from humble beginnings to becoming an acclaimed actor, shedding light on both his personal and professional life.

Ernest Borgnine was a proud recipient of the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award.

In 2011, Borgnine was bestowed with the Screen Actors Guild’s most esteemed honor, the Life Achievement Award. This recognition celebrated his exceptional career and his contributions to the world of acting.

He had a successful voice acting career in animated movies.

Borgnine’s distinctive voice became a sought-after asset in the world of animated movies. He lent his talents to films such as “All Dogs Go to Heaven 2,” “An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island,” and “The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride,” bringing life to memorable characters.

Ernest Borgnine starred in the cult classic horror film “Willard.”

In the 1971 horror film “Willard,” Borgnine played the role of Al Martin, a menacing and wealthy businessman. The film developed a devoted following over the years and solidified its status as a cult classic.

He was a beloved guest on various late-night talk shows.

Borgnine’s charisma and infectious personality made him a popular guest on late-night talk shows. His appearances on programs like “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” and “Late Night with David Letterman” left audiences laughing and entertained.

Ernest Borgnine starred in the science fiction series “The Black Hole.”

In the Disney science fiction film “The Black Hole” (1979), Borgnine played the role of Harry Booth, a journalist and one of the crew members of the USS Cygnus. The movie combined thrilling space exploration with Borgnine’s magnetic on-screen presence.

He was the voice of the character Carface Carruthers in the animated film “All Dogs Go to Heaven.”

In the animated film “All Dogs Go to Heaven” (1989), Borgnine provided the voice for the villainous Carface Carruthers. His deep and distinctive voice brought the cunning and conniving character to life.

Borgnine received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Santa Fe Film Festival.

In recognition of his contributions to the film industry and his exceptional body of work, Borgnine was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Santa Fe Film Festival. This accolade celebrated his iconic performances and his enduring impact on cinema.

He passed away on July 8, 2012, at the age of 95.

Ernest Borgnine’s remarkable journey came to an end on July 8, 2012, at the age of His immeasurable talent, unforgettable presence, and indomitable spirit have forever left a mark on the world of entertainment.


In conclusion, Ernest Borgnine was a legendary actor who left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. With a career spanning over six decades, he showcased his versatility in both film and television through iconic roles that have stood the test of time. From his Academy Award-winning performance in “Marty” to his memorable portrayal of Quinton McHale in “McHale’s Navy,” Borgnine captivated audiences with his talent and charisma.

Beyond his acting prowess, Borgnine was known for his humility, warmth, and genuine love for his craft. He consistently demonstrated dedication to his work, always going the extra mile to deliver unforgettable performances. His passion for acting was infectious, inspiring countless aspiring actors and leaving a lasting legacy in the industry.

Ernest Borgnine’s remarkable career and contributions to the world of entertainment will continue to be celebrated for generations to come. His talent, charm, and undeniable screen presence will forever be remembered, making him a true icon in the realm of cinema and television.


Q: How many movies did Ernest Borgnine appear in?

A: Ernest Borgnine appeared in over 200 movies throughout his career.

Q: What was Ernest Borgnine’s breakthrough film?

A: Ernest Borgnine’s breakthrough film was “Marty” in 1955, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

Q: What television show was Ernest Borgnine famous for?

A: Ernest Borgnine was famous for his role as Quinton McHale in the popular television series “McHale’s Navy.”

Q: Did Ernest Borgnine serve in the military?

A: Yes, Ernest Borgnine served in the United States Navy during World War II.

Q: What was Ernest Borgnine’s last film?

A: Ernest Borgnine’s last film was “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez,” released in 2012.

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