As sad as it is to say good-bye to Ernest Borgnine, who died yesterday at the age of 95, it’s so gratifying to remember the movies: “Marty,” for which he won an Oscar in 1956; “From Here to Eternity”; “The Wild Bunch.”
Great films all, even masterpieces of their kind. But if you’re indulging in an honorary Borgnine retrospective to celebrate the actor’s long life and career, please don’t overlook “Ernest Borgnine on the Bus,” Washington filmmaker Jeff Krulik’s 1997 video documentary chronicling Borgnine as he traveled across the Midwest in his custom bus, The Sunbum. Not only is the film a treasure chest of Borgnine’s showbiz reminiscences, it’s a triumph of the actor’s tireless good humor, optimism and life-loving spirit.
“He was such a nice man, and very generous with me,” Krulik recalled in an email. “He didn’t ask for a dime up front (or ever) for the project. He was a total trouper from jump, and he and his son seemed to have a grand time. I know my crew and I certainly did…I was further honored when he thought enough of the project to devote several paragraphs to it in his autobiography.”