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Ernest Borgnine dead at 95

July 8, 2012 |  2:28 pm

Ernest Borgnine, the beefy screen star known for blustery, often villainous roles but who won the lead-actor Oscar for playing against type as a lovesick butcher in 1955's “Marty,” died Sunday. He was 95.

His longtime spokesman, Harry Flynn, told the Associated Press that Borgnine died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with his family by his side.

Television fans loved Borgnine as the scheming Navy officer in the sitcom “McHale's Navy.” Borgnine was also known as the heavy who beats up Frank Sinatra in “From Here to Eternity,” and one of the thugs who menaces Spencer Tracy in “Bad Day at Block Rock.”

PHOTOS: Ernest Borgnine | 1917-2012

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.

“Sooner or later, there comes a point in a man's life when he's gotta face some facts,” Marty movingly tells his mother at one point in the film. “And one fact I gotta face is that, whatever it is that women like, I ain't got it. I chased after enough girls in my life. I-I went to enough dances. I got hurt enough. I don't wanna get hurt no more.”

The realism of Chayefsky's prose and Delbert Mann's sensitive direction astonished audiences accustomed to happy Hollywood formulas. Borgnine won the Oscar and awards from the Cannes Film Festival, New York Critics and National Board of Review.


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— Associated Press

Photo: Ernest Borgnine at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in 2011 at the Shrine Auditorium. He received a Life Achievement Award. Credit: Jason Merritt / Getty Images