A Hollywood Republican.
LOS ANGELES — Ernest Borgnine seemed born to play the heavy when he burst onto the Hollywood scene as “Fatso” Judson, a sadistic stockade sergeant who viciously beats a private to death in the 1953 movie “From Here to Eternity.”
But two years later came the title role in “Marty,” where the stocky, gap-toothed Borgnine defied typecasting and earned recognition as a versatile actor by inhabiting the part of a lonely Bronx butcher looking for love.
He went on to a prolific seven-decade career in film and television, moving easily from scoundrels and serious portrayals to a comedic role on the 1960s TV sitcom “McHale’s Navy” and a spate of grandfatherly parts.
Borgnine, who won an Academy Award for his performance in “Marty,” died Sunday of apparent kidney failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, said his longtime publicist, Harry Flynn.
Here’s a bit from the Tampa Bay Times:
One of his final roles was a bit part as a CIA records-keeper in 2010′s action comedy “Red” – fittingly for his age, a story of retired spies who show that it’s never too late to remain in the game when they’re pulled back into action.
“I keep telling myself, `Damn it, you gotta go to work,’” Borgnine said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press. “But there aren’t many people who want to put Borgnine to work these days. They keep asking, `Is he still alive?’”
And yet people put him to work – and kept him working – from his late-blooming start as an actor after a 10-year Navy career through modern times, when he had a recurring voice role on “SpongeBob SquarePants,” became the oldest actor ever nominated for a Golden Globe and received the lifetime-achievement award last year from the Screen Actors Guild.
I loved “Red.”
Rest in peace, Ernest.