For over a hundred years some of the greatest video treasures of all time have been produced. Some have been lost in the sands of time and others, soon to be rediscovered, will become fan favorites for a whole new generation.
Each week we will feature just one of the many hidden gems that you can see on ATVN with insights and commentaries on classic television shows and legendary cinematic performances.
As we approach the birth date anniversary of one of television and films great actors, we salute the talented career of Ernest Borgnine.
Born Ermes Effron Borgnino, Ernest on January 24th, 1917 in Harriden, Connecticut to the son of immigrant parents. When he was two years old, his parents divorced and Ernest went to live with his mother in Italy.
Four years later his parents reconciled and he grew up in Hartford, Connecticut. According to the book Real To Reel: 25 Years Of Celebrity Interviews, Borgnine (it was his father that changed the family name when the couple reunited) showed only interest in sports and had no thought whatsoever about working in the entertainment industry. Upon graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Navy. While he was honorably discharged in 1941, he quickly reenlisted when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
He was honorably discharged again after the conclusion of World War II and received a hero’s welcome when he returned home to his parents house in Connecticut. But after a few weeks his mother was strongly suggesting he move on with his life. He applied for a job as a factory worker but his heart wasn’t into his work and his mother suggested he try something more “glamorous.”
According to an interview with the British Film Institute conducted on October 7th, 2007, Borgnine outlines the path that led him to a successful career in acting and his mother’s role in making that happen: “She said, ‘You always like getting in front of people and making a fool of yourself, why don’t you give it a try?’ I was sitting at the kitchen table and I saw this light. No kidding. It sounds crazy. And 10 years later, I had Grace Kelly handing me an Academy Award.”
Just some of his early career highlights between his kitchen table and Grace Kelly, include the following….
He went to actors in Connecticut and then in Virginia, early small roles in State of the Union and The Glass Menagerie before playing the role of the Nurse in the Broadway runaway hit, Harvey. After one TV appearance in Captain Video and a handful of small films, Borgnine landed a major role in the film classic, From Here To Eternity.
In 1955, the actor starred as a warmhearted butcher in Marty, the film version of the television play of the same title. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor over fellow nominees Frank Sinatra, James Dean (who had died by the time of the ceremony), and former Best Actor winners Spencer Tracy and James Cagney.
For the same role, he also captured the following awards: BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor, Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a drama motion picture, New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor and the National Board of Review Award for Best Actor.
But his stellar career and success on the stage, in television and in films was just getting started. We’ll continue our look at Borgnine’s career, next week here at The Showplace. In the meantime, you can see Ernest Borgnine in films like Laser Mission and other classic performances on ATVN.
To view the complete rundown of classic programming on ATVN, check out the weekly listings here on our website.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Astound Broadband or any other agency, organization, employer or company.