Name at birth: Ermes Effron Borgnino
Once one of Hollywood's busiest character actors and a frequent villain, Ernest Borgnine was best known for his good-guy roles in two television favorites, the wartime comedy McHale's Navy (1962-66) and the adventure drama Airwolf (1984-86). Ernest Borgnine spent ten years in the U.S. Navy (1935-45) before he began studying acting. In 1951, after four years at Virginia's Barter Theater and a role on Broadway, Borgnine went to Hollywood. His wide, gap-toothed face made him a natural bad guy type, and he received rave reviews for his performances as a sadistic sergeant in From Here to Eternity (1953, with Frank Sinatra), and as a nasty ruffian in Bad Day at Black Rock (1955). But he was cast against type in the drama Marty (1955), playing a good-hearted but lonely New York butcher. The role won him an Oscar and changed his Hollywood persona. He went on to TV stardom as Lt. Commander Quinton McHale, the jovial PT boat skipper in the World War II TV sitcom McHale's Navy. Borgnine appeared in hundreds of television and feature film productions, including roles with Lee Marvin in The Dirty Dozen (1967) and Emperor of the North Pole (1973) and with William Holden in Sam Peckinpah's The Wild Bunch (1969). He also guest starred as the voice of Mermaid Man in the animated series Spongebob Squarepants. His memoir, Ernie: The Autobiography, was published in 2008.
Ernest Borgnine’s wife, Tova, pitched her own brand of skin cream on cable television… Ernest Borgnine married Broadway star Ethel Merman in 1964. They broke it off 32 days later, and were formally divorced in 1965.