"When I decided to go into making 'McHale's Navy,' people said, 'Why are you lowering yourself?' Lowering myself? What do you mean, lowering? It's all show business, isn't it? I mean, whether you're in front of a small camera or a big camera, it makes no difference, you're still entertainment."
About This Interview
In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Ernest Borgnine (1917-2012) discusses his youth and the influence of his mother on his future acting ambitions. He reflects on enlisting in the Navy in the mid 1930s and on his service during World War II. He talks about his first appearances on television, including villainous roles on the DuMont children's science fiction show Captain Video and His Video Rangers, and speaks of the role for which he is most associated - that of "Marty" in the 1955 film of the same name. He details his experience working with writer Paddy Chayefsky and director Delbert Mann (who had collaborated on the original television version)— and recounts stories about his audition for the part and of his Oscar win for Best Actor. He details the popular 1960's sitcom McHale's Navy, describes the production schedule, and gives his impressions of the show's ensemble cast. Borgnine recalls appearing on The Hollywood Squares, The Tonight Show, and (in an Emmy-nominated performance) the television movie All Quiet on the Western Front. He chronicles his feature film roles in "From Here to Eternity" and in the disaster film classic "The Poseidon Adventure," and comments on his work with directors Robert Aldrich and Sam Peckinpah. He briefly speaks of his roles in the television series Airwolf, The Single Guy, and Spongebob Squarepants (he provides the voice of "Mermaid Man"). The remarkably vital 91-year-old Borgnine speaks with humor and enthusiasm and a clear zest for life. Henry Colman and Jenni Matz conducted the interview on October 10, 2008 in Beverly Hills, CA.