This is the latest in a series (of indefinite length and regularity) of pieces pointing out odd action figures of unlikely actors. People known more as character actors than action stars, and thus unlikely candidates for plastic representation.
Our honoree this time is Ernest Borgnine, who you may know as the cabbie in Escape from New York, or as a helicopter pilot in Airwolf, or maybe just from this goofy picture we found of him holding a glass of beer:
Ernest was born in Connecticut and grew up around the shipyards of New Haven. He joined the Navy in 1935, and was discharged in 1941. Then, after Pearl Harbor, he reenlisted and spent the next three and a half years in the Atlantic on anti-submarine patrol. He got into acting after the war, and his tough-guy looks saw him typecast as a villain for several years. In 1955 he won an Oscar for Marty, beating out Frank Sinatra, James Dean, Spencer Tracy and James Cagney. His 1962 TV drama Seven Against the Sea was retooled into a comedy - McHale's Navy - and ran for three successful years. But in 1979, Disney wanted to cash in on the success of Star Wars, so they released their first PG-rated film, The Black Hole.
And it was his role as Harry Booth that saw Mego release both a 12" doll and a 3¾" action figure.
He was typecast as a villain for the first half of his career, and typecast as a kindly old kook for the second half, and there's an entire generation who only knows him as the voice of Mermaid Man, but only The Black Hole turned the man himself into plastic.