Ernest Borgnine

Ernest Borgnine

Birth name: Ermes Effron Borgnino
Born: January 24, 1917
Died: July 8, 2012 (at age 95)
Birthplace: Hamden, Connecticut, U.S.

Ermes Effron Borgnino, known as Ernest Borgnine (/ˈbɔːrɡnaɪn/; January 24, 1917 - July 8, 2012) was an American film and television actor whose career spanned more than six decades. He was an unconventional lead in many films of the 1950s, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1955 for Marty. On television, he played Quinton McHale in the 1962-1966 series McHale's Navy and co-starred in the mid-1980s action series Airwolf, in addition to a wide variety of other roles. Borgnine earned an Emmy Award nomination at age 92 for his work on the series ER. He was also known for being the original voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants from 1999 to 2012.

Early life

Ernest Borgnine was born Ermes Effron Borgnino on January 24, 1917, in Hamden, Connecticut. He was the son of Anna (née Boselli; 1894-1949), who emigrated from Carpi (Modena, Italy) to the United States, and Camillo Borgnino (1891-1975), who emigrated from Ottiglio (Alessandria, Italy).

Borgnine's parents separated when he was two years old, and his mother and he lived in Italy for about 4 1/2 years. By 1923, his parents had reconciled, the family name was changed from Borgnino to Borgnine, and his father changed his first name to Charles. Ernest had a sister, Evelyn Borgnine Velardi (1925-2013). The family settled in New Haven, Connecticut, where he graduated from James Hillhouse High School. Borgnine took to sports while growing up, but showed no interest in acting.

Naval service

Borgnine joined the United States Navy in October 1935, after graduation from high school. He served aboard the destroyer/destroyer minesweeper USS Lamberton (DD-119; AG-21 and DMS-2) and was honorably discharged from the Navy in October 1941. In January 1942, he reenlisted in the Navy after the attack on Pearl Harbor. During World War II, he patrolled the Atlantic Coast on an antisubmarine warfare ship, the USS Sylph (PY-12). In September 1945, he was honorably discharged from the Navy. He served a total of almost ten years in the Navy and obtained the rank of gunner's mate 1st class.

Borgnine's military awards include: the Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Campaign Medal with 3⁄16" bronze star, and the World War II Victory Medal.

In 1997, Borgnine received the United States Navy Memorial, Lone Sailor Award.

On December 7, 2000, Borgnine was named the Veterans Foundation's Veteran of the Year.

In October 2004, Borgnine received the honorary title of chief petty officer from Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott. The ceremony for Borgnine's naval advancement was held at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. He received the special honor for his naval service and support of the Navy and navy families worldwide.

On February 5, 2007, he received the California Commendation Medal.

Acting career

Borgnine returned to his parents' house in Connecticut after his Navy discharge without a job to go back to and no direction. In a British Film Institute interview about his life and career, he said:

After World War II, we wanted no more part in war. I didn't even want to be a boy-scout. I went home and said that I was through with the Navy and so now, what do we do? So I went home to mother, and after a few weeks of patting me on the back and, "You did good," and everything else, one day she said, "Well?" like mothers do. Which meant, "All right, you gonna get a job or what?"

He took a local factory job, but was unwilling to settle down to that kind of work. His mother encouraged him to pursue a more glamorous profession and suggested to him that his personality would be well suited for the stage. He surprised his mother by taking the suggestion to heart, although his father was far from enthusiastic. In 2011, Borgnine remembered,

She said, "You always like getting in front of people and making a fool of yourself, why don't you give it a try?" I was sitting at the kitchen table and I saw this light. No kidding. It sounds crazy. And 10 years later, I had Grace Kelly handing me an Academy Award.


He studied acting and graduated, auditioned, and was accepted as an intern to the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. It had been named for the director's allowing audiences to barter produce for admission during the cash-lean years of the Great Depression. In 1947, Borgnine landed his first stage role in State of the Union. Although it was a short role, he won over the audience. His next role was as the Gentleman Caller in Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie.

In 1949, Borgnine went to New York, where he had his Broadway debut in the role of a nurse in the play Harvey. More roles on stage led him to being cast for decades as a character actor.


An appearance as the villain on TV's Captain Video led to Borgnine's casting in the motion picture The Whistle at Eaton Falls (1951) for Columbia Pictures. That year, Borgnine moved to Los Angeles, California, where he eventually received his big break in Columbia's From Here to Eternity (1953), playing the sadistic Sergeant "Fatso" Judson, who beats a stockade prisoner in his charge, Angelo Maggio (played by Frank Sinatra). Borgnine built a reputation as a dependable character actor and played villains in early films, including movies such as Johnny Guitar, Vera Cruz, and Bad Day at Black Rock.

In 1955, the actor starred as a warmhearted butcher in Marty, the film version of the television play of the same name. He gained an Academy Award for Best Actor over Frank Sinatra, James Dean (who had died by the time of the ceremony), and former Best Actor winners Spencer Tracy and James Cagney.

Borgnine's film career flourished for the next three decades, including roles in The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Ice Station Zebra (1968), The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Emperor of the North (1973), Convoy (1978), The Black Hole (1979), All Quiet on the Western Front (1979), and Escape from New York (1981).

One of his most famous roles was that of Dutch, a member of The Wild Bunch in the 1969 Western classic from director Sam Peckinpah. Of his role in The Wild Bunch, Borgnine later said,

I did . Because to me, every picture should have some kind of a moral to it. I feel that when we used to watch old pictures, as we still do I'm sure, the bad guys always got it in the end and the good guys always won out. Today it's a little different. Today it seems that the bad guys are getting the good end of it. There was always a moral in our story.


Borgnine made his TV debut as a character actor in Captain Video and His Video Rangers, beginning in 1951. These two episodes led to countless other television roles that Borgnine would gain in Goodyear Television Playhouse, The Ford Television Theatre, Fireside Theatre, Frontier Justice, Laramie, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Run for Your Life, Little House on the Prairie (a two-part episode entitled "The Lord is My Shepherd"), The Love Boat, Magnum, P.I., Highway to Heaven, Murder, She Wrote, Walker, Texas Ranger, Home Improvement, Touched by an Angel, and the final episodes of ER, the first episode of Wagon Train, and many others.

In 2009, at the age of 92, Borgnine earned an Emmy nomination for his performances in the final two episodes of ER.

McHale's Navy

In 1962, Borgnine signed a contract with Universal Studios for the lead role as the gruff but lovable skipper, Quinton McHale, in what began as a serious one-hour 1962 episode called Seven Against the Sea for Alcoa Premiere, and later reworked to a comedy called McHale's Navy, a World War II sitcom. The insubordinate crew of PT-73 helped the show become an overnight success during its first season, landing in the Top 30 in 1963.

Like the McHale character, Borgnine was a longtime navy man in real life. He thrived on the adulation from fans for their favorite navy man, and in 1963 received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. At the end of the fourth season, in 1966 low ratings and repetitive storylines brought McHale's Navy to an end. Comedian Tim Conway said about the sitcom: "You know, we were all guys, it was about the war, and about men, so, there weren't many women working on the show, so we can spit, talk, swear, and everything—smoke? Gosh. So, it was male oriented." Conway once referred to Borgnine making new friends off of the Universal set, "It was the beginning of the trams, going through Universal. Ernie was probably one of the few people at Universal, who would stop the trams and say, 'Hello, how are you?' He would talk to everybody at the tram." While the show McHale's Navy was going strong, Tim had also said of Borgnine's short-lived marriage to Ethel Merman, "Ernie is volatile. I mean, there's no question about that; and Ethel was a very strong lady. So, you put 2 bombs in a room, something is going to explode, and I guess it probably did." The last thing he said about the McHale's Navy cancellation was, "We had gone from the South Pacific to Italy, and then, once in a while, we got to New York or something. The storylines were beginning to duplicate themselves. So, they actually said, 'Maybe, they had its run!'". Conway kept in touch with Borgnine for more than 40 years, while living not too far from one another. In 1999, the duo reunited to guest-voice in several episodes of the popular 2000s animated comedy, SpongeBob SquarePants. Katy Jurado's death in 2002 drew Borgnine and Conway much closer, as Tim had heard so much of the actress's death. He said he heard his resisting friend once referred to one of his ex-wives, "Beautiful, but a tiger."


Borgnine returned to a new contract with Universal Studios in 1983, for a co-starring role opposite Jan-Michael Vincent, on Airwolf. After he was approached by producer Donald P. Bellisario, who had been impressed by Borgnine's guest role as a wrestler in a 1982 episode of Magnum, P.I., he immediately agreed. He played Dominic Santini, a helicopter pilot, in the series, which became an immediate hit. Borgnine's strong performances belied his exhaustion due to the grueling production schedule, and the challenges of working with his younger, troubled series lead. The show was cancelled by CBS in 1986.

The Single Guy

He auditioned a third time for a co-starring role opposite Jonathan Silverman in The Single Guy as doorman Manny Cordoba, which lasted two seasons. According to Silverman, Borgnine came to work with more energy and passion than all other stars combined. He was the first person to arrive on the set every day and the last to leave.

Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders

In 1996, Borgnine starred in the televised fantasy/thriller film Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders (partially adapted from the 1984 horror film The Devil's Gift). As narrator and storyteller, Borgnine recounts a string of related supernatural tales, his modern-day fables notably centering on an enchanted and malicious cymbal-banging monkey toy stolen from the wizard Merlin. The film was later featured in the parodical television series Mystery Science Theater 3000, and has since gained a prominent cult following.

Other activities

Also in 1996, Borgnine toured the United States on a bus to meet his fans and see the country. The trip was the subject of a 1997 documentary, Ernest Borgnine on the Bus. He also served one year as the chairman of the National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans, visiting patients in many Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers.

Work after 1999

Starting in 1999, Borgnine provided his voice talent to the animated sitcom SpongeBob SquarePants as the elderly superhero Mermaid Man (where he was paired up with his McHale's Navy co-star Tim Conway as the voice of Mermaid Man's sidekick Barnacle Boy). He expressed affection for this role, in no small part for its popularity among children. After his death Nickelodeon re-aired all of the episodes in which Mermaid Man appeared in memoriam. Borgnine also appeared as himself in The Simpsons episode "Boy-Scoutz 'n the Hood", in addition to a number of television commercials. In 2000, he was the executive producer of Hoover, in which he was the only credited actor.

In 2007, Borgnine starred in the Hallmark original film A Grandpa for Christmas. He played a man who, after his estranged daughter ends up in the hospital because of a car accident, discovers that he has a granddaughter he never knew about. She is taken into his care, and they soon become great friends. Borgnine received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture made for Television for his performance. At 90, he was the oldest Golden Globe nominee ever.

Borgnine's autobiography Ernie was published by Citadel Press in July 2008. Ernie is a loose, conversational recollection of highlights from his acting career and notable events from his personal life.

On April 2, 2009, he appeared in the last episode of the long-running medical series ER. His role was that of a husband whose long marriage ended with his wife's death. In his final scene, his character is in a hospital bed lying beside his just-deceased wife. His performance garnered an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, his third nomination and his first in 29 years (since being nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special in 1980 for All Quiet on the Western Front).

In 2009, at age 92, he starred as Frank, the main character of Another Harvest Moon, directed by Greg Swartz and also starring Piper Laurie and Anne Meara. On October 2, 2010, Borgnine appeared as himself in a sketch on Saturday Night Live. On October 15, 2010, he appeared in Red, which was filmed earlier that year. In late 2011, Borgnine completed what would be his last film, playing Rex Page in The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernandez.

Personal life and death

Borgnine married five times. His first wife was Rhoda Kemins (1949-1958), whom he met while serving in the Navy. They had one daughter, Nancee (born May 28, 1952).

He then married actress Katy Jurado (1959-1963). Borgnine's marriage to singer Ethel Merman (1964) lasted 32 days. Their divorce was finalized on May 25, 1965.

Borgnine married Donna Rancourt (1965-1972), with whom he had a son, Cristopher (born August 9, 1969) and two daughters, Sharon (born August 5, 1965) and Diana (born December 29, 1970). His fifth and last marriage was to Tova Traesnaes, which lasted from February 24, 1973 until his death.

In 2000, Borgnine received his 50-year pin as a Freemason in Abingdon Lodge No. 48, Abingdon, Virginia. He joined the Scottish Rite Valley of Los Angeles in 1964, received the KCCH in 1979, was crowned a 33° Inspector General Honorary in 1983, and received the Grand Cross of the Court of Honour in 1991.

Borgnine was a heavy smoker until 1962, after which he became a militant anti-smoker.

Borgnine died of kidney failure on July 8, 2012 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California with his family at his side. He was 95 years old.

The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water was dedicated to Borgnine.


Borgnine's hometown of Hamden, Connecticut, where he enjoyed a large and vocal following, named a street in his honor. For 30 years (1972-2002), Borgnine marched in Milwaukee's annual Great Circus Parade as the "Grand Clown".

In 1994, Borgnine received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations.

In 1997, Borgnine was the commencement speaker at Lakeland College, and received an honorary doctorate in humane letters in recognition of his distinguished acting career.

In 1998, the Palm Springs, California, Walk of Stars dedicated a Golden Palm Star to him.

Film awards and nominations

Borgnine won the 1955 Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Marty Piletti in the film Marty. At the time of his death, he was the oldest living recipient of the Best Actor Oscar.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Ernest Borgnine received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6324 Hollywood Blvd. In 1996, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City.

He was honored with the Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award at the 17th Screen Actors Guild Awards, held January 30, 2011.

Year Award Category Title Result
1955 Academy Award Best Actor in a Leading Role Marty Won
BAFTA Award Best Foreign Actor Won
Golden Globe Award Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama Won
NBR Award Best Actor Won
NYFCC Award Best Actor Won
1962 Emmy Award Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Series (Lead) McHale's Navy Nominated
1979 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or a Special All Quiet on the Western Front Nominated
1981 Golden Raspberry Award Worst Supporting Actor Deadly Blessing Nominated
1999 Emmy Award Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series Nominated
2007 Golden Globe Award Best Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television A Grandpa for Christmas Nominated
2009 Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series ER: And in the End... Nominated
2009 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhode Island International Film Festival Won
2011 Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award from the Screen Actors Guild Won

Awards from fraternal groups

In 2000, Borgnine received his 50-year pin as a Freemason in Abingdon Lodge No. 48, Abingdon, Virginia. He joined the Scottish Rite Valley of Los Angeles (in the Southern Jurisdiction of the U.S.A) in 1964, received the KCCH in 1979, was crowned a 33° Inspector General Honorary in 1983, and received the Grand Cross of the Court of Honour in 1991. He was also a member of the Loyal Order of Moose at that organization's Lodge in Junction City, Oregon. He volunteered to be Stories of Service National spokesman, urging his fellow World War II vets to come forward and share their stories.


Year Title Role Notes
1951 China Corsair Hu Chang
The Whistle at Eaton Falls Bill Street
The Mob Joe Castro
1953 From Here to Eternity Staff Sergeant James R. "Fatso" Judson
The Stranger Wore a Gun Bull Slager
1954 Johnny Guitar Bart Lonergan
Demetrius and the Gladiators Strabo
Bounty Hunter, TheThe Bounty Hunter Bill Rachin
Vera Cruz Donnegan
1955 Bad Day at Black Rock Coley Trimble
Marty Marty Academy Award for Best Actor
BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Drama
National Board of Review Award for Best Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Run for Cover Morgan
Violent Saturday Stadt, Amish Farmer
Last Command, TheThe Last Command Mike Radin
The Square Jungle Bernie Browne
1956 Jubal Shep Horgan
Catered Affair, TheThe Catered Affair Tom Hurley
Best Things in Life Are Free, TheThe Best Things in Life Are Free Lew Brown
Three Brave Men Bernard F. "Bernie" Goldsmith
1958 Vikings, TheThe Vikings Ragnar
Badlanders, TheThe Badlanders John "Mac" McBain
Torpedo Run Lieutenant/Lieutenant Commander Archer "Archie" Sloan
1959 Summer of the Seventeenth Doll Roo Webber
The Rabbit Trap Eddie Colt Locarno International Film Festival Award for Best Actor
1960 Man on a String Boris Mitrov
Pay or Die Police Lieutenant Joseph Petrosino Nominated - Golden Laurel
1961 Black City Peppino Navarra
The Italian Brigands Sante Carbone
Go Naked in the World Pete Stratton
Last Judgement, TheThe Last Judgement Pickpocket
Barabbas Lucius
1964 McHale's Navy Lt. Commander Quinton McHale, Sr Spin-off of the series of the same name
1965 Flight of the Phoenix, TheThe Flight of the Phoenix Trucker Cobb
1966 Oscar, TheThe Oscar Barney Yale
1967 Dirty Dozen, TheThe Dirty Dozen Major General Worden
Chuka Sergeant Otto Hansbach
1968 Man Who Makes the Difference, TheThe Man Who Makes the Difference Himself Documentary short film
Legend of Lylah Clare, TheThe Legend of Lylah Clare Barney Sheean
Ice Station Zebra Boris Vaslov
Split, TheThe Split Bert Clinger
1969 Wild Bunch, TheThe Wild Bunch Dutch Engstrom
Bullet for Sandoval, AA Bullet for Sandoval Don Pedro Sandoval
1970 Adventurers, TheThe Adventurers Fat Cat
Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? Sheriff Harve
1971 Rain for a Dusty Summer The General
Willard Al Martin
Bunny O'Hare Bill Green / William Gruenwald
Hannie Caulder Emmett Clemens
Sam Hill: Who Killed Mr. Foster? Deputy Sam Hill
Trackers, TheThe Trackers Sam Paxton
1972 World of Sport Fishing, TheThe World of Sport Fishing Himself Documentary
Film Portrait
Revengers, TheThe Revengers Hoop
Poseidon Adventure, TheThe Poseidon Adventure Detective Lieutenant Mike Rogo
Ripped Off Captain Perkins
1973 Emperor of the North Pole Shack
Neptune Factor, TheThe Neptune Factor Chief Diver Don MacKay
Legend in Granite Vince Lombardi
1974 Law and Disorder Cy
Vengeance Is Mine Adam Smith
Twice in a Lifetime Vince Boselli
1975 Devil's Rain, TheThe Devil's Rain Jonathan "John" Corbis
Hustle Santuro
1976 Shoot Lou
1977 Greatest, TheThe Greatest Angelo Dundee
Fire! Sam Brisbane
1978 Crossed Swords John Canty
Convoy Natoosha County Sheriff Lyle 'Cottonmouth' Wallace of Arizona
Ghost of Flight 401, TheThe Ghost of Flight 401 Dom Cimoli
Cops and Robin Joe Cleaver
1979 Ravagers Rann
Double McGuffin, TheThe Double McGuffin Firat
Black Hole, TheThe Black Hole Harry Booth
Holiday Hookers Max
1980 When Time Ran Out Detective Sergeant Tom Conti
Super Fuzz Sergeant Willy Dunlop
1981 Escape from New York Cabbie
Deadly Blessing Isaiah Schmidt
High Risk Clint
1983 Young Warriors Lieutenant Bob Carrigan
Carpool Mickey Doyle
1984 Code Name: Wild Geese Fletcher
Love Leads the Way: A True Story Senator Brighton
1985 Man Hunt Ben Robeson
Alice in Wonderland The Lion
1987 Skeleton Coast Colonel Smith
The Opponent Victor
1988 Big Turnaround, TheThe Big Turnaround Father Lopez
Moving Target Captain Morrison
Any Man's Death Herr Gantz
Spike of Bensonhurst Baldo Cacetti Nominated - Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Gummibärchen küßt man nicht Bischof
1989 Jake Spanner, Private Eye Sal
1990 Last Match, TheThe Last Match Coach
Tides of War Doctor
Laser Mission Professor Braun
Appearances Emil Danzig
1991 Mountain of Diamonds Ernie
1992 Mistress Himself Cameo
1993 Tierärztin Christine Dr. Gustav Gruber
Hunt for the Blue Diamond Hans Kroger
1994 Outlaws: Legend of O.B. Taggart, TheThe Outlaws: Legend of O.B. Taggart Unknown
1995 Captiva Island Arty
Tierärztin Christine II: The Temptation Dr. Gustav Gruber
1996 The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage Himself Voice; Documentary
Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders Grandfather
All Dogs Go to Heaven 2 Carface Carruthers Voice only
1997 Ernest Borgnine on the Bus Himself Documentary
McHale's Navy Admiral Quinton McHale, Sr. (a.k.a. Cobra) Based on the series of the same name
Gattaca Caesar
1998 12 Bucks Lucky
Small Soldiers Kip Killigan Voice
BASEketball Ted Denslow
Mel Grandpa
An All Dogs Christmas Carol Carface Carruthers Voice only
1999 Last Great Ride, TheThe Last Great Ride Franklin Lyle
Abilene Hotis Brown
Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island, TheThe Lost Treasure of Sawtooth Island Ben Quinn
2000 Kiss of Debt, TheThe Kiss of Debt Godfather Mariano
Castle Rock Nate
Hoover J. Edgar Hoover Also executive producer
2002 Whiplash Judge DuPont
11'09"01 September 11 Pensioner Segment: "United States of America"
2003 Barn Red Michael Bolini
American Hobo, TheThe American Hobo Narrator Documentary
Long Ride Home, TheThe Long Ride Home Lucas Moat
2004 Blueberry Rolling Star
Blue Light, TheThe Blue Light Faerie King
Trail to Hope Rose, TheThe Trail to Hope Rose Eugene
2005 That One Summer Otis Garner
3 Below Grandpa
Rail Kings Steamtrain
2006 The Bodyguard's Cure Jerry Warden
Frozen Stupid Frank Norgard
2007 Oliviero Rising Bill
Grandpa for Christmas, AA Grandpa for Christmas Bert O'Riley Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or a Motion Picture Made for Television
2008 Strange Wilderness Milas
I Am Somebody: No Chance in Hell (it) Judge Holliday
2009 Another Harvest Moon Frank
2010 Genesis Code, TheThe Genesis Code Carl Taylor
Red Henry/Recordskeeper
2011 Night Club Albert Accolade Competition for Leading Actor
Frank Currier Actor's Award
SINY Film Festival Award for Best Actor
Lion of Judah, TheThe Lion of Judah Slink
Snatched Big Frank Baum
Love's Christmas Journey Nicolas
2012 The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez Rex Page


Year Title Role Notes
1957 Wagon Train Willy Moran Episode: "The Willy Moran Story"
1961 Blue Angels, TheThe Blue Angels Unknown Episode: "The Blue Leaders"
1962-1966 McHale's Navy Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale
1974 Little House on the Prairie Jonathan Episode: "The Lord is my Shepherd"
1976-1977 Future Cop Cleaver
1977 Jesus of Nazareth The Roman Centurion
1979 All Quiet on the Western Front Stanislaus Katczinsky Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie
1982 Magnum, P.I. Earl "Mr. White Death" Gianelli Episode: "Mr. White Death"
1983 Blood Feud J. Edgar Hoover
Masquerade Jerry
1984 Last Days of Pompeii, TheThe Last Days of Pompeii Marcus
1984-1986 Airwolf Dominic Santini
1985 Dirty Dozen: Next Mission, TheThe Dirty Dozen: Next Mission Major General Worden
1987 Treasure Island in Outer Space Billy Bones
Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission, TheThe Dirty Dozen: The Deadly Mission Major General Worden
1988 The Dirty Dozen: The Fatal Mission Major General Worden
1989 Ocean Pedro El Triste
1991 Home Improvement Eddie Phillips Episode: "Birds of a Feather Flock to Taylor"
1993 Simpsons, TheThe Simpsons Himself Voice and likeness
Episode: "Boy-Scoutz n the Hood"
1995-1997 Single Guy, TheThe Single Guy Doorman
1996-1999 All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series Carface Caruthers Voice only
1998 JAG Artemus Sullivan Episode: "Yesterday's Heroes"
1999-2012 SpongeBob SquarePants Mermaid Man Voice only
2000 Walker, Texas Ranger Eddie Ryan Episode: "The Avenging Angel"
2002 Touched by an Angel Max Blandish Episode: "The Blue Angel"
7th Heaven Joe Episode: "The Known Soldier"
2003 District, TheThe District Uncle Mike Murphy Episode: "Last Waltz"
2009 ER Paul Manning Episodes: "Old Times" and "And in the End..."
Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Aces 'N' Eights Thurmond Prescott
2010 Saturday Night Live Himself Cameo in "What Up With That" sketch

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2001 SpongeBob SquarePants: SuperSponge Mermaid Man Voice only
2009 SpongeBob's Truth or Square
2010 SpongeBob's Boating Bash


  • Ernest: "Spencer Tracy was the first actor I've seen who could just look down into the dirt and command a scene. He played a set-up with Robert Ryan that way. He's looking down at the road and then he looks at Ryan at just the precise, right minute. I tell you, Rob could've stood on his head and zipped open his fly and the scene would've still been Mr. Tracy's."
  • Ernest: "The trick is not to become somebody else. You become somebody else when you're in front of a camera or when you're on stage. There are some people who carry it all the time. That, to me, is not acting. What you've gotta do is find out what the writer wrote about and put it into your mind. This is acting. Not going out and researching what the writer has already written. This is crazy!"
  • Ernest: "Everything I do has a moral to it. Yes, I've been in films that have had shootings. I made The Wild Bunch (1969), which was the beginning of the splattering of blood and everything else. But there was a moral behind it. The moral was that, by golly, bad guys got it. That was it. Yeah."
  • Ernest: "Ever since they opened the floodgates with Clark Gable saying, 'Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn,' somebody's ears pricked up and said, 'Oh boy, here we go!'. Writers used to make such wonderful pictures without all that swearing, all that cursing. And now it seems that you can't say three words without cursing. And I don't think that's right."
  • Ernest on drugs: "No, I've never done anything. At least, not to my knowledge. I once took a bunch of goofballs by accident. They looked like candy. They were in a little bowl at a party. I grabbed a handful and went to town. That was some New Year's Eve. I didn't have a coherent thought till February."
  • Ernest on his marriage to Ethel Merman: "Biggest mistake of my life. I thought I was marrying Rosemary Clooney."
  • Ernest on his $5,000 salary for playing the eponymous lead in Marty (1955), which won him a Best Actor Oscar: "...I would have done it for nothing."
  • Ernest on Women's Rights: "They tried it the wrong way. You can't expect anyone to take you seriously if you burn your undies and tell me I'm a pig. That's why it failed. Too many ugly broads telling me that they don't want to sleep with me. Who wanted you anyway?"
  • Ernest: "I'm 81 years old and I like to speak my mind. As a legacy, on the day I die, I'd like to have a newspaper publish all the things that I find wrong in the United States today. And my first would be to get rid of the politicians."

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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