Most people know Ernest Borgnine as a great actor, but before his acting career her served in the Navy during World War II. He is one of the Heroes of Hollywood, please check them out here. His acting career continued from 1951 through last year, 2011.
He had joined the service after graduating from high school during the Great Depression and had been discharged in 1941, but re-enlisted after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor launched the United States into World War II. (CNN)
Borgnine joined the United States Navy in 1935, after graduation from James Hillhouse High School in New Haven, Connecticut. He was discharged in 1941, and re-enlisted when the United States entered World War II and served until 1945 (a total of ten years), reaching the rating of Gunner's Mate 1st Class. He served aboard the destroyer USS Lamberton (DD-119). His military decorations included the Navy Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal with Fleet Clasp, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
In a British Film Institute interview about his life and career, Borgnine said of the war:
After World War II we wanted no more part in war. I didn't even want to be a boy-scout. I went home and said that I was through with the Navy and so now, what do we do? So I went home to mother, and after a few weeks of patting on the back and, 'You did good,' and everything else, one day she said, 'Well?' like mothers do. Which meant, 'Alright, you gonna get a job or what?'
In 2004, Borgnine received the honorary rating of Chief Petty Officer from the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Terry D. Scott—the US Navy's highest ranking enlisted sailor at the time—for Borgnine's support of the Navy and naval families worldwide. (Wikipedia)
In 2009, at age 92, he starred as Frank, the main character of Another Harvest Moon, directed by Greg Swartz and also starring Piper Laurie and Anne Meara. On October 2, 2010, Borgnine appeared as himself in a sketch on Saturday Night Live. On October 15, 2010 he appeared in Red, which was filmed earlier that year.
In late 2011, Ernest Borgnine completed what would be his last film; playing Rex Page in The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernandez. (Wikipedia)
Hollywood has lost another great one.