1) He's Italian and lived there as a child for four years.
2) He joined the Navy after high school and served for six years up until 1941, before the attack on Pearl Harbor. When the Japanese attacked, he volunteered to go back into the Navy and was discharged after the war. He served on an anti-submarine attack ship in the Atlantic trying to track down German submarines. He received numerous awards in the Navy and made it to Gunner's Mate 1st Class which is a tremendous accomplishment.
3) He got a manufacturing job after the war and hated it so his mom talked him into trying to become an actor because he had so much personality. He was a man's man and so was his dad, so his father was irate with his wife for encouraging him to go down this path.
4) When he arrived in Hollywood he was already 34 years old. He was in a record breaking 149 movies including mega hits like: "From Here to Eternity," "McHale's Navy," "The Dirty Dozen," "The Wild Bunch," and "The Poseidon Adventure." He was on 63 television shows including as a guest star on the last episode of "ER."
5) He was married five times with his last marriage lasting 39 years. What's funny is that he married Ethel Merman and they divorced after 42 days of marriage. When she wrote her memoir she had a chapter on her marriage to Ernest Borgnine and the page was blank.
6) He won eight acting awards and when he died at the age of 95, he was the oldest living Oscar winner.
7) He was known as the voice of Mermaid Man on SpongeBob SquarePants from 1999 until his death in 2012.
8) Instead of hanging out with Hollywood types, he loved the everyday folks and in 2000, he received his 50-year pin as a Freemason in Abingdon, Virginia. He even took one year off from acting to travel the U.S. on a bus and meet people.
9) His dad was extremely happy that his son became an actor. :)