The Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts at Sacred Heart University continues its American Legends Series with Academy Award-winner Ernest Borgnine "Live!" at 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30. This special presentation support s the new theater arts program at SHU in Fairfield.
Born in Hamden and educated in New Haven, Ernest Borgnine returns to Connecticut on the heels of the premiere of his latest film Red, co-starring with Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, John Malkovich, Mary-Louise Parker, Morgan Freeman and Richard Dreyfuss, when he takes the stage to reminisce about his career in film, television and stage in an `Actors Studio-style' presentation hosted by Jerry Goehring, executive director of The Edgerton Center. Borgnine will also participate in a Q&A session with the audience.
The unique thing about any portrait Ernest Borgnine draws on the screen is that it is always believable. His Italian heritage has always been part of his magic and his credibility is unmatched perhaps because he is such a sincere real person. No matter who he's portraying, even the hapless McHale of his famous television series years ago elicited sympathy. How could anyone doubt that face, that gravelly voice? Audiences perceive him as real, no matter what theatrical make-believe he's involved in.
He enrolled in the Randall School of Dramatic Arts in Hartford and later broke into the professional ranks at the famous Barter Theatre in Virginia. He made his Broadway debut as the hospital attendant in Harvey and while in New York, he appeared in over 200 live television performances including masterworks on "GE Theatre" and "Philco Playhouse."
He played the brutal stockade Sergeant, Fatso Judson in the film From Here To Eternity, and went on to become recognized around the world for his Oscar-winning portrayal of the Bronx butcher, Marty. His staggering number of outstanding film roles has made him something of an icon in the motion picture community. Such titles as Bad Day At Black Rock, The Vikings, Torpedo Run, Ice Station Zebra, Wild Bunch, Flight Of The Phoenix, The Dirty Dozen and The Poseidon Adventure are only a sample of the of films in which he has starred.
Television's McHale's Navy, in the 1960s, set a standard for broad comedy and ensemble work that led to many other series in the same genre. Later, as Dominic Santini on Airwolf for three seasons, Ernie brought a reality to his role that few actors could equal.
In the animation field he was heard on the hit children's television series based on the animated feature All Dogs Go To Heaven II for which he received an Emmy nomination. And he has a recurring role on the television hit Sponge Bob Square Pants.
He launched his eighth decade by portraying the legendary J. Edgar Hoover, in a one-man feature motion picture, Hoover and followed that with appearances on JAG, Early Edition, Walker, Texas Ranger, Touched By An Angel, 7th Heaven, Family Law, and The District.
In 2002, he celebrated his continuing good health by mounting a horse to ride in the western feature, Long Ride Home. In 2004, at 87 years young, Borgnine guest-starred on a Hallmark Channel western, Trail of Hope Rose, receiving the Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame. Turning ninety, he starred in another Hallmark Channel movie, Grandpa For Christmas, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination. In 2009, he was nominated for an Emmy for his appearance in the final episode of the legendary NBC television series ER.
In 2008, his autobiography, Ernie, the autobiography was published to excited acceptance everywhere. This year saw him in a co-starring role in another Hallmark Channel TV movie, Wishing Well; plus three feature films, Genesis Code, Snatched and Bruce Willis' Red.
The Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts, on the campus of Sacred Heart University, is located at 5151 Park Ave. in Fairfield. Tickets are $20 for the general public, $15 for students, faculty and staff and $15 for seniors. Tickets may be reserved at the Edgerton Center Box Office, by phone at 203-371-7908 and online at www.EdgertonCenter.org.
On Friday, Oct. 29, the general public is invited to a Ernest Borgnine Retrospective, an event, featuring some of his acclaimed films, televisions shows and appearances. This event, beginning at noon and continuing through 6 p.m., is free and will take place at Schine Auditorium in the Library of Sacred Heart University. Details of the films and television programs to be shown will be available online at www.EdgertonCenter.org beginning October 20.