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The late Ernest Borgnine had a special bond with Wisconsin (with video)

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The late Ernest Borgnine had a special bond with Wisconsin (with video)
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Actor Ernest Borgnine, who died Sunday at age 95, had a special bond with Wisconsin in his many appearances at Milwaukee's Great Circus Parade.


His love for the circus kept him coming back as the Grand Clown over a number of parades that spanned for almost four decades. The last one was in 2009.

Borgnine was 92 then. He called the Circus Parade "the most wonderful thing in the world."

Co-chairman Jack McKeithan said Borgnine was absent only once because of his filming schedule.

Mayor Tom Barrett said Borgnine loved Milwaukee and was gracious to his fans, and in return Wisconsinites loved him back. In the mayor's words, "He will be missed from here to eternity."

Borgnine starred in the film classic "From Here to Eternity" as the villain who beat Frank Sinatra to death.

Borgnine won an Oscar in 1956 as a butcher looking for love in the low-budget film "Marty." He starred with Spencer Tracy in "Bad Day at Black Rock."

He also had roles in the films "Johnny Guitar," "The Dirty Dozen," and "The Wild Bunch," among other. In the 1960s, he captained a bunch of misfit sailors in the TV hit "McHale's Navy," which also became a movie.

More recently, he was the voice of the Mermaid Man in the cartoon "Sponge Bob Square Pants."

WISN-TV said Borgnine was in Wisconsin not too long ago to be a voice in an animated feature being produced by Tom Hignite. Ernest Borgnine died from renal failure at a hospital in Los Angeles.