At Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Award ceremony, veteran actor Ernest Borgnine, 94, got more than just a kiss from Betty White — he also took home the Life Achievement Award after over 70 years of work in film and television. (White won last year, of course.)
SAG president Ken Howard released a statement, reading, “Whether portraying brutish villains, sympathetic everymen, complex
leaders or hapless heroes, Ernest Borgnine has brought a boundless
energy which, at 93, is still a hallmark of his remarkably busy life and
career. It is with that same joyous spirit that we salute his
impressive body of work and his steadfast generosity.”
Borgine, born Ermes Effron Borgnino, was in the Navy before he returned home and won a small role in a 1847 production of “State of the Union” at a theater in Virginia… and the rest was history. He got his big break in 1953’s “From Here to Eternity,” in which he played the villainous Sergeant “Fatso” Judson.
He won an Oscar for his role in 1955’s “Marty,” about a lonely butcher who takes a chance on love.
Borgnine has made over 160 films and continues to work today. He voices Mermaid Man on “SpongeBob SquarePants” and was nominated for an Emmy at age 92 for the TV series “E.R.” He was in this year’s “Red” with Bruce Willis and has three movies slated for release in 2011.
“How proud we are, Ernest, that you chose for seven remarkable decades to make your life the life of an actor,” said presenter Morgan Freeman before welcoming Borgnine to the stage.
“When I came home from World War II, my mother asked me, ‘Have you ever thought of becoming an actor?'” Borgnine began his speech. “I went ahead an became an actor. I want to say one last thing about us. There are millions of folks in the world who would love to be in our shoes. We are a privileged few who have been chosen to work in this field of education. There are members of our group who will be long remembered. I hope that we will never let our dedication to our craft fail, and that we will always give our best to our profession, so that people may enjoy us for many years. On behalf of my family, my wife, our love, our thanks, and our best wishes for your highest success always, thank you so very much for this great honor.”
Borgnine’s secret for staying so energetic? Check out the video below.