When I was a kid watching Ernest Borgnine in the TV comedy McHale’s Navy, I never would have predicted that I’d have a chance to sit down and talk to him. But that’s exactly what I got today. What a treat. Borgnine was in the house for SAG Awards rehearsal, and I was lucky enough to snag him for an interview.
The man turned 92 today (the SAG Awards crew got him a cake), and he is mentally and physically as sharp as any of us, plus he looks much, much younger than 92. In fact, Sean Penn called Borgnine today, hoping to stop by Borgnine’s home to offer birthday greetings but Borgnine had to visit a sick friend so they had to put it off until tomorrow when both will be at the SAG Awards. Borgnine is a presenter, which is why he rehearsed today, and Penn is nominated as a lead actor for Milk.
Borgnine was nominated for an Emmy for McHale’s Navy, but he has an Oscar, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame … and he’s made 200 feature films. He told me that today — don’t even try to square it with IMDB — and that doesn’t count anything he did for TV. Borgnine says, "I believe in work," when I ask about retiring. "People say, ‘I’m going to retire,’ and in two weeks, they want to go back to work."