He was 95
Ernest Borgnine, the rough-hewn actor who seemed destined for tough-guy characters but won an Academy Award for embodying the gentlest of souls, a lonely Bronx butcher in the 1955 film “Marty,” died Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 95.
The death, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, was announced by Harry Flynn, his longtime spokesman.
Leaving a mark behind
Mr. Borgnine made his first memorable impression in films at the age of 36, appearing in “From Here to Eternity” (1953) as Fatso Judson, the sadistic stockade sergeant who beats Frank Sinatra’s character, Pvt. Angelo Maggio, to death.
But Paddy Chayefsky, who wrote “Marty” as a television play, and Delbert Mann, who directed it, saw something beyond brutality in Mr. Borgnine and offered him the title role when it was made into a feature film.
The 1950s had emerged as the decade of the common man, with Willy Loman of “Death of a Salesman” on Broadway and the likes of the bus driver Ralph Kramden (“The Honeymooners”) on television. Mr. Borgnine’s Marty Pilletti, a 34-year-old blue-collar bachelor who still lives with his mother, fit right in, showing the tender side of the average, unglamorous guy next door.
He received the Oscar for best actor for his portrayal, which also earned a Golden Globe Award.