R.I.P. Ernest Borgnine

Legendary actor Ernest Borgnine has passed away from renal failure. He was 95.

Borgnine, who endeared himself to a generation of Baby Boomers with the 1960s TV comedy “McHale’s Navy,” first attracted notice in the early 1950s in villain roles, notably as the vicious Fatso Judson, who beat Frank Sinatra to death in “From Here to Eternity.”

Then came “Marty,” a low-budget film based on a Paddy Chayefsky television play that starred Rod Steiger. Borgnine played a 34-year-old who fears he is so unattractive he will never find romance. Then, at a dance, he meets a girl with the same fear.

Sure, sure, Borgnine will be remembered for Marty, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, From Here to Eternity, Escape from New York, or The Poseidon Adventure. Or, hell, a dozen other TV shows or movies. I’ll always remember him from Airwolf. That show rocked my world as a little kid growing up.

It’s too bad Borgnine never got to become the male, cultural equivalent to Betty White. He so richly deserved that kind of adoration.

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