I'm always saddened to hear of the death of someone I knew personally.
Ernest Borgnine died Sunday, and my thoughts immediately went back to knowing him in the 90's and what a great guy he was. There won't be any tears from me, though. Ernest was a great guy, loved by so many, and he had a rich and wonderful life -- and he lived to be 95 years old. You can't ask for much more than that.
I met Ernest in the mid 90s while working on a show called "The Single Guy" with Jonathan Silverman. It was kind of a mediocre show, but usually had high ratings because it was scheduled right after "Seinfeld". In fact, I think "The Single Guy" holds the record for being the highest-rated show ever cancelled. It was often in the top 10, but had no audience of its own...and when the studio changed its time slot, ratings plummeted and it got dumped.
The two things I remember most from working on that show were meeting my childhood crush Maureen McCormick (Marcia Brady!) and getting to hang out a little bit with Ernest Borgnine.
Ernest had an unusual quality that you don't find in many human beings. I don't think the guy was ever in a bad mood. He was an amazing optimist...even when it looked like the show was doomed, he didn't get upset at all.
I think my best memory of Ernest Borgnine is the day he brought his Oscar for the movie "Marty" to the set. He won it for Best Actor in 1955. He let people on the show handle it and admire it.
To this day, it is the only Academy Award I've ever touched.
It was nice of him to do that.
He was a great guy.
I am saddened by his passing, but he had a wonderful life.
50+ years in showbiz. You don't see that too often anymore.