Actor. He received the 1955 Best Actor Oscar Award for his portrayal of the title role in the motion picture "Marty" (1955), and was best known to television audiences for playing 'Lt. Commander Quinton McHale' in the World War II comedy series "McHale's Navy" (1962 to 1966). Born Ermes Effron Borgnino, the son of Italian parentage, he spent part of his youth living in Milan where he learned to speak Italian fluently. After returning to Connecticut, he completed his schooling and joined the United States Navy, whom he served with until the conclusion of World War II. Upon his return home, he developed an interest in acting and enrolled at the Randall School of Dramatic Art in Hartford and later became a member of a theatrical group in Virginia. Minor roles on television followed and in 1951, he marked his motion picture debut with the film "China Corsair". His uneven features (which included gap teeth and beady eyes) allowed for initial typecasting as the "heavy" and the best example of this was his playing the sadistic 'Sgt. "Fatso" Judson' in the motion picture "From Here to Eternity" (1953). He continued to impress in villainous parts such as the bully 'Coley' who leaned on Spencer Tracy in "Bad Day at Black Rock" (1954). This film was one of many pairings with Borgnine's close friend Lee Marvin. In 1955, he was tapped to inherit the role of 'Marty Piletti', the lonely butcher (Rod Steiger previously played the character on television) in the film version of "Marty" and received an Academy Award for his effort. The picture also displayed Borgnine's versatile talents as a performer. In 1962, he was cast in the title role for "McHale's Navy" and showed a flair for comedy during the series' run. He received an Emmy Award in 1963 for that part. The show's popularity resulted with a 1964 film adaptation. He was reunited with Lee Marvin in "The Dirty Dozen" (1967) and closed out the 1960s with performances in "Ice Station Zebra" (1968) and as one of William Holden's riding partners in "The Wild Bunch" (1969). He added "disaster movies" to his resume with "The Poseidon Adventure" (1972). Other notable credits include "Vera Cruz" (1954), "The Vikings" (1957), "Willard" (1973) and "Emperor of the North" (1973). During his eighties until his death at the age of 95, he found himself more in demand than many actors half his age. Other prominent television roles include the series "Airwolf" (1984 to 1986) and "The Single Guy" (1995 to 1997). To a new generation of television viewers, he was known for his recurring part of 'Mermaidman' in the animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants" (paired with his former "McHale's Navy" co-star Tim Conway). He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and totaled more than 200 television and film credits during the course of his career. Among his former wives include actress Katy Jurado and entertainer Ethel Merman (briefly in 1964).
Bio by: C.S.