But he is in Red, he will be getting a lifetime achievement award from SAG in the new year, plus he is 93 and still kicking ass, so I think this living legend deserves an appreciation thread.
Expert at the likeable and sympathetic lug/sidekick/gramps role, and possessed of solid comic timing, Borgnine has always given his all. Never a subtle actor, occasionally a great one (Marty and The Wild Bunch are obvious though perfect examples), but more often than not just a big ball of bluster and energy and hammy gusto. And the man could do any role given- with only the most minimal adjustments made to that bug-eyed stare, gap-toothed grin, and permanent waddle, Borgnine would "disappear" into his roles like a ninja at a Witeout factory. Over the years his chameleonic versatility enabled him to play: various goons and thugs, a chopper co-pilot, a New York taxi driver, a Viking chieftan, a Mexican landowner, a 300 year old goat-priest of Satan, and Lt Commander Quinton McHale of the US Navy. And although I have never seen these three movies, apparently he was an Asian shopkeeper named Hu Chang in his debut film China Corsair, he tried a cockney accent for Crossed Swords, and in Violent Saturday his character was called Stadt the Amish Farmer (according to a review at one point he says "I thank thee, neighbour!")
Borgnine has played many classic assholes and scumbags and crazies in his time too. From Here To Eternity (took a strong personality to bust Sinatra's balls!), Emperor of the North, Hannie Caulder, Bad Day at Black Rock (getting his ass famously whupped by a one armed Spencer Tracy), Willard, The Split (he don't like Jim Brown!), Convoy (he don't like truckers much neither), The Devil's Rain, Deadly Blessing etc. I love Benign Borgnine, but he can only do so much to help a dull movie. But if you get a bit of Bastard Borgnine in the role, that's like a guarantee that the film is not going to be a total letdown (hi again, Convoy). That gleefully sadistic gleam in the eyes tells you this is a man who really enjoys his work. Even though he is old as fuck now and looks like your grandpa's gramps, I honestly want to see him play an evil, deranged old loon one last time. Other reasons I love the man include:
-He was once married to Ethel Merman
-the Academy Award winning actor made a film called Holiday Hookers in 1976, then did Jesus of Nazareth in 1977. Penance?
-He was part of some of the most oafishly enthusiastic fight scenes ever put to film (e.g. Bad Day at Black Rock, Chuka, The Split)
-The original title to his autobiography "Ernie", was "I don't want to set the world on fire, I just want to keep my nuts warm"
-Last Christmas I spent the holidays with my SO's very Catholic family, and sadly my best excuses were all dried up, so we ended up watching the aforementioned Jesus movie on TV. When he showed up as a Roman Centurion asking Robert Powell to heal his friend, I had to leave the room (I was laughing so hard that it almost caused a fracas). Borgie: A man of deep faith!
-Whenever you're feeling old, remember that this guy was an aging outlaw in a Peckinpah movie FOUR DECADES AGO. And he's still going.
Also Re that SAG award, this article:
... asks if they should be honouring him given some controversial Brokeback comments ("I didn't see it and I don't care to see it. I know they say it's a good picture, but I don't care to see it. If John Wayne were alive, he'd be rolling over in his grave!"... please try to imagine how this sounded). My personal feeling is that 87 is the cutoff age where these kinds of comments stop being unpleasant and start being HILARIOUS.
Anyway feel free to post about the amazing, immortal, indestructible SOB in this thread.