Actor Ernest Borgnine dies, aged 95

The Oscar-winning star of 'Marty', 'McHale's Navy' and 'Airwolf' passes away at the age of 95

Oscar-winning actor Ernest Borgnine has passed away at the age of 95.

The actor died of renal failure at a Los Angeles hospital in the presence of family, his spokesman Harry Flynn confirmed. Borgnine “had been in excellent health until a recent illness”, his family said in a statement.

Borgnine won an Oscar for his role as a kind-hearted butcher in Marty, beating off competition from Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Spencer Tracy and James Cagney to the Best Actor accolade in 1955.

Discussing his breakthrough role, Borgnine later said: “The Oscar made me a star, and I’m grateful. But I feel had I not won the Oscar I wouldn’t have gotten into the messes I did in my personal life.” The actor notched up four failed marriages, including an ill-fated union to Broadway star Ethel Merman that lasted just 32 days.

During a six-decade acting career, he made appearances in more than 60 movies, including The Dirty Dozen, The Poseidon Adventure and From Here To Eternity. He also starred in the 1960s sitcom McHale’s Navy and cult 1980s TV show Airwolf. In recent years, he voiced the role of Mermaid Man in SpongeBob SquarePants and received an Emmy nomination for a 2009 guest role in E.R..

Borgnine is survived by his fifth wife, Norwegian businesswoman Tova Traesnaes Borgnine, whom he married in 1972, and three children from previous marriages.