Borgnine is happy to be back in Brew City
At 92, Ernest Borgnine is an American cultural icon. His filmography as an actor runs to nearly 200 films and TV shows, starting with 1951's "China Corsair" and including classics like "From Here to Eternity" and "The Wild Bunch."
But in Milwaukee, Ernie Borgnine's a clown. And I say that with all due respect. As the face of the Great Circus Parade -- along with long-time supporter, the late Ben Barkin -- Borgnine's role as the parade-leading clown at the Circus Parade has created a special bond between the actor and a city in which many of us have grown up with Ernie the clown.
Now that the Parade returns after a five-year break, it's only fitting that Ernest Borgnine be center-stage at the big event which takes place Downtown on Saturday, July 12.
We had the chance to ask Borgnine about the parade, Milwaukee and his role as beloved circus clown ...
OnMilwaukee.com: Are you excited to come back to Milwaukee for the rebirth of the Circus Parade?
Ernest Borgnine: Yes, I am very excited.
OMC: Were you disappointed that it was on hiatus for awhile?
EB: Naturally ... me and several million Milwaukeeans.
OMC: I assume you have a lot of memories of Circus Parades past, but is there a fond memory that stands out?
EB: Yes and I will give them to you in this order:
- I will miss Ben Barkin always! No one could do the kind of job he did for the success of the parade.
- I miss the smell and the fun of the parade itself.
OMC: What's at the top of your must-do in Milwaukee list?
EB: To visit the Brewers, which is always a fun thing, and I will be throwing out the first ball at Saturday night's game.
OMC: It seems that everyone I talk to outside Milwaukee associates you with your films. But here, everyone thinks of you in terms of the parade. Is it true that everyone loves a clown?
EB: This is why I think that more people should try the clown business ... especially politicians.
OMC: Time doesn't seem to have slowed you down much -- this year alone you were on two episodes of "ER," you've got a recent film and three more in some phase of production. Do you ever think of taking it a little easier?
EB: Yes, that is why I come to Milwaukee (and) the Great Circus Parade.
OMC: Will you keep on clowning around at the Circus Parade as long as you can, too?
EB: Anyone in his right mind who wouldn't like to be a clown must have something missing. I have made more friends being a clown than just being Ernie Borgnine.
I look forward to one of the greatest and most wonderful circus parades in the world!
Gotta agree that he is a very warm person in any interview, but it is great that he puts his acting aside for something like the Circus Parade. I have been a long time fan, frim McHale's Navy reruns, "The Black Hole," AirWolf, "Escape from New York, "BaseKetball," and as a kid seeing the parade. I hope he can keep coming back to Milwaukee for the parade as himself and a great clown. He is truly a great guy.
What a cool old guy! I hope he has a blast this weekend. I just looked at his IMDB page and it is endless. I liked him best as the cabbie for Snake Plissken in Escape from New York.
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