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Hollywood Journalist Recalls His Long History with Ernest Borgnine

Long before Scott Feinberg joined the ranks of professional film awards bloggers in the fall of 2008, he started working as a Connecticut high school student on a book about classic Hollywood movies. One of the first big names he convinced to participate was Ernest Borgnine, who passed away over the weekend at age 95.

However, as Feinberg recalls in his Hollywood Reporter tribute to the late Oscar winner, this exciting “get” didn’t quite pan out as planned:

I spent hours and hours preparing for the interview… On the appointed day, at 8 a.m., I called Borgnine again. When he answered the phone, sounding disoriented and bewildered, I just assumed that he had forgotten that I would be calling him, so I said, “Hi, Mr. Borgnine, it’s Scott Feinberg. How are you?”

After a bit of a pause and then some stuttering, he replied, “My boy, do you know what time it is?” My heart sank. I realized that, in my excitement about the interview, I had somehow just assumed that Borgnine was in New York, not Los Angeles, and was therefore operating on Eastern Standard Time just like me. It was now clear to me that he wasn’t. I was mortified, quickly tried to explain the mistake, and then hung up. He was very nice about it all, but when 8 a.m. PST finally came around three hours later, I just didn’t have the nerve to call him back.

Feinberg’s subsequent conversations with Borgnine, including a re-shared January 2009 phone interview that accomplished what he had hoped to during that long-ago, time-zone-challenged morning, went much better. To read Feinberg’s essay and Borgnine’s agreement that his film career was indeed indeed “built on ‘shit,’” click here.

[Photo: Helga Esteb/]

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