Borgnine made only one Broadway appearance, in Mary Chase's 1952 play Mrs. McThing opposite Helen Hayes, although he made other stage appearances throughout his career.
Borgnine began acting in Hollywood in 1951 and first gained fame for his role as "Fatso" Judson in From Here to Eternity. In 1955, he won the Academy Award for Best Actor for playing the title role in Marty. His many other film included Johnny Guitar, The Dirty Dozen, Ice Station Zebra, The Poseidon Adventure, and Hoover.
He was well known for his television work, most notably his roles in Wagon Train and McHale's Navy, receiving the first of his three Emmy Award nominations for the series. He also received Emmy nominations for the Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of All Quiet on the Western Front in 1980 and E.R. in 2009, as well as a 1999 Daytime Emmy nomination for All Dogs Go to Heaven: The Series. In 2011, he received the Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award.
He was married five times, including to Tova Borgnine, who survives him, and to Tony Award winner Ethel Merman, a union that lasted 32 days. Borgnine had four children.