RIP Ernest Borgnine: Generations Of Memories
Ernest Borgnine, the lovable gap-toothed, portly, Academy Award-winning, joyous-voiced TV and film actor from countless films & television shows from the past 60 years, passed away yesterday at the age of 95. He leaves behind an entertainment legacy that has spanned generations, but his presence will never be forgotten from some of the most cherished films and TV shows of all time.
Ernest had an unmistakable appearance with an equally memorable voice to match, working well into his 90′s to the delight of his fans both young and old. From his early roles in such classics as 1953′s ‘From Here to Eternity’ to his dancing striptease in 1998′s offbeat comedy ‘BASEketball’ Ernest Borgnine knew how to entertain and never let us down.
Personally, the two roles I will always remember him for are gun-toting Dutch Engstrom from Sam Peckinpah’s epic, violent western ‘The Wild Bunch’ and as the insanely fun ‘Cabbie’ from John Carpenter‘s 1981 cult classic ‘Escape From New York’ who helps Snake Plissken escape the marauding horde with a little help from his molotov cocktail. Those roles continue to be iconic, pop culture staples that represent only a small fraction of Ernest‘s career. No matter how many times I see those films I smile every time he is on the screen, and I know I always will.
Decades ago, Ernest starred in the beloved television comedy series ‘McHale’s Navy’ along with co-star Tin Conway. Their on-screen chemistry was so timeless and addictive that 35 years later they appeared together as underwater superhero duo Mermaid Man & Barnacle Boy in the insanely popular kids cartoon series ‘SpongeBob Squarepants‘ for a dozen special guest appearances. How’s THAT for timeless entertainment?
The fact that my grandparents, my parents, myself and my children have been entertained for over half a century speaks volumes to the appeal and love I have for Ernest Borgnine and his accomplishments. Screen legends will always come and go, but Ernest will always hold a special place in my heart and I am so happy my own children had a chance to experience the joy that he was capable of bringing. Ernest Borgnine, you are already truly missed and I thank you greatly. Rest in peace, old friend.