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Incomparable Actor Ernest Borgnine Charms Audience at Cosford Cinema

    • Ernest Borgnine addresses the audience at the Cosford Cinema. ~ Chelsea Matiash
    • Ernest Borgnine addresses the audience at the Cosford Cinema. ~ Chelsea Matiash

At 94, Actor Ernest Borgnine has made 204 movies. Though he won't tell you which is his favorite, he's a delight when he shares memories from his storied career in Hollywood, working alongside icons including, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, and Bette Davis.

"She was a real lady," said Borgnine, during a Q&A on Friday, following a sold out screening of his film Another Harvest Moon at the Bill Cosford Cinema at the University of Miami. "Bette Davis called a spade a spade. If she didn't like you, you'd hear about it, and if she respected you, everybody respected you."

The oldest living Academy Award winner (for 1955's Marty), Borgnine perfected his craft starring in such film classics as From Here to Eternity, The Poseiden Adventure, and Escape from New York. He's gained popular appeal for his work in TV (McHale's Navy), and continues to reinvent himself — Borgnine is the voice of Mermaid Man on the cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants.
"Acting is about making people feel, making them smile, laugh, and cry," Borgnine said. "I left  method acting to Marlon Brandon. The only method I use is the heart and the head, and hopefully the audience understands."

The veteran actor laments how filmmaking has become so rushed, saying today's movies leave little opportunities for great acting.

"There's always this hurry up, time is money mentality so what you are getting is a lot of movies with violence and sex. It's this the bigger the cannon, the better film, kind of thinking."

But he doesn't discourage anyone from pursuing the path he's footed so well.
Borgnine's advice for young people bit by the acting bug: "Study everything you can so that when you are called upon to do something, to play someone, you have ideas in the brain. When I was coming up, the Frank Sinatras, Burt Lancasters, they came prepared. The only thing we were told was, 'Take your place there,' and we performed because we were prepared."

In January, Borgnine was awarded the 2011 Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award. He was in South Florida this past weekend also to accept a lifetime achievement honor from the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival. Friday evening's Q&A at UM was moderated by School of Communication Motion Pictures Professor John Soliday. Borgnine signed autographs and took photos after the event.

"Ernest Borgnine is such a respected actor. I'm glad we were able to see him here tonight," said Amanda Shapiro, 25, a graduate student in film studies. "His performance in Another Harvest Moon was amazing.  It is great to see him still in love with his profession."

Mark Thuiller, 23, a student visiting from Trinity College in Dublin, said he has seen Marty and From Here to Eternity and was thrilled to meet Borgnine in person. "I really admire him. He's 94 and he's still going strong," Thuiller said.


    • Borgnine with School of Communication students. ~ By Chelsea Matiash
    • Borgnine with School of Communication students. ~ By Chelsea Matiash
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