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Stars, family, fans react to actor Ernest Borgnine’s death

Claudine Zap
Movie Talk
July 9, 2012

Ernest Borgnine died Sunday from kidney failure at age 95. But his memorable and varied roles in movies, TV, and yes, "SpongeBob SquarePants," live on.

The actor won the Oscar for best actor in 1955 for his portrayal of the lovesick butcher in "Marty." He was also known as the gruff-voiced heavy in classics such as "From Here to Eternity," "The Dirty Dozen," "The Wild Bunch," and "The Poseidon Adventure."

The nonagenarian was known for his unconventional roles -- such as being one of the first celebrities on "Hollywood Squares." Younger fans may know him as the voice of Mermaid Man on "SpongeBob SquarePants." The multitalented actor also starred in the World War II sitcom "McHale's Navy" and the mid-'80s action series "Airwolf."

[Photos: Ernest Borgnine: 1917-2012]

The real-life Navy veteran was a fixture in Hollywood and managed to work until almost the end. At 92, the actor was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the TV drama "ER."

A statement read, "Mr. Borgnine's family is deeply appreciative of the love and support of his many friends, associates, and fans around the world."

The actor's family added he "had been in excellent health until a recent illness" and that they were in "great shock and sorrow" over his death. The statement noted that Borgnine, even at 95, was still a working actor. His last film, "The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vicente Fernandez," earned him a best actor award at the Newport Beach Film Festival, where the movie premiered in April.

More than 8,000 comments poured in to Yahoo! at the news of the actor's death. Thoughts like these were typical: From Sixstring, "Great actor, great career. RIP Ernie!" Professor Firefly added, "A very gifted actor. No matter if it was a comedy or action or drama...RIP."

Celebrities also offered their tributes on Twitter:

Joan Rivers said, "So sad to hear that Ernest Borgnine has passed away. A lovely man. A fine actor. A true gentleman. RIP."

Gary Sinise wrote, "God bless Ernest Borgnine. An amazingly strong spirit. R.I.P. Ernie."

Jenny McCarthy posted, "RIP to my movie husband Ernest Borgnine."

Lisa Rinna added, "Our sweet friend and neighbor Ernest Borgnine may you Rest in Peace!"

Rob Lowe said, "As a kid, Ernest Borgnine scared the hell out of me as the sadistic train conductor Shack in The Emperor Of The North."

Borgnine seemed to relish his long working life, saying in an interview posted with Yahoo! Screen, "I never gave up. I've got the best job in the world."

Watch Ernest Borgnine (at age 93) in a scene from 2010's "Red":

'Red' Clip: Truly Gifted

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