He won the Best Actor of 1955 Academy Award for his performance as Marty.
Saturday, August 23rd, is Ernest Borgnine Day on cable's Turner Classic Movies. Borgnine looked like he was born to drive a truck instead of being a movie actor. But a movie actor he was -- and a fine one. When a lot of us baby boomers were youngsters, we laughed at him every week on TV.
Sally Field, Tom Hanks, Robin Williams and Ron Howard starred on ABC sitcoms. They graduated over to the big screen and won their Oscars for dramatic film work. Field, Hanks and Williams won for acting. Howard won for directing the 2001 drama, A Beautiful Mind. Ernest Borgnine won his Oscar for a dramatic film role then went on to years of success in the 1960s starring on the ABC sitcom, McHale's Navy.
Every guy -- regardless of color, creed or sexual orientation -- should see Ernest Borgnine as Marty in that scene. Millions of us have lived that moment. Marty puts us on common ground. Gay men should watch this. It's a sad fact that our community can be one in which a man's sole worth is based on his looks. He needs to be eye-candy. A shallow snob with a ripped torso who looks terrific in swim trunks can get invites to the fabulous parties. But if you look like Marty and rescued some orphans from a burning building, you could be sitting alone at the bar in a gay club in West Hollywood, catch on fire yourself, and no one would pick up the seltzer gun to put out your flames. Personally, in New York, I was once told what a wonderful guy I am. Then his statement ended with "...but I'm really into bodybuilders." And I've been stood up on dates.