I’ve been very fortunate in my journalistic career to interview some amazing filmmakers, writers and actors. Occasionally I get a chance to sit down with someone I consider a true legend. Last fall at DragonCon, which is an annual stop for me (has been for over a decade), I was able to chat briefly with one of their special guests at the show – the one and only Ernest Borgnine. Growing up I enjoyed watching Ernie in movies and TV, especially Airwolf, which was one of my favorite shows. His films include classics like FROM HERE TO ETERNITY, MARTY (for which he won an Oscar), THE CATERED AFFAIR and EMPEROR OF THE NORTH. He’s also remembered for TV shows like McHale’s Navy and The Single Guy, More recently kids know him as the voice of “Mermaidman” on Spongebob Squarepants, and comic book fans enjoyed seeing him back on the big screen alongside Bruce Willis in RED. While observing Ernie at the show I noticed his amazing kindness toward his fans, and constant smile. At 95, his handshake was so firm I thought I’d be sore later, but the man’s eneregy and dedication to his craft is undeniably impressive. If you live in DFW, you can meet Mr. Borgnine in person at Texas Frightmare Weekend this May 4-6. In the meantime check out our short but sweet chat below, and leave your thoughts in the comments. My one personal goal was to get him to let out that famous hearty laugh at least once during the interview… he didn’t disappoint.
My thanks to DragonCon for having Ernie as a guest, and big thanks to the wonderful Blake Garris for shooting this.