Ernest Borgnine — adios

July 8, 2012

Dutch Engstrom: Man, you sure must have hurt that railroad.
They spent a lot of money setting up that ambush.
Pike Bishop: I caught up with them.
Two or three times.
There was a man named Harrigan.
He used to have a way of doing things.
I made him change his ways.
And a hell of a lot of people just can’t stand being wrong.
Dutch: Pride.
Pike: And they can’t forget it.
That pride, being wrong, or learn by it.
Dutch: How about us, Pike.
You reckon we learned being wrong today?
Pike: I sure hope to God we did.
— Ernest Borgnine as Dutch, William Holden as Pike in ‘The Wild Bunch (1969)

(Illustration found here).

Sam Peckinpah’s film is not only one of the absolute-best of its genre, but a movie game-changer classic.
Borgnine, who died today at the staggering age of 95, played one of the bunch, an old motley crew of outlaws busted by history.
One of the more versatile actors, Borgnine started his career like a lot of others playing mostly mean-spirited bad guys, like in ‘Bad Day at Black Rock,’ though, he does get his ass whipped real bad by a one-armed Spencer Tracy in that one, but a couple decades later, he could  give credence to being a mean-spirited prick like in ‘Emperor of the North‘ with Lee Marvin.
However, in between those two movies, Borgnine displayed his chops on another scale, winning an Oscar for his portrayal of a shy, nice guy in ‘Marty,’ and the good-hearted captain of a misfit crew in TVs ‘McHale’s Navy,’ which also introduced the world to Tim Conway.
And he could get involved some shit, too, like TV’s ‘Airwolf.’

Even in advanced age, Borgnine kept working, doing a lot of TV, from dramatic shit on ‘ER‘ to mellow voices on ‘SpongeBob SquarePants.’
He was always good and realistic in all his stuff — can’t believe he was that freakin’ old.

He’s the second of the boomer-generation actors to die recently (those entertainers who flourished from about the mid-1950s to about the mid-1970s) — Andy Griffith last week.

We’re all getting old, and some are getting real old.

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