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Ernest Borgnine is a Golden elder

December 14, 2007|Susan King | Times Staff Writer

In youth-obsessed Hollywood -- quite literally no country for old men -- it was a delightful surprise to see 90-year-old Ernest Borgnine nominated for a Golden Globe for his turn as a retired song-and-dance man in the Hallmark Channel's "A Grandpa for Christmas."

"It's pretty neat," Borgnine said with palpable excitement. "A friend of mine called and said, 'Guess what? You've been nominated.' I said what for? And he said, 'The Golden Globe.' "

Borgnine's nomination for best actor in a TV movie marks his first Golden Globe nod since he won the award for best actor in a dramatic motion picture for 1955's "Marty." (That role also earned him the Oscar.)

And if Borgnine wins the award, he will be the oldest performer to ever earn a Golden Globe. By contrast, Jessica Tandy was a spry 80 when she picked up her Golden Globe for 1989's "Driving Miss Daisy."

"I tell you, I'm so very glad this happened -- but not [just] for me," he explains. "If you run into casting directors . . . tell them 90 isn't that old. That is the thing. A lot of casting directors have forgotten that there are so many wonderful old actors out there that need help and want to work and can't get a job because of the fact that everything is so youth-oriented and it's a shame."

And it's acting, Borgnine said, that keeps him young.

"You die on the vine if you just sit down in a chair and just get old," he added. "That is no way to do it. That idea is to get up out of the chair and go out there and hustle. The first thing you know -- bam -- an award! I tell you I have led a very lucky life."


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