Borgnine reflects on career at 92

BY JAY BOBBIN Published: January 26, 2009

photo - Ernest Borgnine
Ernest Borgnine
At age 92, one of the most familiar Oscar winners ever is still going strong.

Two days after Ernest Borgnine’s birthday milestone, the actor who’s as much at home on TV as in films reflects on his life and career in a new "Private Screenings” episode at 7 tonight on Turner Classic Movies.

In a relaxed conversation with host Robert Osborne, the genial Borgnine recalls his work with Hollywood royalty including Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Bette Davis and Frank Sinatra. He relates how he began acting and cites many of his movies, including the one that earned him his Academy Award, "Marty” (which TCM will show after the special).

Having published his autobiography, "Ernie,” last year, Borgnine has no problem accessing the stories he has to tell, delivering them with both an obvious appreciation of his experiences and the confidence of someone who has seen and done much in his business.

Interviewed after taping the special, Borgnine says, "People ask, ‘When are you going to retire?’ I say, ‘Retire? Are you crazy?’ I have more fun doing this stuff than I would sitting in a chair. That’s what it’s all about.”

The same night Borgnine’s "Private Screenings” session premieres, TCM also shows "From Here to Eternity,” which earned a best-picture Oscar as did "Marty.” In the first film, Borgnine is as brutish as military man Fatso Judson as he is sympathetic in the second movie as a lonely Bronx butcher. He attributes whatever impact he’s had in any role to one quality: honesty.

"It’s something that’s in your heart,” Borgnine says, "and you want to go ahead and do it — if they want you for the job, that is.

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