Ernest Borgnine, 1917-2012
Like most newspaper photographers, I don’t start my shift and hope I’m assigned to take pictures at an awards banquet or society gala. While they are fun for the participants (or at least look that way) and they need to be photographed for the paper, those events just don’t make a lot of award-winning pictures.
But there is a positive side to these assignments. Frequently, I get to meet some fascinating people. And one of my favorite people I’ve met on any assignment was Ernest Borgnine at this year’s Western Heritage Awards.
Borgnine was a previous honoree and a frequent presenter at the awards, serving as an emcee at the event this year. During the media availability and cocktail hour before the banquet, Borgnine, although a little hard of hearing, talked with anybody who wanted to speak with him and gladly posed for pictures.
In the early 1990s, staff photographer Steve Gooch drew the same assignment at the Western Heritage Awards that I had this year. Gooch met Borgnine then, and they talked about each other’s careers in the Navy. Gooch signed up for the Navy wanting to take pictures on aircraft carriers but was assigned to build underwater mines instead. He was still in the Navy reserves when he took Borgnine’s photo at the awards banquet.
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