The AP is reporting that actor Ernest Borgnine has died of renal failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He was 95.
Borgnine was best known for his work in both film and TV, having starred on the program "McHale's Navy," as Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale. Up on the big screen, Borgnine won an Oscar for one of his earliest roles, as the lead character in 1955's "Marty," which saw the actor playing a 34-year-old single man who gets pressured by his friends and family to find a wife and settle down.
A year earlier, Borgnine starred in the film "From Here to Eternity." as Staff Sergeant James R. "Fatso" Judson, a character who famously beats up Frank Sinatra's Private Angelo Maggio. Last year, Borgnine spoke about that role to NPR, stating that "he was a hard character to get along with. And he had a cigar. He always had a cigar in his mouth. Now if the cigar was down, and it was just kind of relaxing in his mouth, that was fine. But if that cigar stuck straight out, watch yourself."
Borgnine would go on to star in dozens of other films, including "The Dirty Dozen," "The Wild Bunch," The Poseidon Adventure" and "Escape From New York." According to IMDb, the actor's final film is "The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente," which is scheduled for release some time this year.
From Here to Eternity (1953)
Borgnine first made his mark as Sgt. "Fatso" Judson, the bully who brutally beats skinny Pvt. Maggio (Frank Sinatra) to a pulp. Here, the rough-hewn actor set the template for the heavies and villians he'd play throughout his career.
Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)
It's set in the days after World War II, but John Sturges' thriller plays like a classic western. Spencer Tracy is the one-armed stranger in town, and Borgnine is Coley Trimble, the local bruiser who wants to make sure the town's dirty secrets stay buried. Another great heavy role for Borgnine.
Borgnine was a more intuitive actor than the Method-trained Rod Steiger (who starred in the TV version that preceded the movie), but he proved the right choice to play the lonely Bronx butcher who finds a tentative romance in this kitchen-sink drama. After he'd become known as a heavy, Borgnine's transformation into a city mouse surprised everyone and earned him a well-deserved Best Actor Oscar.
The Dirty Dozen (1967)
In the World War II commando drama that <a href="http://news.moviefone.com/2012/06/13/the-dirty-dozen-45th-anniversary_n_1594779.html" target="_hplink">built the blueprint for the modern macho action movie</a>, Borgnine graduates to elder statesman status as a gruff general. He also sets a pattern for himself, serving as one tough guy among many in ensemble action pieces. Such as...
The Wild Bunch (1969)
Borgnine is an invaluable part of the ensemble in Sam Peckinpah's milestone revisionist western. By this time, Borgnine was a veteran hard man, which gave his aging outlaw Dutch an elegaic poignance, but he was also hip enough to Peckinpah's new ideas about how to portray bloodshed poetically that he seems thoroughly modern in his willingness to raise the bar on screen bloodshed.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
The movie is often derided as the first of a (rogue) wave of cheesy all-star disaster movies, but this one had a cast larded with Oscar-winners (Borgnine, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons, Gene Hackman), all emoting at the top of their drowning lungs. Arguably, the heart of the movie is Borgnine's Rogo, a cop married to a former hooker, who undergoes the most surprising emotional journey as he reluctantly joins the band of survivors struggling to free themselves from the capsized ocean liner.
Emperor of the North (1973)
Borgnine faces off against "Dirty Dozen" co-star Lee Marvin on this Depression-era adventure. As a train conductor who'll go to any lengths to keep hoboes from hitching rides, Borgnine's cold-blooded Shack was the actor's own pick for the scariest villain of his career.
The Black Hole (1979)
In this pioneering Disney sci-fi movie, Borgnine seems almost out of place, as if his sweater-clad reporter Harry Booth had shambled onto the spaceship from another movie. But he soon proves his worth as part of the action team pursuing a renegade scientist and his scary robot at the edge of the universe.
Escape From New York (1981)
He's just called "Cabbie," but Borgnine's cab driver proves immeasurably helpful to Kurt Russell's Snake Plissken during his rescue mission in the prison-island Manhattan of the near future. He's one of many action vets John Carpenter has cast in the movie as sort of a wink to the pulp thrillers we'd all grown up with, and which Borgnine had made a staple of his career.
Spike of Bensonhurst (1988)
Not a great movie (or a terrible one), but Borgnine steals it as a politically-minded mafia boss trying to keep the young hero (a Brooklyn street kid who dreams of boxing glory) away from his daughter. Borgnine and on-screen wife Anne De Salvo are priceless in their depiction of the mundane marital dramas of mafia life (in a way that anticipates "Married to the Mob" and "The Sopranos"). Borgnine often turned to comedy during his late career, but this was one role that also suited his larger-than-life, been-there-done-that persona.