Ernest Borgnine may be 92 years old, but he’s keeping up a pace that could scare a man half his age.
The “Marty” Oscar winner just wrapped up work on “The Genesis Code” big screen drama with Louise Fletcher and Fred Thompson in Michigan, and he leaves next week for New Orleans to start work on the comedy “Snatched” — his 202nd picture.
He’s also been busy this summer with book signings for his recently-launched “Ernie, the Autobiography.” “I love being out meeting the people!” he enthuses.
He helped launch “Another Harvest Moon,” his ensemble drama with Anne Meara and Cybill Shepherd, at this month’s Rhode Island International Film Festival — where Lifetime Achievement Honors were bestowed upon him. And he squeezed in a visit to Naval Station Newport, where he went through boot camp some 74 years ago.
“This time, they were saying, ‘What can we get for you, Mr. Borgnine?’ None of the finger-pointing and ‘Hey you’s!’ I remember from before,” says the Navy veteran of 10 years, including WWII.
With all that going on, he’s barely had time to celebrate his Emmy nomination for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama. He tells us he and wife Tova will definitely be on hand to see whether he’ll win the honor for his portrayal, on the final episode of “ER,” of a man whose wife of many years is dying. He played it with such honest simplicity, it was a four hankie job, for sure.
“It was hard in the sense that it never happened to me and to make it look like it was real, I had to really dig into my heart and my head,” he says. “It turned out fine.”
So fine, he got nominated — while returning stars George Clooney, Eriq LaSalle and Noah Wyle did not.
“I know,” he says and smiles. “I shouldn’t gloat, believe me.”
Nevertheless, Ernie’s competition is fierce – Michael J. Fox on “Rescue Me,” Ted Danson on “Damages,” Jimmy Smits on “Dexter,” and Edward Asner on “CSI: NY.”
He assures, “I’m just glad I was nominated. I was also nominated for the Golden Globe and I missed out on that one. People were saying they were sorry, but I said, ‘Hey, man – I won the nomination! Are you kidding?’”
BAD BOY: Moviegoers who remember Daryl Sabara as Juni, the cute younger brother of Robert Rodriguez’ “Spy Kids” movies, are in for a paradigm shift of perception if they see him in “World’s Greatest Dad” starring Robin Williams, opening tomorrow (8/21). Sabara plays the teenage son you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, a profane and mean-spirited kid whose departure from this earth could only improve it. So how did writer-director Bobcat Goldthwait come to know that the 17-year-old actor had this ability to play rotten?
“Daryl is a funny guy. He came in and lied, saying he wanted to play Andrew, the sweet kid in the movie” – when in fact, he had his sites set on terrible Kyle instead. Bobcat let him read for the latter, and found “he was such a convincing creep – a teenage Gary Oldman, you know? I had him come in again just to meet with him. I needed to know he wasn’t really a jerk.”
Goldthwait also tells us there was a surprise when it came to casting Robin Williams as the beleaguered, bereaved title parent in the truly twisted black comedy that was a Sundance Festival hit. According to Goldthwait, Robin recently confessed, “he thought he was going to help me out and do a cameo. But then he read the script and said, ‘I’d like to be the guy.’ It really changed everything.”
These days, Goldthwait does stand-up if he needs to support his efforts as an auteur filmmaker. Admits the show business veteran once thought of as a way-too-out-of-control comic, “The early part of my career, I had the kind of career you usually have when your career is ending. Having a new career now at 47, I have much more appreciation.”
READ NO EVIL: Joan Rivers, the queen of jabs, tells us she has one big secret to her success. If you’ve written something about her, she wants no part of it. “I don’t read it. I absolutely don’t read it. I don’t read good reviews and I don’t read bad reviews,” admits Rivers. “Obviously I’m told about good reviews,” she adds. “I know when it’s been a good show and I know when it’s been a bad show. I don’t need an outsider to tell me. I can come off stage and tell you how it was and what went wrong a lot faster than somebody else can say it. I’m sure they say terrible things about it. I don’t need it. I don’t need to look at it.” So, there!
Rivers currently can be seen enjoying the high life with some fellow hard workers in the TV Land series “How’d You Get So Rich?” “We go to their houses and we see all of their toys. It’s fascinating how differently they spend their money. One man made all this money so he bought himself a Lamborghini for every day of the week,” she says. “I think it’s very uplifting that in this day in age you can do it if you’ve got the right attitude and the right product. But it teaches you a good lesson that you’ve got to work for it or win the lottery.”
A WEIGHTING GAME: Angie Dickinson was one of those perpetually perfectly lean ladies in her heyday on small and big screen, but now the still-beautiful septuagenarian complains that she’s 20 pounds overweight. “If I lost 20 pounds I’d be more viable. I’m serious about that,” she says. “I watch ‘The Biggest Loser’ and I am so enamored of those incredible people, how they shame themselves and go through whatever it takes to get in shape. I could no longer get out there in a little top and shorts. They expose their worst sides and I admire them beyond belief – but I still don’t lose the weight.”
With reports by Emily-Fortune Feimster