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Actor Ernest Borgnine received the Life Achievement award at the 17th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards on Sunday for over 70 years of work on film and television.
Morgan Freeman, Borgnine’s costar in Red, presented him with the award.
A tearful Borgnine recalled how his mother first asked him if he ever thought about becoming an actor after he returned home from World War II.
“Yes, it all started with a question – have you ever thought of becoming an actor?” he said. “Well, I went ahead and became an actor.”
The 94-year-old Borgnine — known for roles in classics such as From Here to Eternity and 1955’s Marty (for which he won an Oscar) — said “there are millions of those in the world who would love to be in our shoes.
“We are a privileged few who have been chosen to work in this field,” he went on. “I hope that we will never let our dedication to our craft fail and that we will always give the best we possibly can to our profession so people can enjoy us in later years.”
Backstage, Borgnine brought his wife of 38 years, Tova, onto the podium. “She’s the love of my life,” he told reporters. He then joked, “They said it would never last.” She responded kindly, saying, “I love you dearly, even after all of these years.”
Borgnine was blown away by the award. “It’s beyond comprehension,” he said. “It makes you ask, am I really worth it? That’s what life is all about.”
He also gave advice to the young actors trying to emulate his long career. “Keep studying.” He urged people to always be “watching people, learning what life is about.”
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